Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Vsphere5.1 - Introducing Virtual Machine Compatibility

With each new Vsphere release, Vmware continues to enhance virtual machines features and capabilities to help track the features and capabilities associated with a given virtual machine,VMware has traditionally used a virtual machine hardware version number.

A list of virtual machine hardware version numbers associated with each vSphere release is shown in the following table:

Using a virtual machine's hardware version number, administrators can readily identify each virutal machine's feature set and capabilities.

feature set and capabilities. Historically, it has been considered a good practice that each time an upgrade is made to a vSphere infrastructure (VMware VCenter Server (vCenter Server) and associated Vsphere hosts), the Virtual machine hardware version for each virtual machine is also upgraded.

This would ensure that each virtual machine had the ability to fully benefit from the latest updates and newest features.However,over time serveral challenges to this approach have been identified.

1. Upgrading a virtual machiine's hardware version requires powering off the virtual machine, which requires downtime. With many virtual machines now hosting mission-critical workloads,it can be difficult to shedule downtime.

2. As the size of the virtual infrastructure grows, trying to keep a large number of virutal machiens running at a common virtual machine hardware version proves difficult if not impractical.

3. In many cases, a virtual machine's requirements are fully satisfied with the odler virtual hardware version so a virtual machine upgrade might yield little or no benefit.

With these challenges in mind, and to help simplify virtual infrastructure upgrades, VMware formally extended the virtual machine compatibility matirix in vSphere 5.0. The extended support matrix enables virtual machines running older virtual hardware versions to run fully supported on newer versions of vSphere. The following table show the extended virtual machine hardware version support matrix:

vSphere 5.1 - Extended Guest OS and CPU Support

Along with security, auditing and monitoring updates, and the enhanced vMotion capabilities,vSphere 5.1 adds support for the latest guest operation systems and SPUs. Vsphere 5.1 introduces support for Microsoft Windows 8 both server and desktop editions, along with support for the latest AMD and Intel CPUs, including the AMD " Piledriver" series and the Intel " lvy Bridge" and "sandy Bridge" series.

vSphere 5.1 - vMotion Enhancements

Enhancements to VMotion in Vsphere 5.1 provide a new level of ease and flexibility for live virtual machine migrations. Vsphere 5.1 now enables users to combine VMotion and VMware vSphere storage vMotion (storage vMotion) into one operation.The combined migration copies both the virtual machine memory its and disk over the network to the destination host.In smaller environments, the ability to simultaneously migrate both memory and storage enables virtual machines to be migrated between hosts that do not have shared storage.

In larger environments ,this capability enables virtual machines to be migrated between clusters that do not have a common set of datastores.

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.1

VMware vSphere 5.1 brings many new capabilities that extend the benefits of vSphere 5.0, including a number  of new, storage-related features. Many of these enable VMware flagship products such as VMware vCloud Director and VMware View. vSphere 5.1 storage features and enhancements also bring additional scalability, performance and troubleshooting capabilities. This paper focuses on the storage-specific features and enhancements that are available in vSphere 5.1.

The following topics will be discussed in this paper:
  • VMware vSphere VMFS-5 file-sharing enhancements
  • Space-efficient sparse virtual disks
  • All paths down (APD) condition–handling enhancements
  • Storage protocol supportability improvements
  • VMware vSphere Storage APIs – Array Integration (VAAI)
  • Boot from software Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)
  • I/O device management (IODM)
  • Solid-state disk (SSD) monitoring
  • VMware vSphere Storage I/O Control enhancements
  • VMware vSphere Storage DRS enhancements
  • VMware vSphere Storage vMotion enhancements

Friday, August 24, 2012

VMware Workstation 9 – Now Available World-Wide!

The Workstation team is thrilled to introduce VMware Workstation 9.  It’s been 12 years since Workstation first launched and dramatically changed the way technical professionals worked with virtual machines.   Since then the team has worked to bring bring innovation with each new release.  We feel Workstation 9 continues this tradition.

Workstation 9 builds on its broad operating system support, rich user experience, and comprehensive feature set to bring you best-in-class Windows 8 support, all new Web interface, restricted virtual machines and much more.  Not only does Workstation 9 change the way you work with virtual machines whether they reside on your PC or in the datacenter, it allows you to work when and where you want.

Let’s take a look at what Workstation 9 can do:

Best in Class Windows 8 Support
To help you and your organization evaluate Windows 8, master the Metro UI and test your applications, VMware Workstation 9 is optimized for running Windows 8 virtual machines and running on Windows 8 PCs. Easy Install simplifies the task of creating Windows 8 virtual machines, Unity mode will intelligently scale to handle applications formerly known as Metro and multi-touch support will ensure you get the true Windows 8 experience in a virtual machine.
Access from Almost any Device

Workstation’s new web interface allows you to access your virtual machines running in Workstation or vSphere from a tablet, smart phone, PC or any device with a modern browser.  No plugins necessary. Now you can power on, off, or suspend your virtual machines and interact with them from almost anywhere.

Restricted Virtual Machines

Create virtual machines that require a runtime password, and another password to change virtual machine settings. Once set, send the virtual machine with restrictions to anyone to run on their Mac, Windows, or Linux machines by using Workstation 9, VMware Fusion 5, VMware Fusion 5 Professional, or VMware Player 5.

Download from vSphere
In Workstation 8 we introduced the ability to upload a virtual machine from your PC to vSphere. Workstation 9 takes the next step and allows you to drag and drop a virtual machine from vSphere to your PC. It’s the easiest way to move virtual machines between your PC and your internal cloud.

Better 3D Graphics

Workstation 9 includes support for the new Windows Metro interface, significant performance and rendering improvements to better support professional graphical applications such as AutoCAD and SolidWorks, Anti-Aliasing, OpenGL 2.1 for Linux operating systems and even an improved graphics driver for Windows XP.

Read the VMware Workstation 9 release notes for a complete list of new features.
What if I just bought VMware Workstation 8?
If you purchased VMware Workstation 8 (Full license or upgrade) between 08/01/2012 and 09/30/2012 you are eligible for a complimentary electronic upgrade under the VMware Workstation 9 Technology Guarantee Program (TGP).  To learn how to get your complimentary upgrade click here.
If you cannot wait to for your complimentary upgrade to VMware Workstation 8, we suggest you make the most of our free 30-day trial offer.
Availability and pricing

VMware Workstation 9 is immediately available for purchase from the VMware online store for $249 (US) and upgrades from VMware Workstation 7.x and 8.x are available for $119 (US). VMware Workstation can also be purchased through VMware’s network of resellers and distributors.

Customers with an active support and subscription (“SnS”) contract are eligible to upgrade to Workstation 9 for free in the My VMware portal.  If you are not familiar with My VMware, check out this KB Article with video.

We hope you enjoy using VMware Workstation 9 as much as we enjoyed creating it.

The VMware Workstation Team

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