VMware vSphere

VMware vSphere

VMware vSphere is the most advanced and leading hypervisor and virtualization management platform on the market. The TechRepublic cheat sheet for VMware vSphere is an overview of the platform. This guide is a living document, and will be updated when there is a large increase to vSphere.

Summary of Business Plan

What is VMware vSphere? vSphere consists of two components: a hypervisor and a management platform. Why is VMware vSphere important. Also, third party support around network, computing, and storage is second to none other solutions.

vSphere is a support solution for data center products that includes storage, network and computing. IT infrastructure practitioners must keep abreast of changes in vSphere and ecosystems (the biggest solution is the ecosystem). How do you use VMware vSphere? With the addition of VSAN for storage and NSX for network virtualization, vSphere usage cases developed beyond server virtualization in VMware vSphere.

What is VMware vSphere?

VMware vSphere is a hypervisor and management suite that is marketed for IT infrastructure providers. These solutions include ESXi, Type 1 hypervisor, and vCenter Server for infrastructure management. ESXi is what is called the Type 1 hypervisor (there is also a Type 2 hypervisor); another name for the Type 1 hypervisor is a bare metal hypervisor. The Bare metal hypervisor is the solution where the hypervisor pairs with the OS kernel. 

Because solutions such as Hyper-V and KVM are mature, the line between Type 1 and Type 2 hypervisors is blurred. In the VMware product portfolio, there is a clear description between Type 1 and Type 2; ESXi is Type 1, while VMware Workstation and VMware Fusion are Type 2 hypervisors, both of which require separate complete host operating systems to function. ESXi is available as a free download.

vCenter Server, the second component of vSphere, is where a lot of added value exists above many other products. In vSphere 6.5, vCenter comes in two flavors: Windows Server and virtual tools (VCSA). In the previous vSphere version, VCSA did not have several features of scale and availability of the Windows version with VMware vSphere.

The main function of vCenter is to provide a single interface for virtualized data centers. vCenter is the management interface for ESXi, the underlying infrastructure resources, and VM. vCenter is also an API provider for vSphere. The vSphere partner ecosystem utilizes the vCenter Server for integration into vSphere. For example, many hyperconverged solutions and backups use vCenter as the management interface for their products. These prices represent the minimum number of CPUs; prices can increase based on the total number of CPUs in vSphere deployment.

Additional Resources

Video: Understanding the difference between the vSphere Integrated Container and the Foton VMware Platform (TechRepublic). The open source tool uses PowerShell to activate the vSphere infrastructure as a code (TechRepublic). Upgrade vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 to 6.5 (Mike Tabor).
There is increasing competition in the hypervisor space of Microsoft Hyper-V and open source KVM, and all company IT vendors face challenges presented by the public cloud. VMware continues to innovate and utilize existing ecosystems and install bases to maintain a dominant position VMware vSphere.

Public cloud proves the first stop for new applications in startups and larger organizations; however, the legacy 3-tier application consists of most typical company data centers. Without refactoring applications and retraining staff, the virtualized server environment remains the most appropriate platform for older applications. VMware has built a significant ecosystem around vSphere.

VMware has hundreds of partners integrated with vSphere to improve or expand platform functionality. Some companies, such as Nutanix, are competitors and ecosystem partners for VMware. Customers have formed operations around the vSphere product and ecosystem.

VMware's biggest competitor is Microsoft with its Hyper-V virtualization platform. Hyper-V is a field of Windows Server standard licenses. The KVM open source project supports many cloud service providers. KVM comes in commercial forms from standard Linux distributor companies including Red Hat and Canonical.

Citrix offers a hypervisor named XenServer based on the Xen open source project. It is believed Xen supports AWS EC2. Recently, the hyperconverged Nutanix infrastructure company introduced the KVM variant named AHV. Why isn't all hyperconverged infrastructure created the same (TechRepublic) What does HPE server support mean for the future of the Nutanix ecosystem (TechRepublic). How to manage Microsoft virtual machines using Hyper-V Manager (TechRepublic)

How do You Use VMware vSphere?

VMware gradually reduces the barriers to entering vSphere. Traditionally, the minimum vSphere cluster recommendation requires a shared storage infrastructure and three physical hosts. With the introduction of vSAN, special shared storage arrays are no longer needed. VMware has also partnered with public cloud providers to provide infrastructure that is compatible with vSphere. vSphere has three public cloud options.

The first option is vCloud Air, a service previously owned by VMware but sold to French cloud provider OVH. The second option is the Network vCloud Air service provider. Service providers utilize the VMware vCloud Director cloud platform to provide multi-tenant cloud infrastructure. The third option is vSphere in commodity public cloud at IBM or AWS. IBM cloud of public cloud is the only publicly available choice in VMware vSphere.