When deciding between vSphere version 4 and vSphere version 5 there are many things that you need to think about. The first question that should come to mind is which version has the best benefits for your network. VMware has really improved in their version 5 edition. It has many benefits that version 4 didn’t have such as being able to vMotion machines when they have snapshots. Version 5 allows you to migrate your virtual machines between hosts regardless of whether or not they have snapshots, whereas version 4 only let you migrate machines without snapshots. When using High Availability (HA) and Disaster Recover System (DRS) in VMware, this can be very beneficial.
vSphere version 5 also comes with what is called Auto Deploy. Auto Deploy makes deploying hosts easier. This feature is mostly used for companies that are deploying 50 or more hosts. In version 4 you had to use host profiles to help with deploying hosts, but with version 5 you can now use an image. From the VMware documentation on www.vmware.com Website you will find that when a host boots for the first time, information about the host is stored in VMware. The information that is stored is “image state, configuration state, dynamic state, virtual machine state, and user input.” (If you go to the VMware Website and click ‘support and documentation,’ you will be able to find detailed information about each item that is stored.)
Version 4 used hardware version 7 for creating virtual machines. The hardware version for virtual machines is explained in detail in the vSphere Basic System Administration vCenter Server 4.0. In the document it says, “The hardware version of a virtual machine indicates the lower-level virtual hardware features supported by the virtual machine, such as BIOS, number of virtual slots, maximum number of CPUs, maximum memory configuration, and other characteristics typical to hardware.” With version 7 you can create new hardware on a virtual machine such as a new hard drive or an NIC. You can also edit your current settings and possibly increase the memory or CPUs. In version 8 you can edit and create just like in version 7. The main difference in the versions is the maximum configurations have increased in version 8. For instance, you can now use 32 virtual processors and 1TB of memory in your virtual machines where as in version 7 you were limited to 8 virtual processors and 255GB of memory per virtual machine. To learn more about the configuration maximums, you can reference the Configuration Maximum pdfs that VMware provides on their Website.
There are many other features that are now available in vSphere version 5 that can be very beneficial for any company. VMware itself is beneficial to any company looking to save money. VMware helps conserve space in server rooms by eliminating the need for physical servers, and saves money on the power needed for those physical servers. Depending on how many physical servers you have, you could use as little as two servers for your entire VMware environment. You can also manage all your virtual servers in your VMware environment through vSphere client. vSphere client gives you the ability to restart, power down, console into servers, and many other options to manage your servers. You just can’t go wrong when it comes to using VMware in your environment.