VMware to launch cloud infrastructure suite

VMware has bundled new versions of its vSphere, vCenter Site Recovery and other products into an integrated suite

Setting the stage for cloud deployments, VMware will update many of its core products and bundle them into an integrated release, called the Cloud Infrastructure Suite, the company announced Tuesday.

The idea behind the package is to allow organizations to set up an infrastructure that will allow them to make use of hosted cloud services, said Paul Maritz, VMware CEO, in a webcast announcing the releases.

"Allowing [organizations] to aggregate their resources into larger pools, operate them more efficiently and to tie them to externally provisioned infrastructure is the fundamental starting point for this transformation" to cloud computing, he said.

The package includes new versions of VMware's flagship vSphere virtual machine manager, vCenter Site Recovery Manager, the vShield security framework, the vCloud Director management console and a new product, vSphere Storage Appliance. The package also includes vCenter Operations, which was released earlier this year.

Overall, the new set of products features more than 200 changes from former releases, according to the company.

VSphere 5 features the ability to run extremely large virtual machines, one capable of utilizing 32 processors and one terabyte of memory. It can also execute what VMware calls "policy-based" automation, which can make advanced decisions on where to deploy a virtual machine.

A new product, the VMware vSphere Storage Appliance, can be used to turn internal, server-based storage into a common storage pool, minimizing the need for a separate SAN (storage area network). "Traditionally, we've required array-based replication to move your data and your virtual machines between sites. We can now bring replication directly into the software and use the network to copy between two sites," said VMware CTO Steve Herrod.

VMware Site Recovery Manager now offers the ability to replicate workloads from the primary site to the backup site, and back to the primary site again. This ability to do "automatic failback," Herrod said, is "a major capability," in that it allows organizations to move workloads across different data centers more easily.

VCloud Director provides a portal for end users to manage their workloads and pick the applications they wish to deploy. The new version of this software can be accessed from an iPad.

In a typical deployment scenario, an organization may use some or even all these products as a basis of a cloud platform, said Neela Jacques, a VMware group manager of product marketing, in an interview. vSphere itself manages the individual virtual machines and vCloud Director provides a way for administrators to virtualize all the physical resources, such as servers, networking and storage components, into a single pool of resources. vCenter Operations provides the reports and statistic on usage, as well as the ability to handle management functions such as billing tracking for each user. vSphere provides a framework for third-party antivirus and antimalware software vendors to scan virtual machines for infections.

The vSphere Storage Appliance would be best suited for small and mid-sized businesses that don't have the resources to set up a separate storage network, Jacques said. "By taking their shared disks and presenting it as shared store, [organizations] can benefit from things like load balancing and automated high availability," Jacques said.

"Our aim is to help customers transform physical infrastructure into a virtualized infrastructure, and to make that infrastructure a lot more agile," Jacques said.

VMware expects to release all of these products by the end of September, according to the company. Each of the applications will be licensed individually.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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