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VMware vSphere vs Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization

What's new in vSphere 5.5 and why you should consider Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization

At VMworld 2013, VMware announced vSphere 5.5. What's new in this release can be found here and highlighted as follows:

The core vSphere ESXi Hypervisor enhancements in vSphere 5.5 include the following:

  • Hot-pluggable SSD PCIe devices
  • Support for Reliable Memory Technology
  • Enhancements to CPU C-states

Virtual machine-related enhancements:

  • Virtual machine compatibility with VMware ESXi 5.5
  • Expanded support for hardware-accelerated graphics vendor
  • Graphic acceleration support for Linux guest operating systems

vCenter Server enhancements include:

  • vCenter Single Sign-On Server security enhancements
  • vSphere Web Client platform support and UI improvements
  • vCenter Server Appliance configuration maximum increases
  • Simplified vSphere App HA application monitoring
  • vSphere DRS virtual machine-virtual machine affinity rule enhancements
  • vSphere Big Data Extensions, a new feature that deploys and manages Hadoop clusters on vSphere from within vCenter

storage-related enhancements:

  • Support for 62TB VMDK
  • MSCS updates
  • vSphere 5.1 enhancements
  • 16GB E2E support
  • PDL AutoRemove
  • vSphere Replication interoperability and multi-point-in-time snapshot retention

Networking-related enhancements:

  • Improved LACP capabilities
  • Traffic filtering
  • Quality of Service tagging

Mostly the release contains improved performance and capabilities of memory utilization, CPU, Disk, network throughput.

How does this new release compare to Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) ?

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization scales to:

  • Up to 200 hypervisor hosts in one cluster
  • Host supports up to 160 CPUs and 2TB of memory
  • Guests support up to 160 vCPUs and 2TB memory

which is higher than vSphere 5.5. And I am willing to bet that vSphere 5.5 still does not outperform Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization in the specvirt test.

Implementing vSphere 5.5 still entails several add-on components that increase the licensing cost and time to implement and manage. For example, a typical virtualization install requires:

  1. The ESXi hypervisor
  2. vCenter - either the appliance form factor (which has not taken off) or installed with on Microsoft Windows Server with Microsoft SQL Database backend (two additional licenses and costs).
  3. Different vSphere licensing schemes that provide different functionality. This VMware website displays the myriad options of licenses that do or do not provide functionality - note in the table that "vCenter is sold separately".
  4. Other components that are "sold separately" are "vCloud Networking and Security", "Update Manager" and others.
  5. Oh - and VDI, Virtual Desktops, that's another component to install, pay, license and maintain.
vCenter Server (sold separately

If an organization just wants to gain the benefits of virtualization and ease of management, do they need all this extra "stuff", paying for features never used? Upfront costs followed by annual maintenance...

The Red Hat® Enterprise Virtualization subscription is sold per managed hypervisor socket pair and costs $999/socket pair per year for business-hour (Standard) support or $1499/ socket pair per year for 24x7 (Premium) support. Included in the subscription fee is Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager (enterprise management system), the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Hypervisor, all product features, and product support.

and included in Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization are:

  1. Virtual Desktops
  2. Updates
  3. User authentication from LDAP/AD
  4. Storage
  5. Virtual networks
  6. A scripted or web-based administration console

More Stories By Jonathan Gershater

Jonathan Gershater has lived and worked in Silicon Valley since 1996, primarily doing system and sales engineering specializing in: Web Applications, Identity and Security. At Red Hat, he provides Technical Marketing for Virtualization and Cloud. Prior to joining Red Hat, Jonathan worked at 3Com, Entrust (by acquisition) two startups, Sun Microsystems and Trend Micro.

(The views expressed in this blog are entirely mine and do not represent my employer - Jonathan).

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