VMware Adds Enterprise Features To SMB-Focused vSphere Versions


Earlier this week at VMworld, VMware updated its SMB version of vSphere, adding storage, backup and disaster recovery features that previously were available only in the full-fledged product.

vSphere 5.1 Essentials Plus includes vSphere Storage Appliance, which allows a server's internal storage to mimic the functionality of shared storage hardware. This makes it possible to use advanced features such as vMotion, which moves running virtual machines from one physical server to another; and high availability, which automatically restarts virtual machines if server software or hardware fails.

Many SMBs have avoided shared storage hardware because it is too expensive and adds management complexity, Raghu Raghuram, executive vice president of cloud infrastructure and management, told CRN Wednesday in an interview.

[Related: VMworld: VMware Ditches vRAM Licensing, Unveils Cloud Suite, Changes CEOs]

In vSphere 5.1 Essentials Plus, VMware is adding a new feature that replicates virtual machine data over the LAN or WAN for basic disaster recovery. Customers can add vCenter Site Recovery Manager for automated disaster recovery. VMware also is including built-in deduplication for backup, and vShield Endpoint for securing virtual machines.

"We're going to make virtualizing your data center as simple as possible, by giving you everything you need to get to a virtualized environment but taking away all the complexity," Raghuram said.

VMware also is rolling out a new Web-based management tool called VMware Go Pro, which lets customers monitor and manage their virtual infrastructure and automate patch management. Customers can back up their virtual machines on the Web through a partnership between VMware and Mozy.

VMware is charging $4,495 for vSphere Essentials Plus and $495 for vSphere Essentials, a bare-bones version without advanced features. Both include licensing for six CPUs on up to three hosts. VMware Go Pro, slated to become available in the third quarter, will be priced starting at $12 per managed system, but under a limited promotion, VMware is offering it free with vSphere Essentials and Essentials Plus.

Blaine Kahle, director of engineering at Five Nines Technology Group, a Lincoln, Neb.-based VMware partner, said the bundling of vSphere Storage Appliance into Essentials Plus probably won't improve its adoption rate with customers since small iSCSI SANs are readily affordable.

"If you can have a real SAN why would you emulate one with software?" Kahle told CRN.

Smaller companies are on a different trajectory than larger ones when it comes to adopting virtualization, but when they do take the leap, they tend to go all in and virtualize all of their servers, Doug Smith, VMware's senior director of global partner strategy and operations, told CRN earlier this week.

"They're not going to do it in a staged approach," Smith said. "For smaller customers, it makes more sense to do it all at once."

PUBLISHED AUG. 30, 2012