back to article VMware 5.5: Plenty that's new and exciting... but what about the obvious stuff?

For a number of years I sat on the periphery of server virtualisation. After all, I ran my company's network and telecoms team, and if I had a server issue I'd wander five yards to the servers and storage team and ask them nicely to fix their world. Bung in the CD and click Next, Next, Next (click to enlarge) With the …


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  1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    this means that until 2013 you were limited to a shade under 2TB

    My standard operating practise, was the O/S drive was a VMDK on your VMFS file system. The data was held on a separate drive which was just a mapping to a partition/LUN/whatever on your shared storage. No worries about VMDK size limits.

    I'm going to stick my neck out and say that I think it'll be a few years before the O/S needs more than 2TB of disc space.

    1. Matt_payne666

      real shared storage is nice for an enterprise deployment... but the restriction was an arse for single box setups... no 3TB drive support meant bodging physical RDM's or in my case passing through an HBA to a machine and loosing some VM features and capabilities

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        or you just add several 2TB disks and use the native OS to stripe them together.

  2. Matt_payne666

    two things bother me with ESXi... making management of the free hypervisor a pain in this release... nobbling the v-sphere client so latest virtual hardware isn't manageable without v-centre.

    im not just being a freetard either, Single host, small deployments are easier to manage with the stand alone client...

    Secondly... actually buying a license.... when I want to spend money, it shouldn't be as tricky as this... 5 multiple choice questions to locate a partner.... I had more luck with my lottery numbers!

    I went from being quite into ESXi, but now finding (for my needs - single host, 2-3 vm's) server 2012 hyper-v to be a more interesting buy, especially with the licencing for small deployments

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Licence to ill

      Their licencing system is borked. Some work went on there that royally screwed it.

      My current employer at one point had the licence set of a completely different multi-national company available to them and VMWare told them that they couldn't sort this situation. Goodness only knows what they told the other company - I assume they had either our licence set or that of yet another unrelated business. Situation lasted for months.

      So I am not surprised they are difficult to buy, VMWare don't seem to know how they work and can't keep track of them.

    2. Demelza

      No Naked vSphere

      Their licensing approach is based around a Larry Ellison style grab-as-much-of-a-customer's-money-as-you-can approach. I work for a big VMware business partner, and they've become a greedy company: they don't want to sell you just ESXi and vSphere, they want to sell all the layered cloudy stuff and put pressure through the supply chain to do this. If you're a happy vSphere customer whose licensing term has come up for renewal, it's hard work to buy a renewal for what you're currently using.

      They're a good example of a company that got so big they decided to sack their old customers and get new ones with more money.

    3. phuzz Silver badge

      I've not had problems with the VMWare licenses, but while they owned Zimbra for a while the licenses were actually impossible to buy from them. Account managers would try, but fail to find anyone in the company to take our money, it was only by escalating to nosebleed inducing levels of seniority (a VP of something I think) that we could get them to take our cash.

      Business 101 - make it easy for people to give you money.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      vmware apparently simply don't want small deployments, they are happy milking the big boys. The only lowend support seems to be oriented towards experimental non commercial setups with nothing at all offered in the middle.

  3. htq

    An alternative hypervisor

    We've been using proxmox-ve in our environments...

    1. redpola

      Re: An alternative hypervisor

      I ran esxi (free- I can't justify the pay version because it's so unaffordable for small installs) for about a year. It was constant pain to administrate. Updates require a physical trip to the server and even finding the newest version of the administration tool was a pain. To this day I don't know what the software is called (vsphere? Vcircle? Vcloud?). Having to have a physical windows machine to run the client on was similar agony.

      I switched to proxmox and all these problems are solved. Very happy.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The air for VMware gets thinner

    Being stuck with a 2TB limit in 2013 was an embarassment, but glad to hear they got around fixing it. Good for them.

    But with Citrix XenServer (which has been offering a lot of features like >2TB local volumes or hardware pass-through for a very long time) being fully open source, and with Hyper-V 3.0 on the other end, the air for VMware gets thinner and thinner. And this doesn't even include other options like pure XEN or KVM on Linux, which are a viable alternative.

  5. bytejunkie

    about that web client

    vmware have been quite open about the fact that pretty soon they will only offer the web client, i believe it was first mentioned in the 5.1 release notes.

    read more here.

  6. Joe 48

    Too feature rich?

    I think VMware have gotten too big. The landscape is huge now and they're missing the simple things that keep the customers happy, like a robust license model. I see very few customers using the full suites VMware offer these days. Also they are starting to tread on the toes of the companies who have been integral to them over the years. vSan and NSX to name a few. I'm also seeing vendors going the other way. Cisco seem to be working more closely with MS these days.

    I'm seeing a massive switch in customers not just going with Hyper-V at day one but also existing VMware customers moving to Hyper-V (2012 R2) which provides them with all the features they'll ever need at a great price point with imo a much simpler management interface. One than the admins can pick up much quicker. They can see a windows interface and don't have to deal with the confusion of which client to use in order to move a VM!

