On June 8th, TheServerSide got a chance to speak with David McJannet about the version 5 release of vFabric. Here is the transcript of that conversation.
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VMWare Releases vFabric 5
Cameron McKenzie: I haven’t heard from you guys in a while. What’s the big news?
David McJannet: You haven't heard from us because we've been hard at work for the past several months. On June 14th we're announcing vFabric 5, which is really the accumulation off all of that work and effort.
Quickly, for the uninitiated, what exactly is vFabric?
McJannet: To describe it quickly, VFabric is our application platform packaged and engineered for customers running on virtual infrastructure.
And what's so interesting about this release?
McJannet: Well, with the vFabric 5 platform, we are announcing that for the first time we're making it available on a per VM basis. We believe that the traditional approach of CPU licensing is becoming decreasingly relevant as people are deploying apps on pools of virtual infrastructure. So, we believe that licensing based on a per-virtual-machine basis is really the way that customers need when procuring application infrastructure.
Who else is doing per-virtual machine licensing in the industry right now?
McJannet: There is really nobody else that we see that is licensing on a per VM basis.
Is there a reason why nobody else is doing it?
McJannet: One of the reasons we think nobody else is doing it is because it actually takes a significant amount of engineering and effort to make it happen. Which again, is one of the reasons why our teams have been so hard at work for such a long time.
What's driving this change in how vFabric is being licensed?
What we're seeing is that customers aren't deploying applications on physical servers anymore. They're deploying them on pools of virtual infrastructure. Virtualization provides customers the ability to dynamically move applications and application-infrastructure around so that at nine in the morning an application could be running on two CPUs while at noon it could be running on twelve. Customers are making the most of these virtualization capabilities, and that's why we really believe that the per-VM model is a more appropriate way to license, given the dynamic nature of the virtual infrastructure.
What other innovations do we have in store?
McJannet: The second really innovative aspect of vFabric 5 is the fact that beyond being licensed on a per-VM basis, we also believe in licensing on an average usage basis. We think averaging use is more appropriate than requiring a customer to license vFabric based on the high watermark of their application’s needs. For example, if I'm building a retail application and in November I get a huge spike in traffic needing 100 for a couple of days, while the rest of the time I only use 10 VMs, I shouldn’t have to license at the peak usage mark.
Traditional approaches to licensing would require you to license based on the high watermark. We believe that a more appropriate way to license is based on the average usage. So with vFabric 5 you can deploy ten VMs of application infrastructure if you're licensed for 10. As long as in aggregate over the course of a year you're still under 10, we will accommodate usage spikes. We think this is extremely innovative and very well aligned to the kinds of challenges people have in terms of building and running modern applications.
We are introducing significant simplicity with respect to how people are running applications today. We know the kinds of applications people are building tend to be different from the kind of apps that were being built several years ago. So we think a different approach to licensing is required.
So this is going to be cheaper for the end user, you think?
McJannet: It really depends on the architecture of the application and the profile of the application. We tend to focus less on the pure cost of it and more on the flexibility of it. And cost really depends on the specifics of the apps that are being deployed.
What about performance and features? Are there any new features or optimizations available in vFabric 5?
McJannet: In our runtime app server we're introducing a capability called elastic memory for Java, allowing customers to better use memory for Java applications and Java processes running on vSphere. Java generally requires you to over commit memory, ending up with blocks of memory that don’t get used. We are now providing memory management capabilities within vSphere to allow you to reuse some of that memory so that you can ultimately get more app servers on a single host
Another highlight of vFabric 5 is the fact that this release includes all of the core application services customers require. This means that vFabric 5 will give you the ability to deploy whatever you want inside of the virtual machine, whether that's a vFabric runtime, a Java runtime or even the messaging technologies VMWare makes available.
RabbitMQ is another one of the new capabilities within vFabric. For the first time we're making a commercial version of VFabric RabbitMQ available.
Whether it's your monitoring technologies, your Web server or your in-memory data technologies, all the components we believe you need to run modern applications on virtual infrastructure are available in vFabric 5. So you can deploy whatever you want inside vFabric in order to build and run your application.
Do we end up seeing any optimizations in that runtime for Spring-based applications?
McJannet: Yeah, absolutely. That’s the third broad category of optimizations for Spring.
Our approach ensures that the best place to run any of your applications is on vSphere, and secondarily, vSphere is the very best place to run your Spring applications.
Since we have a very significant Spring audience, there are lots of things we've been working on over the last nine-twelve months, some of which have been made available already; things like the ability to incorporate messaging with RabbitMQ into Spring. That's why we've added RabbitMQ in vFabric because with the Spring AMQP project you can easily incorporate messaging with which Rabbit is the leading implementation.
We have the Spring data project and the Spring Gemfire project, which allow you to easily incorporate caching with Gemfire in your Spring applications.
One of the big highlights we're announcing with this product is Spring Insight Operations. So if you're working with Spring Insight in the development environment, and in the STS IDE, we're introducing Spring Insight Operations, which allows you to take that same technology you've been using with Spring Insight in development and actually put it into your production environment. So you can instrument help with your application using that same Spring Insight technology that you're accustomed to using in development.
In so doing, you help to bridge the divide between the developers and the operators that have to monitor the application’s health. There is a whole series of integrations, whether it's on the Spring framework in the incorporation of Spring AMQP, Spring Gemfire, Spring data or whether it's specifically around Spring Insight and Spring Operations, and we really do believe that people building and running Spring applications on vSphere that vFabric is a logical choice.