Why can’t I run your OS on my virtual box, Steve?

Ever since I’ve been working on a Apple Classic II, many many years ago, I was caught by the way of thinking at Cupertino. Design combined with functionality was actually possible! Well, back then we thought it was beautiful, anyway :)

Now, many years have gone by, a lot of people in the world seem to have recently discovered Apple. With the consumerization of the IT business, more and more Macs appear in the landscape. And why not? Sleek design combined with a stable OS where you don’t waste performance and money on staying free from virii and other malware (at least, for now), who doesn’t want that? So, it’s logical that wishes and demands for a virtual server or desktop in the Windows world, also be true for OS X. With vSphere 5, this might be possible!


Waiting is over – download vSphere 5 now!

After the release on July 12th, you can now download VMware vSphere 5 and enjoy the 150 new features.

You can find the downloads here.

For more information visit:

If you want to upgrade your existing VMware vSphere installation, check out my previous article on how to upgrade to vSphere 5.

Want to know more regarding VMware’s new licensing model? Check out the latest changes here.
Hint: Read carefully and calculate the impact on your environment before forming your opinion!

Now, don’t let me keep you, GO and try out vSphere 5!

How to: Upgrade to vSphere 5

On July 12th, VMware announced the release of vSphere 5.

With the release comes the challenge to upgrade your existing installation.

However, there are a few caveats:

  • vSphere 5 is the first version which comes in a ESXi version ONLY! ESXi 5 is available in an embedded or installable version. If you’re running ESX 3.x or 4.x you should do a clean installation. You can find more information here.;
  • VMware changed their licensing method. Familiarize yourself with this and check if you need to upgrade/extend your licenses. You can find more information here.

Because I run a VMware vSphere 4.1 environment, this is a upgrade from vSphere 4.1 to 5.

The upgrade is a straight forward five step process.


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vRAM licensing with VMware View

Since the announcement of VMware vSphere 5, the attention for the great new features has been swapped by the discussion on the new VMware vSphere 5 licensing model.

Because of the processor association it looks complicated and expensive but if you do the math, most of the time pricing remains the same. Gabrie van Zanten wrote an excellent article on that.

In short, with traditional virtual infrastructures used for server virtualization, the host servers seldom exceed the 96GB per host. This matches with a dual socket server licensed with VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus. In that scenario the number of vSphere 5 ‘processor’ licenses will equal the number of physical sockets, so the total cost for this environment will be equal with the new vSphere 5 licensing model.

But how about the new licensing model with memory dense servers/blades like we use in VDI solutions. When housing 100-200 VDI desktops on a single server you need immense amounts of memory and with the new vSphere 5 licensing model this would cost much much more that with the old licensing model.


New VMware licensing explained

With the introduction of VMware vSphere 5, VMware introduces a new licensing model. VMware will retain a per processor model but they  removed some restrictions which were in the vSphere 4 licensing model. This is mainly regarding the number of cores per processor and the amount of physical memory in a host on which vSphere 4 could be deployed. With vSphere 5 it does no longer matter how many cores or amount of memory a ESXi hosts has.

Instead of the physical restrictions, VMware introduces a single virtualization based entitlement of pooled virtual memory (vRAM). According to VMware, this will simplify the process of purchasing deploying and managing vSphere while facilitating the move to shared infrastructure as a service.

vSphere 5.0 will be licensed on a per-processor basis with a vRAM entitlement. Each vSphere 5.0 CPU license will entitle the customer to a specific amount of vRAM, or memory configured to virtual machines. The vRAM entitlement can be pooled across a vSphere environment to enable a true cloud or utility based IT consumption model.

The vSphere 5.0 licensing model is per processor with pooled vRAM entitlements. According to VMware, this should offer customers the following benefits relative to the previous vSphere 4 model:

Simplicity – Removes two physical constraints (core and physical RAM), replacing them with a single virtual entitlement (vRAM). Customers now have a clear path to license vSphere on next-generation hardware configurations.

Flexibility – Extends the concept of resource pooling from technology to the business of IT by allowing aggregation and sharing of vRAM entitlement across a large pool of servers.

Fairness – Better aligns cost with actual use and value derived,rather than with hardware configurations and capacity.

Evolution – Allows customers to evolve to a cloud-like “pay for consumption” model without disrupting established purchasing, deployment and license-management practices and processes.


In all fairness, with this VMware introduced the much criticized virtual machine based licensing ‘with a twist’. Because they now license based on the amount of allocated vRAM, you’re much more limited in the total number of deployed virtual machines than you where when you were limited by physical memory and processor cores.

I’m afraid this may backfire on VMware, especially when in competition with Microsoft or Citrix.


VMware announces vSphere 5

Today VMware had planned a webcast named ‘Raising the bar. Part V’. It was a public secret that they were going to announce VMware vSphere 5 and indeed they did. But on top of that VMware also new released new versions of vCloud Director (1.5), vCenter SRM (5.0) and vShield (5.0).

To accomplish this VMware has spent more than a million hours engineering and two million hours of quality assurance to deliver hundreds of additional capabilities which eventually became VMware vSphere 5.

But why this new version of vSphere and additional products?
VMware acknowledges two large transformations taking place. First of all customers are looking for ways to reduce the infrastructure complexity. By using more automation they want to create infrastructures that are easier to operate with lower cost of operation. The second transformation is the consumer who is device independently connected to an information centric world. This is the post-PC age where the PC is no longer dominant and applications can no longer support the ‘Facebook generation’. They need a new platform to build new applications on.

VMware defined three stages, which we already saw at VMworld 2010, the IT Production stage, Business Production stage and finally the IT-as-a-service stage. In 2011 VMware moved well into the Business Production stage with 50% of all x86 workloads being virtualized, primarily on vSphere 4. But there is still 50% left, so we need to continue to accelerate to virtualize those workloads also. Bit in the meantime we need to amplify the value of the virtual infrastructure.

To do this, take the next step and move to the IT-as-a-service stage, VMware now announced their new flagship product, VMware vSphere 5.


Rumors on vSphere 5

The release of VMware vSphere 5.0 is almost visible on the horizon now.
In the online communities and when talking with colleagues the term ESXi 5 and/or vSphere 5 keep coming up.

The general expectation is that the release will be announced at VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas.
(no promise just a wild guess)

Version 4 of VMware vSphere/ESX(i) is quite suitable for most of our needs, but other players on the hypervisor market (Microsoft, Citrix) are closing the gap fast. So VMware needs to keep innovating to stay ahead and the reputation of VMware demands a new and improved version which will again stun the world. Packed with features with which Microsoft will ‘quick’ it’s customers again until they got it themselves in 2-3 years.

But fortunately the rumors on VMware vSphere 5 look very promising. Of course the configuration maximums will be improved again, not that anyone will come even close, but the added value must be in the new and improved features in my opinion.