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What is VMware vSphere


This is a general question that comes to mind to all of us. How to define vSphere or what is vSphere. If you go to VMware download portal to download vSphere. There. is no such option called as download vSphere. Instead we have to download individual components of it.

So let’s understand what it means without any further delay.

  • Previously known as Virtual Infrastructure (VI).
  • In this post vSphere 5.x is used as an example to relate and define vSphere and its components. Though definition will remain same, in future releases, features may vary.
  • It is a product suite or brand name that includes multiple products which enables organizations to implement server virtualization.
Image: Vmware
  • vSphere has two important layers as below.
    • Virtualization layer which is provided by ESXi Server (Hypervisor)
    • Centralised management layer which is provided by vCenter Server
  • We can simply install ESXi without vCenter Server but that will not be considered as vSphere. The term ‘vSphere’ represents product suit and not just instance of it.
  • VMware vSphere, is a necessary component of the vCloud Suite for implementing cloud computing.
  • vSphere includes below services as part of product suite
    • VMware ESXi –  Virtualization Layer.
    • VMware vCenter Server – Centralized management layer for virtual infrastructure..
    • VMware vSphere Client – allows users to remotely connect to ESXi or vCenter Server.
    • VMware vSphere Web Client – allows users to remotely connect to vCenter Server from a variety of Web browsers.
    • VMware vSphere SDK – provides interfaces for accessing vSphere components.
    • VMFS – provides a high performance cluster file system.
    • vSphere Virtual SMP – allows a single virtual machine to use multiple virtual CPUs.
    • vSphere vMotion – allows live migration for powered-on virtual machines.
    • vSphere Storage vMotion –  allows virtual machine files to be moved to a new data store while a VM is Powered on.
    • vSphere High Availability (HA) – allows virtual machines to be restarted on available servers in the event of any failure.
    • vSphere DRS – Dynamic workload management for compute resources across hosts.
    • vSphere Storage DRS – Dynamic storage capacity management.
    • vSphere Fault Tolerance – provides continuous availability.
    • vSphere Distributed Switch –  allows VMs to maintain network configurations as the VMs migrate across multiple hosts.
    • Host Profiles – provides a way to create user-defined configuration policies.

For more details about VMWare vSphere please refer VMware portal.


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