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Thursday, March 28, 2019

What Is vSphere? An Introduction to VMware’s Virtualization Platform

A vast majority of modern businesses rely on virtualization to help them scale more efficiently and cut hardware costs. And today, VMware vSphere is the most advanced and prominent server virtualization product on the market.

But if you’re new to virtualization and VMware’s product line, your first question might be, “What is vSphere?” Understanding what vSphere does and how it fits into the big picture of your virtualization environment will help your company keep up with high processing and storage demands.

In this article, we detail the cost-saving power of virtualization, the features of vSphere that make virtualization a breeze and the resources you need to master this technology.

Introduction to Virtualization

The reality is that x86 servers are limited and can’t hold much information, but today’s data is coming in fast. As a result, IT organizations have had to use multiple servers that operate at just a portion of their capacity to keep up with this data influx. Unfortunately, this has left businesses in the lurch when it comes to operating costs and efficiency.

But with virtualization, companies can rely on cloud-based software that imitates physical servers to create a virtual server system. IT companies and departments can then run multiple virtual machines on just one server. It’s more affordable and more efficient than attempting to purchase multiple machines in one environment.

There are three types of virtualization that IT leaders should know about:

  • Server Virtualization
    Server virtualization allows more than one server to work on just one machine, instead of operating on several machines. Virtual servers help companies become more efficient by minimizing operating costs, deploying workloads more quickly, improving overall performance and removing unnecessary server complexity and sprawl.

  • Network Virtualization
    Network virtualization completely recreates physical networks. As a result, applications can function independently of hardware (which can be broken). By enabling network virtualization, multiple computers can communicate and share data across remote locations.

  • Desktop Virtualization
    Desktop virtualization gives employees access to their work computer without having the hardware right in front of them. With desktop virtualization, IT departments and organizations can quickly respond to a company’s needs and opportunities, allowing branch offices, mobile employees and outsourced team members to gain the information they need without having a computer shipped their way.

vSphere plays a major role in server virtualization.

What Is vSphere?

VMware vSphere is the name of VMware’s server virtualization product. It’s formerly known as VMware Infrastructure, and it consists of ESXi, a Type 1 hypervisor, vCenter Server and a few other important features to ensure virtual servers are up and running.

Understanding vSphere also means understanding each of its features and how they work together.

  • VMware ESXi: ESXi, as mentioned above, is a Type 1 hypervisor. It’s in charge of conceptualizing processors, storage, memory and other sources into multiple machines. The ESXi also has a Virtual Machine File System that provides users a high-performance cluster file system for the virtual machines.

  • vCenter Server: The vCenter Server, previously known as the VirtualCenter, is a management tool that acts as the control hub for data center services. It also provides the API for vSphere and manages ESXi. Plus, with vSphere 6.5, users can choose between Windows Server and virtual appliance (vCSA). vCenter Server also allows for Host Profiles, enabling users to define rules for specific ESXi hosts.

  • VMware vSphere Client: The vSphere Client is an HTML5-based interface that gives users access to remotely connect to vCenter.

  • VMware vSphere Distributed Switch: The distributed switch lets a virtual switch connect to multiple hosts at once for optimal network management.

  • VMware Virtual SMP: With virtual SMPs, individual virtual machines can use more than one physical processor simultaneously.

  • vMotion and Storage vMotion: Both of these permit live migration while virtual machines are running, but Storage vMotion allows users to migrate virtual disks or configuration files.

  • vSphere High Availability: This function uses other available servers to restart virtual machines that have failed.

  • VMware vSphere Software Development Kits: Software development kits provide users with interfaces that give them access to certain parts of vSphere.  

  • VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) and Storage DRS: These two utilities help create balance within vSphere. The regular DRS balances computing capacity while Storage DRS works on storage capacity and I/O across datastore collections.

  • Fault Tolerance: Fault tolerance creates copies of a selected workload on different servers to ensure that workload is continuously available.

Now that you know the components of vSphere, the next step is learning how to work within the system itself. Luckily, there are plenty of options.

How to Learn vSphere

VMware vSphere training is available for any discipline or knowledge base that you might need. Now that you have a basic understanding of the features you need to learn, it’s time to dive into the latest version of vSphere 6.7, which was released in April 2018.

To learn about this latest iteration, including a full breakdown of the platform, how to install it and troubleshooting tactics, check out our latest courses:

Tackle vSphere With Classes From New Horizon

As the world’s largest independent IT training company, New Horizons can help you learn just about every virtualization skill you need.

Whether you’re an old pro looking to learn the latest version of vSphere, or you're helping your company migrate to virtual machines to improve server speed and costs, New Horizons can help you succeed.

Tackle server virtualization today with New Horizons’ vSphere courses.

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