VMware is a virtualization and cloud computing software provider based in Palo Alto, California. Founded in 1998, VMware is a subsidiary of Dell Technologies. EMC Corporation originally acquired VMware in 2004; EMC was later acquired by Dell Technologies in 2016. VMware bases its virtualization technologies on its bare-metal hypervisor ESX/ESXi in x86 architecture.
With VMware server virtualization, a hypervisor is installed on the physical server to allow for multiple virtual machines (VMs) to run on the same physical server. Each VM can run its own operating system (OS), which means multiple OSes can run on one physical server. All of the VMs on the same physical server share resources, such as networking and RAM.
Diane Greene, Scott Devine, Mendel Rosenblum, Edward Wang and Edouard Bugnion founded VMware, which launched its first product — VMware Workstation — in 1999. The company released its second product, VMware ESX in 2001.
VMware’s current CEO is Patrick P. Gelsinger, appointed in 2012.
VMware products include virtualization, networking and security management tools, software-defined data center software and storage software.
Data Center and Cloud Infrastructure
VMware vSphere is VMware’s suite of virtualization products. VMware vSphere, known as VMware Infrastructure prior to 2009, includes ESXi, vCenter Server, vSphere Client, vMotion and more. As of April 2017, the most current version is vSphere 6.5, which is available in three editions: Standard, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus.
Networking and Security
VMware NSX is a virtual networking and security software offering created when VMware acquired Nicera in 2012. NSX allows an admin to virtualize network components, enabling them to develop, deploy and configure virtual networks and switches through software rather than hardware. A software layer sits on top of the hypervisor to allow an administrator to divide a physical network into multiple virtual networks.
VMware vRealize Network Insight is a network operations management tool that enables an admin to plan microsegmentation and check on the health of VMware NSX. VRealize Network Insight relies on technology from VMware’s acquisition of Arkin in 2016. VRealize Network Insight collects information from the NSX Manager; it also displays errors in its user interface, which helps troubleshoot an NSX environment.
VMware Cloud Foundation is an integrated software stack that bundles vSphere, VMware Virtual SAN (vSAN) and VMware NSX into a single platform through the SDDC Manager. An admin can deploy the bundle on-premises as a private cloud or run it as a service within a public cloud. An administrator can provision an application immediately without having to wait for network or storage.
Storage and Availability
VMware vSAN is a software-based storage feature that is built into the ESXi hypervisor and integrated with vSphere; it pools disk space from multiple ESXi hosts and provisions it via smart policies, such as protection limits, thin provisioning and erasure coding.
VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is a disaster recovery management product that allows an administrator to create recovery plans that are automatically executed in case of a failure. Site Recovery Manager allows admins to automatically orchestrate the failover and failback of VMs. SRM also integrates with NSX to preserve network and security policies on migrated VMs.
VMware vCloud NFV is a network functions virtualization platform that enables a service provider to run network functions as virtualized applications from different vendors. NFV provides the same benefits of virtualization and cloud to a communications service provider who previously relied on hardware.
Cloud Management Platform
The vRealize Suite is a group of software that allows a user to create and manage hybrid clouds. The vRealize Suite includes vRealize Operations, vRealize Log Insight, vRealize Automation and vRealize Business for Cloud. With this bundle, an administrator can deploy and manage VMs on multiple hypervisors or cloud platforms from a single management console.
Workspace ONE allows an administrator to control mobile devices and cloud-hosted virtual desktops and applications from a single management platform deployed either in the cloud or on-premises. The Workspace ONE suite includes VMware AirWatch, Horizon Air and Identity Manager.
Identity Manager uses technology from VMware’s acquisition of TriCipher in 2010. It’s an identity as a service product that offers single sign-on (SSO) capabilities for web, cloud and mobile applications. Identity Manager gives SSO access to any application from any device, based on the policies created.
Enterprise Mobility Management
VMware AirWatch is an enterprise mobility management (EMM) software platform that enables an administrator to deploy and manage mobile devices, applications and data. EMM software’s purpose is to secure corporate applications and data that are accessible from any device on any network.
