Today, VMware is excited to introduce vSphere Scale-Out, a new addition to the vSphere product line.  vSphere Scale-Out is a solution that packages all the core vSphere features required for Big Data and High Performance Computing (HPC) workloads at an attractive price point.

vSphere Scale-Out will be licensed specially for Big Data and HPC workloads and sold in packs of 8 CPUs.  Key features included in the vSphere Scale-Out edition include ESXi Hypervisor, vMotion, Storage vMotion, Host Profiles, Auto Deploy, Distributed Switch and more.

By virtualizing Big Data and HPC workloads with vSphere Scale-Out, customers can benefit from:

Increased Flexibility and Agility

The line of business wants results fast.  However, physical environments don’t facilitate the desired flexibility or agility due to the slow nature of infrastructure procurement and setup, as well as the complexity of Day-2 operations.  It could take months to obtain the required servers, install and configure them, and setup the Big Data or HPC environments. And this is just the initial lab deployment.  When it comes time to start a new experiment or increase the environment size, the entire process needs to be repeated.

Contrast the physical environment with one that is virtualized.  IT can rapidly provision infrastructure for their line of business with the centralized management and configuration capabilities available with vSphere Scale-Out.  The line of business can get infrastructure on-demand via virtual machines from their IT department.  This is especially important as the IT department is serving an increasingly diverse set of internal customers who have differing software infrastructure requirements. Virtual environments provide the line of business both the flexibility and agility they need to get results faster.

Increased Operational Efficiency

vSphere Scale-Out enables business efficiency while reducing operational expenses for Big Data and HPC workloads. vSphere Scale-Out offers centralized configuration and management capabilities to minimize setup and configuration times.  vSphere Scale-Out also simplifies Day-2 operations. Ongoing provisioning and maintenance of infrastructure can be extremely time consuming.  Manually configuring a few servers may seem bearable, but doing so for hundreds or even thousands of servers is an overwhelming burden. With vSphere Host Profiles and Auto Deploy, administrators can create a host configuration file once and then use it for setup of multiple vSphere hosts, eliminating the need for specialized scripts or manual configuration. vSphere Distributed Switch offers similar centralized administration capabilities but for virtual networking environments.  With vSphere Distributed Switch, setting up hundreds of virtual switches can be done in the same amount of time as just a few virtual switches. All of these capabilities enable administrators to dramatically simplify the ongoing support for Big Data and HPC clusters.

Another area where operational efficiencies can be achieved is with workload mobility.  There are times when maintenance must be performed on physical servers.  In a physical environment, scheduled downtime would have to occur resulting in lost productivity.  In a virtual environment, planned downtime can be eliminated.  vSphere vMotion offers live migration capabilities that enable workloads to be moved from one host to another with zero downtime.  Users don’t even realize a migration of the workload is occurring.  This results in elimination of downtime and greater operational efficiencies.


Reduced Complexity for Big Data and HPC Environments

Another challenge of Big Data and HPC workloads is the complexity involved with setting up the environment itself.

vSphere Scale-Out offers a less complex approach for Big Data and HPC environments.  First, it utilizes the same vSphere tools that IT admins are already familiar with so there is no steep learning curve to overcome.  Furthermore, specific tasks on physical servers, such as workload migration, becomes extremely simple through live migration capabilities with vSphere Scale-Out.  The centralized server and network management capabilities in vSphere also dramatically reduce complexity, especially when scaling out a cluster.  Finally, vSphere is recognized as an extensively deployed virtualization platform across verticals and geographies. vSphere has a broad ecosystem of OEM partners, who offer a wide choice of server and systems hardware. VMware’s ISV partners bring value-added services such as backup, security analysis, firewall, and Day-2 operations management.  VMware also collaborates with technology partners to produce joint certification and reference architectures for Big Data workloads.

Increased Data Governance and Control of Sensitive Customer Information

vSphere Scale-Out provides security isolation that prevents VMs from seeing other VM’s data in the same cluster. Each VM is restricted to access only the virtual disk files that have been designated for it and no other. The result is that users from different groups are able to run jobs on the same cluster without fear that their data will be compromised.  In addition to VM security isolation, the ESXi hypervisor gives guests low privileges by default. It is designed not to trust any privileged operations that the guest tries to perform. This means that compromised VMs, even with root access, are extremely unlikely to do damage to other VMs in the cluster.  This results in increased VM and host security for your customers and their data.

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