Virtualization Pro Tips Blog

vSphere 4.1: More Virtualization Bang for your SMB Buck

Wow.  I leave for a week’s worth of “unplugged” vacation, and the VMware world changes.

We’ve known that vSphere 4.1 has been coming for some time, but its publicly-available details have been slim at best.  Now released for not quite a week, our industry has had a few days to digest how this ESX update impacts us from both a technology and, more importantly, a pocketbook standpoint.

I’ve long been a fan of VMware’s products, yet until recently not the biggest fan of their pricing.  Particularly at its lower-end price points, VMware’s flagship product prior to this release offered too little for too much.  This update swings the capabilities we’ve come to think of as “must have” well into the court of affordability for small and medium businesses.

I can think of four new virtualization bangs that ease the strain on the SMB buck:

  • #1 of these is obviously the inclusion of VMware vMotion with the VMware vSphere 4.1 Essentials Plus and Standard editions.  If you’re a small or medium business, trying to get by on as small a budget as possible, this inclusion elevates your virtual environment far closer to those of the big boys.  It adds the layer of high availability that you need to protect yourself and your virtual workloads.
  • #2 is VMware’s public announcement that ESXi is the wave of the future.  We’ve heard whispers of this narrative for years now, but without the absolute decision that we get with 4.1.  In comparison to ESX, “i” is for SMBs a smaller package that can be less complex and more embraceable, while still being the fully-featured powerhouse that enterprises require.
  • #3 are the improvements to VMware Data Recovery (VDR).  SMBs and SMB budgets need simple and cost-effective solutions that don’t require them to look elsewhere for additional software.  If this version’s VDR becomes the backup solution we all wish it to be, SMBs will absolutely benefit from its inclusion in Essentials.
  • Finally, #4 is the simple fact that Essentials is less expensive than before.  In vSphere 4.1, Essentials can go as low as $495, a great price point.

Huzzah to VMware for throwing a bone to SMB pocketbooks, while at the same time offering the new technologies that enterprises demand.

(EDIT:  A clarification, in case VMware's product names get you confused:  vMotion is now available in Essentials Plus and vSphere Standard.  If you purchase the least-expensive Essentials kit, you won't get vMotion.)

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