    1. John Sanders
      Thumb Down

      Re: Too feature rich?

      """I'm seeing a massive switch in customers not just going with Hyper-V at day one but also existing VMware customers moving to Hyper-V (2012 R2) which provides them with all the features they'll ever need at a great price point with imo a much simpler management interface."""

      BullS**, BullS** and more BullS**.

      VMWare can get to be a pain in the works, but it is reliable, the same can not be said about Hyper-V anyone doing large VM deployments knows this.

      Lame astroturfing attempt

      1. Joe 48

        Re: Too feature rich?

        At no point did I claim Hyper-V was better, in fact i didn't say anything about which is the best platform. I stated that it does what a large amount of my customers need at a price point they like and I think the interface is quite clean and simple.

        As you raised the point, for information all my recommendations are still generally VMware, unless their budget is tiny.

        I've worked with Xen, VMware, RedHat, Hyper-V and even done one Oracle VM implementation. So I know the market and have a broad range of experience.

        I'm still doing lots more VMware implmentations that Hyper-V but saying I'm talking bull**** as you so eloquently put it is just pointless. The market is shifting, it might not be huge but I'm seeing it and getting paid to do it!

        No astroturfing going on, just facts based on market knowledge.

  7. DougMac

    Not that I work for VMWare

    But am heavily invested in it for work. There seems to be several inaccuracies..

    RE: making up mind about web client.

    The web client is a progression. It is a huge improvement over earlier web clients, and the products you cite (SRM & VUM) haven't had any updates yet to take advantage of the web client. There are alternatives to VUM that are much easier for the core functionality now (CLI esxi depot actions). They are working on getting everything working with the web client, but it takes time. There are so many 3rd party plugins that need to update as well.

    RE: Mac client not working.

    We are a pure Mac shop, and welcomed the web client working very well on Mac. We have no problems running the web client on Mac with full console on all products.

    Needing the heavy client for individual machine interaction is required, but generally this is an extreme debugging situation, not required for any normal work flow?

    RE: vCD

    vCD has a huge learning curve, but then again, so does AWS. It has gotten a lot better in 5.5 vs. earlier versions. I'm not sure of the struggles with vClient vs. vCD. Once you launch things in vCD the vCenter client will tell you not to mess with those items that vCD is managing, so you would have had to press on ignoring the warnings to not mess with things and done so to make vCD angry about something. That said, you can do many normal operations to vCD objects in vCenter, I've never actually reached a state of vCD being angry about anything I did to its objects in vCenter???

    That includes migrations, pushing in ISOs, etc. But, not messing with memory/cpu/disk/networks.

    That is what vCD wants to manage, and all management should be done in vCD for those.

    It seems integrated quite nicely to me, and vCenter will tell you not to mess where you shouldn't be.

    There is a vCD appliance as well (for trials, not production class certified).

    There are also puzzling remarks that makes me wonder how much experience your reviewer has.

    Addition of native Active Directory.

    Since vCenter was on Windows before, it had full Active Directory? This only relates to the vCenter appliance, and the first release version could do Active Directory via LDAP, while 5.5 added native AD. So you are talking about one product, one version that had to resort to LDAP..

    Support for 62TB VMDKs.

    I guess I don't see the need for this in regular enterprise work, anything larger than 2TB would have been a LUN off your enterprise storage anyway?

    Hot-plug support for PCIe SSD devices.

    How often does your review hot-add storage into PCIe cards? Seems like a very rare feature to me, I'm not sure in what circumstances I'd even be hot-adding SSDs modules into a PCIe card.

    yes, VMWare sales and licensing have their issues, but overall, they are moving in the right direction, and progressively fixing many of the past transgressions.

  8. DavidRa

    RDMs and Snapshots

    OK I'm going to ask the question here.

    A stack of experienced VMware guys (above) don't see any problem with the 2TB VMDK limits. How do you do host-based backups and VM snapshots? Don't you need to have synchronicity between all of the vdisks? How do you ensure the SAN admin doesn't nuke the RDM snap before the VM snap (if that's even possible)?

    And you'd lose Storage vMotion as well, right? Isn't that supposed to be a killer feature? It seems to lock VMs pretty thoroughly to the specific array.

  9. Benno

    The 2TB limit doesn't really bother me - if I need bigger logical volumes, I just add more VMDK's to the guest, and join them at that layer. I like storage vMotion, and I like bring able to do my CA host-based backups (via snapshots). I avoid RDM's unless they are needed for specific virtual machines (e.g. higher I/O for an RDBMS). We've had ESX since version 3.5 (still on 4.1 at present), and have about 70 guests running across a 5 host cluster with 3 iSCSI SAN's. So not a massive deployment, but sizeable.

  10. david 12 Bronze badge

    A single ESXi host is really only any need vCenter

    I agree. But I seem to be surrounded by people that think having a free VMware hypervisor, or two free VMware hypervisors, is somehow a good thing.

    Are we missing something?

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