What is vSphere 4?

VMware vSphereTM 4, the industry's most widely deployed virtualization platform, delivers the only foundation to transform datacenters into dynamic, simplified infrastructures for private, public and hybrid cloud environments. The most comprehensive set of unique capabilities for availability, security, resource optimization, and business continuity have established VMware vSphere as the platform of choice for customers of any size. VMware vSphere dramatically reduces capital and operating costs, and increases control over delivery of IT services while preserving the flexibility to choose between any type of OS, application and hardware, hosted in-house or using external resources.

With VMware vSphere providing the foundation for internal and external clouds, using federation and standards to bridge internal and external cloud infrastructures, organizations of all sizes can achieve the full benefits of cloud computing.

VMware vSphere abstracts applications and information from the complexity of underlying infrastructure, creating internal cloud infrastructure so IT can focus on the support and enablement of business value. Benefits include:

  • Reduced costs and maximum IT efficiency: VMware vSphere helps organizations deliver IT services more efficiently by eliminating unnecessary investments and reducing the cost and complexity of managing and maintaining IT infrastructure. By adopting VMware vSphere, customers can achieve over 50 percent reduction in capital expenses and a reduction of over 25 percent in operational expenses, dramatically lowering the total cost of owning and operating enterprise applications. Organizations that use VMware vSphere can achieve consolidation ratios of well over 15:1, with automated management and dynamic allocation of resources to applications across internal and external cloud infrastructures. The result is a clean break from the expensive model of application and information delivery that is tied to specific systems and architectures, and a seamless move to a self managed, dynamically optimized IT environment for the most efficient delivery of business services.

  • Increased IT control through service level automation: As businesses have become increasingly reliant on IT services, the effective delivery of applications can mean the difference between growth and decline, success and failure. Businesses depend on IT to fully control the quality-of-service for application delivery, without compromise. VMware vSphere automates the delivery of service-level agreements (SLAs) covering availability, security and scalability shifting the paradigm of datacenter management from infrastructure to service delivery. Application owners who need to roll out new business services are shielded from the complexity of servers, storage and network infrastructure, leaving them to focus on the delivery of business value. The result is an automated, controlled environment that is resilient to failures and responsive to changing requirements without complexity or operational overhead.

  • Empowered IT departments with choice: VMware vSphere future- proofs IT environments while delivering business services on demand, with the freedom to choose the right industry standard hardware, application architecture, operating system, in-house or external infrastructure for changing business requirements. With VMware vSphere, customers retain flexibility of choice, remaining independent of hardware, operating system, application stack, and service providers. This means customers can support their existing applications, and feel confident about future applications, while retaining the flexibility to deploy within internal or external cloud infrastructures.

Key Components of VMware vSphere

VMware vSphere is comprised of the following groups of components:

  • Infrastructure services - The set of components that comprehensively virtualize server, storage and network resources, aggregate them and allocate them precisely on demand to applications based on business priority.

  • Application services - The set of components that provide built-in service level controls to all applications running on VMware vSphere, regardless of application type or operating system. Administration of infrastructure and application services, automation of day-to-day operational tasks with deep visibility into every aspect of large and small VMware vSphere environments is provided by VMware vCenter™ Server1.

Infrastructure Services: Virtualize and Aggregate Hardware Resources

VMware vSphere infrastructure services transform discrete hardware resources into a shared mainframe-like computing platform that is incredibly resilient and capable of running the most demanding applications with near-native performance.

VMware vSphere provides the following types of infrastructure services:

  • VMware vCompute: Infrastructure services that efficiently virtualize server resources and aggregate them into logical pools that can precisely be allocated to applications.

  • VMware ESX® and VMware ESXi™ provides a robust, production-proven, high performance virtualization layer that abstracts server hardware resources and allows their sharing by multiple virtual machines. Unique memory management and advanced scheduling capabilities of VMware ESX and ESXi allow for the highest consolidation ratios and the best application performance, in many cases, even better than physical servers.

  • VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) aggregates compute resources across many clusters and dynamically allocates them to virtual machines based on business priorities, reducing management complexity through automation. VMware Distributed Power Management (DPM), included with VMware DRS, automates energy efficiency in VMware DRS clusters by continuously optimizing server power consumption within each cluster.

  • VMware vStorage: Infrastructure services that abstracts storage resources from the complexity of underlying hardware systems to enable the most efficient utilization of storage capacity in virtualized environments.

  • VMware vStorage Virtual Machine File System (VMFS) is a high-performance cluster file system that allows efficient sharing and controls concurrent access to storage by virtualized servers.

  • VMware vStorage Thin Provisioning provides dynamic allocation of storage capacity, allowing storage purchases to be deferred until they are really required, and reducing storage spending by up to 50 percent. VMware vNetwork: Infrastructure services that enable optimal administration and management of networking in virtual environments

  • VMware vNetwork Distributed Switch simplifies and enhances the provisioning, administration and control of virtual machine networking in VMware vSphere™ environments. It also enables third-party distributed virtual switches such as the Cisco Nexus 1000v to be used in VMware vSphere™ environments, providing network administrators with familiar interfaces to control quality of service at the virtual machine level.