VMware to change the vSphere architecture significantly

With the today’s release of vSphere 4.1 VMware also announced a remarkable number of upcoming changes in the platform architecture. Some of them are well-known since a lot of time while others are surprisingly new.

The next version of vSphere will not have:

  • the Console Operating System (COS)
    VMware published a warning recommending its customers to transition to the ESXi architecture.
  • the Converter plug-in for vCenter
    VMware recommends customers to look for the stand-along Converter product
  • the Guided Consolidation module for vCenter
    VMware recommends customers to look for the Virtualization Assessment, the P2V Migration Jumpstart or the P2V Accelerator services.
    The company doesn’t mention the new CapacityIQ product, but it’s clear that it will be the solution of choice for capacity planning and management.

  • the Update Manager (VUM) module for vCenter
    VUM will continue to exist inside vSphere but only to centrally update the VMware Tools and the ESX hosts. Scanning and remediation of patches for guest operating systems will not be available anymore.
    This may mean that either VMware terminated its OEM agreement with Shavlik, or that the company is preparing to release a stand alone product.
  • the Consolidated Backup (VCB)
    VMware already provides the vStorage API for ISVs that want to offer out-of-band disaster recovery capabilities on top of vSphere.
  • the VMI para-virtualization interface
    VMware recommends to switch the Linux guest operating systems that are using a VMI-enabled kernel back the default kernel.
  • the Web Access for ESX
    VMware simply recommends to use the vSphere Client in place of the web management console.
  • Linux guest operating systems customization for Ubuntu and Debian
    While VMware will continue to offer guest OS customization for Red Hat RHEL and Novell SLES distributions, Ubuntu and Debian Linux will not be supported anymore.

Another interesting change is that VMware just renamed the free version of ESXi in vSphere Hypervisor.
The company explains the change:

While “Free ESXi” (I should say VMware vSphere Hypervisor) has been an extremely popular way for companies to get started with virtualization,its name has become source of confusion and misinterpretations of actual capabilities. In an effort to improve the situation, we decided to introduce the new name, VMware vSphere Hypervisor, which we believe better describes the nature of the product and how it relates to the other vSphere editions.