vSphere Launch Video

If you missed it here’s the VMware vSphere4 Launch in full. As you would expect there was a lot of talk about clouds. Such as vSphere4 being a “Bridge to the cloud” (which seems to suggest its just an intermediary step) or that vSphere represents part of the “journey to the cloud” (which seems to suggest we haven’t arrived/made it yet). My other favourite was “clouds in the datacenter”, at which point I twittered about looking for my umbrella.


Anyway, I guess this cloud thing represents the big mission statement that most organizations feel they must have to inspire their staff and the customers – that a new product is more than just a couple of extra features. My only concern is with all this emphasis on the cloud, the actual product might be obscured by fixation over clouds. vSphere is trying like the sun, to peek out behind the cloud.


So, let me give you a brief summary of the new features – because this some hard (not soft & fluffy like a cloud) to hang on to. When you buy vSphere4, as with Vi3.5 you will be buying not just ESX4/vCenter4 but raft of new features, new functionality and better management tools. Just like Vi3 made Vi2 (a retrospective naming convention I’ve just adopted!) seem somewhat care-worn – once your on vSphere4 you’ll wonder how you ever managed with vi3.5.


Virtual Machines:

  • 8xvCPUs & 256GB RAM
  • Hot-add of memory/CPU
  • Thinly-provisioned disks
  • New Guest OS – including more legacy OSes
  • Record & Replay – You now have a PVR for a VM!
  • VMCI – VMs can communicate directly to each other without the use of a NIC!
  • vApp – collections of VMs which like virtual appliances can be downloaded/uploaded to make suite of applications


  • 64-bit
  • Support for 512GB RAM
  • 64 cores
  • Native SATA support
  • Service Console is a VM with a virtual disk


  • Linked-Mode – Link 2 or more vCenters into a single management window
  • Massively increase alarms/alerts – alarm to warn you about snapshot size! YEAH!
  • No more license server – just license strings!
  • Optional: vCenter Hearbeat Service (aka NeverFail)
  • Optional: Mobile Access – manage VMs from your smartphone/pda


  • Native IPv6 support for the Management and VMkernel IP Stacks
  • Distributed Virtual Switches – One switch to rule them all!
  • Easy Migration from Standard vSwitches to the new DvSwitch


  • Improved UI – Visibility from virtual down to the physical
  • Increase – IF LUNs are made bigger so can the VMFS
  • Plugable Storage Array – Vendors like EMC add plug-ins to vCenter
  • Organize datastores into folders – set permissions – folks put their VMs in the RIGHT location
  • New UIs to handle multipathing
  • New CLIs to handle VMFS resignaturing

Access Control:

  • New roles – “Datastore Consumer” and “Network Consumer”

Moving the VM:

  • New simpler wizard – Change Host, Change Datastore, Change both
  • Storage VMotion now integrated into the UI
  • Linked with DvS and Port State Migration – zero packet loss on VMotions

Distributed Power Management:

  • Now fully supported
  • Based on ILO authentication, rather than Wake-On-LAN Magic Packets


  • Old Advanced HA Options – now available from the UI
  • New advanced optionsHA to control memory and CPU alerts
  • VMware Fault Tolerance (FT) – neverfail a VM even on death of an ESX host

Advanced Configuration Tools:

  • All the main management tools get an upgrade – so new version of the RCLI, VIMA, PowerShell
  • VMware Orchestrator – built-in to vCenter
  • Host Profiles – Attach you configuration to an ESX host, and apply – the end of scripted builds???


  • On its way – a new version of VCB
  • In Beta – The Data Recovery Appliance. A virtual appliance to backup VMs pitched at SMBs…

VUM and Upgrade:

  • Stage an ESX host – download all patches to it first, then later trigger the install process
  • Collect baselines into baseline groups – and apply to ESX host/VMs
  • Upgrading Baselines – Upgrade ESX and VMs using VUM


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