VMware Fusion is software that virtualizes a Windows OS on Mac computers. The software allows a user to switch to the Mac OS and share data between the two OSes without rebooting. It also gives a user access to Windows applications on the Mac toolbar through Unity mode. Fusion allows an admin to run Linux as well as a number of other OSes on a Mac.
VMware Workstation is the first product ever released by the software company. It enables a systems administrator to create and run VMs directly on a single physical machine. Those VMs run simultaneously with the physical machine. Each VM runs its own OS.
VMware – Defined
The X86 compatible hardware of today, regardless of processor count or core count, was designed to run a single operating system. This leaves most machines vastly underutilized. VMware virtualization lets you run multiple virtual machines on a single physical machine, with each virtual machine sharing the resources of that one physical computer across multiple environments. Different virtual machines can run different operating systems and multiple applications on the same physical computer. WMware is an operating system that sits directly on the hardware and is the interface between the hardware and the various operating systems. It expands the hardware, from the users point of view, to many different independent servers all with their own processors and memory. These virtual servers cannot be distinguished from physical servers by the end users.
How Does VMware work?
VMware works by loading a small, efficient operating system, or hypervisor directly on the host hardware. The VMware hypervisor has a small footprint and is extremely efficient, with a very small (1%) overhead. Device drivers for nearly all major brand devices are available from VMware. These are loaded during the configuration process.
The client operating systems, such as Microsoft® Server 2008, Microsoft® Small Busines Server, Linux varieties, etc. are then set up as virtual machines, working directly with the VMware layer rather than with the actual hardware. This allows replacement of hardware to be very simple. If the hardware is replaced, VMware is reconfigured for the new hardware, and the virtual guest operating systems see no change whatsoever and are immediately able to boot and operate.
How are Resources Allocated? Are Separate Cores Needed for Each O/S?
To explain how processor resources are allocated, first of all one needs to understand how WMware treats processors.
As an example, consider our model 951 HPC Server, with 128GB of memory and Dual 8-Core 2.7Ghz Intel® Xeon™ processors. This would be presented to VMware as a processor pool at ( 16 * 2.7) = 43Ghz. During the configuration process for virtual operating systems guests, each virtual can be assigned a portion of that available processor pool, 22Ghz, depending upon the requirements of that guest. This assignment is most often left to VMware to perform dynamically during operation. Processor multi-threading is ignored by VMware, other than the small gain that will be realized by multi-threading.
Memory usage can also either be set during configuration or left to VMware to configure dynamically. You may wish to limit memory usage on some servers, such as exchange, that will atttempt to consume as much memory as is available.
Data Storage and Drives
JNCS highly recommends separating data storage needs from the physical server, although VMware is capable of using a drive pool located physcially within a server. Regardless of how the storage is physically accomplished, client oeprating systems are set at configuration to use a portion of the drive pool for their ‘boot’, or ‘C’ drives. Other storage can be set up logically so as to available for access by any of the virtuals machines. Again, to users of those machines, the drives may set to appear as physical drives attached to the virtual machine.
What is Required for VMware?
Any JNCS server is capable of acting as a phyical VMware host. The speed and core count of the processors, or, as defined above, the processor pool, should be matched to the sum of requirements of the virtual operating systems that will be installed. The required memory capacity is also a function of the requirements of the virtual clients. JNCS will be glad to help in designing a proper configuration.
We strongly suggest using a separate storage server for your storage needs. We configure storage solutions based on Nexenta. If required, we can install storage within the physical VMware host.
VMware allows the enterprise to replace many disparate, underused devices with a few virtual hosts. This greatly reduces system downtime, allows for simple movement of virtual clients from one hardware host to another and allows for scheduled hardware repair or replacement with downtime by moving those clients to another hardware host on the cluster. It also allows the IT administrator to very quickly add virtual servers as required without the need to purchase additional hardware. Upgrading hardware becomes a simple process. Removing the requirement of the Operating System needing to work directly with the hardware makes disaster recovery or replacement of failed servers simple.