vCloud Suite / vSphere 5.5 Enhancements
At VMworld 2013 in San Francisco, VMware announced many new features and products. This vLoreBlog article focuses on new products and features related to vCloud and vSphere. Primarily, it covers vCloud Automation Center and vSphere ver 5.5
VMware vCloud Automation Center
vCloud Automation Center (vCAC – pronounced vee-See-a-See, to be respectful to all) is an automation tool that automates tasks that typically have to be manually performed by IT. It allows consumers to self provision servers and applications, on demand, under the control of IT. vCAC provides central automation of environments built on multi-vendor, virtual and physical, private and public infrastructures. It provides automatic provisioning, monitoring, decision making, and control. It relieves IT of the burden of performing many common tasks, while enabling IT to use blueprints and policies to establish control. Here are some details for vCAC:
- vCAC integrates with clouds (vCloud Director, Amazon EC2)
- vCAC integrates with physical servers (HP iLO, Dell iDRAC, Cisco UCS Manager)
- vCAC integrates with hypervisors (vSphere, RHEV, HyperV, XenServer)
- vCAC integrates with virtual server management systems (vCenter, Microsoft SCVMM)
- Agents and DEMs are used to communicate to each end point
- vCAC is included in vCloud Suite 5.5. vCAC is layer above vCloud Director
- In the future, vCAC may eventually consume all features of vCloud Director and replace it, but not today. Today, vCAC provides automation and policies on top of vCloud Director and vCloud Director provides execution of the policies. vCAC does Not require vCloud Director. vCAC may be purchased separately.
- vCAC allows separation of the application from the infrastructure. It allows policies to be set for each application, such that the policies apply to the application regardless of where the application is deployed.
- IT can control where an application owner can deploy an application, such as on “gold” versus “silver” resources.
- IT can control infrastructure resources including authorizing usage, assigning costs, and allocating capacity.
- Application owners can self-provision their applications on-demand and choose quality level (gold, silver, etc)
- Application owners can view the cost for before deployment and can compare the cost for deploying on “gold” versus “silver” resources
- Application owners can view cost details per VM, including O/S licenses cost and storage cost
- Application owners can choose to auto-scale the resources assigned for specific applications depending on measured workload.
- IT can establish approval policies, where some provisioning requests may be automatically allowed and others may require a series of manual approvals in a specified order.
- Approval policies could require manual approval for requests exceeding IT established thresholds, such as VMs requiring more than two CPUs.
- Blueprints are used to define how applications and servers (such as VMs) can be provisioned, secured, and managed.
- IT can easily manage applications involving multiple VMs by utilizing Multi-VM blueprints or vApps defined in vCloud Director
- IT can implement models and workflows to control the automation of applications and VMs.
- vCAC automatically provides Health, Risk, and Efficiency status indicators.
- vCAC automatically detects and remediates certain health related issues.
For more details, see the VMware Automation Center product page.
VMware vSphere 5.5
VMware intends for version 5.5 of vSphere to be the best platform in the world, capable of running any workload. For administrators of large vSphere implementations or those bound by certain limitations of vSphere, the improvements in version 5.5 may be very profound. For most administrators, the improvements may not seem as thrilling, but here are some highlights:
- Support for VMware Fault Tolerance is still limited to VMs with single vCPUs (bummer).
- VM virtual hardware version 10 is available.
- VMs can use virtual SATA controllers that support up to 30 devices per controller, allowing VMs to have up to 120 virtual disks
- The maximum size of a VMDK file is now 62 TB
- Support for vGPU is expanded to include NVIDIA, Intel, and AMD based GPUs
- Graphic acceleration for Linux guests is available.
- SSO is enhanced to provide easier deployment, enhanced AD integration (across domains), and no database requirement
- SSO was rebuilt from the ground up and it now uses multi-master authentication and built-in replication.
- The Web Client is improved to include features such as drag and drop, filters, and recent items.
- vSphere App HA is a new feature that can restart an application in a VM if it fails. (in previous versions, HA could only restart the entire VM if an application failed)
- True end to end support for 16 Gbps FiberChannel is available
- Improvements in vSphere Replication, such as multiple points in time snapshot retention
- vSphere Flash Read Cache is a new feature that uses local SSD for write through cache to shared storage
- Support for multiple link aggregation groups on a single dvSwitch, up to a maximum of 64
For more details on VMware vCloud Suite 5.5, see these links.