Since I was in a meeting during the launch of vSphere 4 on April 22nd, and since I found myself wide awake at 3AM, I decided to to watch the recording of the webcast early this morning. And as I was watching, I heard Steve Herrod (VMware CTO) make the following statement …
… So if you’re an existing customer today and you have a 100 host deployment using our vi3.5 product, simply upgrading the software will save you $2 Million dollars a year …
Wow, that’s pretty powerful. In an age when words like costly, frustration, and BSOD’s (Blue Screen of Death) are often associated with software upgrades, it’s no wonder many companies are taking an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach. But here’s a software upgrade that, if for no other reason, should be considered purely for economic reasons.
How can VMware make such a bold claim? Steve’s statement was based on the following efficiencies you’ll achieve with vSphere4 (over and above what you’re already seeing with VI3):
30% Greater Consolidation
Most people know that you’ll get the greatest VM density with VMware due to superior technologies like memory over commitment and Distributed Resource Scheduling. But did you know that VM density is a critical metric when determining TCO? There’s a great blog post over at VMware: Virtual Reality which goes into detail. But the following graphic sums it up pretty well …
Simply put, with VMware you’ll have less physical servers to buy, less network and storage connections, less floor space and less power and cooling to support your virtual infrastructure … AND you’ll have superior functionality like VMotion, DRS, HA, etc.
If you’re an existing VMware customer, then you are already benefiting from the efficiencies afforded to you by VI3. And upgrading to vSphere4 is going to give you even greater efficiencies, allowing you to achieve an even greater VM density, as well as capture a greater number of high I/O applications that were previously considered non VM candidates. The following table taken from the webcast summarizes these performance improvements in vSphere 4.
50% Storage Savings
There are over 150 new features in vSphere 4. One of the more exciting features is Thin Provisioning. This feature is already included VMware’s virtual desktop offering, VMware View, and I have a blog post about storage savings with View if you’re looking for more technical detail. But for this post, know that the technology has been applied to vSphere 4 and allows for significant storage savings.
Basically, Thin Provisioning allows for the VM to consume no more space than the data requires. So, for example, if you have VM with a 100G virtual drive but only 20G of data within the virtual drive, then only 20G will actually be consumed. When applied across all your VMs, you’ll achieve economies of scale and you’ll likely see a 50% reduction in storage, if not more.
20% Power Savings with Distributed Power Management
What is Distributed Power management (DPM)? Steve Harrod calls it “VM Tetris” or “Server Defrag,” which I thought was clever. During low server utilization, DPM will intelligently VMotion workloads down to the smallest number of acceptable physical servers and then power off the unused servers. As traffic increases during peak hours, DPM will power on the servers and again redistribute the workloads with VMotion.
Distributed Power Management isn’t new as it was introduced over a year ago in VI3. However, up until vSphere 4, this feature was only experimentally supported. And with the lack of full support in VI3, I don’t believe many customers actually used DPM. But VMware supports DPM in vSphere 4, assuming your hardware has IPMI, WOL or iLO. And it can deliver significant savings in you power and cooling costs. Plus you get the added bonus of doing your part to save the environment.
Here is an awesome video some of the VMware engineers created showing DPM in action …
At this point, you’re probably asking the following questions …
- Sounds great, but how much is it going to cost me? Nothing. Your software maintenance covers like-for-like upgrades. So, if you have VI3 Enterprise, then you can upgrade to vSphere 4 Enterprise at no additional cost.
- Is it a difficult process to upgrade? Will it require massive configuration changes? Nope. The upgrade is actually rather simple. I upgraded my three lab VI3 servers to vSphere 4 in under an hour with no downtime of any of my VMs. Basically, Update Manager handled just about everything for me.
- Do I get anything else with vSphere? Heck yeah! Remember, there are 150 new features in vSphere 4, which I’m sure I’ll address in future posts. I only addressed the ones that will save you money.
So let’s see if I can summarize this properly … a zero cost, easy upgrade = 30% Greater Consolidation + 50% Storage Savings + 20% Power Savings. To me, that’s a no brainer. What other software company in the world offers that kind of value?