What’s new in VMware vSphere 5.1

vSphere 5.1 is VMware’s latest release of its industry-leading virtualization platform. This new release contains the following new features and enhancements:

Compute
•    Larger virtual machines – Virtual machines can grow two times larger than in any previous release to support even the most advanced applications. Virtual machines can now have up to 64 virtual CPUs (vCPUs) and 1TB of virtual RAM (vRAM).
•    New virtual machine format – New features in the virtual machine format (version 9) in vSphere 5.1 include support for larger virtual machines, CPU performance  counters and virtual shared graphics acceleration designed for enhanced performance.

Storage
•    Flexible, space-efficient storage for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) – A new disk format
enables the correct balance between space efficiency and I/O throughput for the virtual desktop.

Network
•    vSphere Distributed Switch – Enhancements such as Network Health Check, Configuration Backup and Restore, Roll Back and Recovery, and Link Aggregation Control Protocol support and deliver more enterprise-class networking functionality and a more robust foundation for cloud computing.
•    Single-root I/O virtualization (SR-IOV) support – Support for SR-IOV optimizes performance for sophisticated applications.

Availability
•    vSphere vMotion® – Leverage the advantages of vMotion (zero-downtime migration) without the need for shared storage configurations. This new vMotion capability applies to the entire network.
•    vSphere Data Protection – Simple and cost effective backup and recovery for virtual machines. vSphere Data Protection is a newly architected solution based EMC Avamar technology that allows admins to back up virtual machine data to disk without the need of agents and with built-in deduplication. This feature replaces the vSphere Data Recovery product available with previous releases of vSphere.
•    vSphere Replication – vSphere Replication enables efficient array-agnostic replication of virtual machine data over the LAN or WAN.  vSphere Replication simplifies management enabling replication at the virtual machine level and enables RPOs as low as 15 minutes.
•    Zero-downtime upgrade for VMware Tools – After you upgrade to the VMware Tools available with version 5.1, no reboots will be required for subsequent VMware Tools upgrades.

Security
•    VMware vShield Endpoint™ – Delivers a proven endpoint security solution to any workload with an approach that is simplified, efficient, and cloud-aware. vShield Endpoint enables 3rd party endpoint security solutions to eliminate the agent footprint from the virtual machines, offload intelligence to a security virtual appliance, and run scans with minimal impact.

Automation
•    vSphere Storage DRS™ and Profile-Driven Storage – New integration with VMware vCloud® Director™ enables further storage efficiencies and automation in a private cloud environment.
•    vSphere Auto Deploy™ – Two new methods for deploying new vSphere hosts to an environment make the Auto Deploy process more highly available then ever before.

Management (with vCenter Server)
•    vSphere Web Client –The vSphere Web Client is now the core administrative interface for vSphere. This new flexible, robust interface simplifies vSphere control through shortcut navigation, custom tagging, enhanced scalability, and the ability to manage from anywhere with Internet Explorer or Firefox-enabled devices.
•    vCenter Single Sign-On – Dramatically simplify vSphere admin- istration by allowing users to log in once to access all instances or layers of vCenter without the need for further authentication.
•    vCenter Orchestrator – Orchestrator simplifies installation and configuration of the powerful workflow engine in vCenter Server. Newly designed workflows enhance ease of use, and can also be launched directly from the new vSphere Web Client

More information can be found here.

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Tested: PHD Virtual Backup 6.0

PHD Virtual Backup is a backup and recovery solution for VMware and Citrix environments. PHD Virtual Backup version 6 is released. We tested this new version with VMware vSphere.

What’s new in PHD Virtual Backup version 6:

PHD Virtual Backup version 6.0 contains the following major enhancements:

  • PHD Instant Recovery: Instant Recovery lets you access your backed up data right away. The VM(s) will be powered on directly from the backup storage. Instant Recovery can be used for verifying backups or when needed mission critical data immediately. 
  • Application Aware Backups: PHDVB v6.0 provides the ability to take application aware backups for any application.  Application aware backups include the ability to properly quiesce the application prior to backup, as well as perform any post-backup processes, such as automated log management (truncate, shrink, etc.).  This is done by leveraging a very small guest application called the PHD Guest Tools
  • Full and incremental backup mode: Prior to v6.0, PHDVB provides a single backup mode called the virtual full.  Virtual Full backups include source-side deduplication across all backups within a backup target.  They are very efficient for storage utilization and backup and restore speeds. There are certain configurations that are not optimized to handle the many files that the virtual full leverages.  Therefore, PHD is implementing a traditional full / incremental backup mode for those configurations such as using a CIFS share or deduplicating hardware appliance as the backup target or using 3rd party tools to copy full and incremental files off-site or to tape.
  • Email Enhancements: The enhancements include: test Email, get HTML summary reports and fewer alerts
  • Encryption: Those requiring strict requirements for backup data security can now choose to enable one of many types of industry standard encryption levels for PHD Virtual Backups.  When enabled, data will be encrypted at the file system level of the VBA to ensure that it is secure in transit to the backup target and at rest when it reaches the backup target.
  • Enhanced File Level Recovery (FLR): In PHDVB v6.0, users will now be able to select an option to use CIFS for FLR, whereby the backup will be mounted to the VBA and presented out as a CIFS share. This allows the admin to share backup data so that other users can recover files or application items.  For additional flexibility, you can also choose or ability to present backups out as an iSCSI target from the VBA so that other machines can mount the backup as a local disk.  

Read moreTested: PHD Virtual Backup 6.0