Whats new in vCloud 5.1

Posted by on August 27, 2012 in VMware | 1 comment

The announcement of vCloud 5.1 today marks a big step forward for VMware with their Cloud products. While the version may have been rev’d to 5.1 to match the other datacenter products, in my eyes vCloud is really a 2.0 product advancing from the previous 1.5 version. The product is still pretty young and is advancing along nicely.

The new features are broken up into the major sections listed below. VMware has clearly focused on the Software Defined model or being able to configure what was once physical infrastructure is now virtual and can be controlled as part of the VMware stack.

Before we get into the nuts and bolts that were added to vCloud, VMware gave us a little peek into what they have been up to and are planning to do with the recent DynamicOps purchase. In the keynote demo we saw a simple cloud portal that allowed a much sleeker looking design with a few options that translated to a much more complex process happening under the covers.

Hardware and OS Support
To be expect vCloud 5.1 was built to take full advantage of the new features of vSphere 5.1 that was also announced today. Support for virtual hardware version 9 and all the features it provides,  like support for 64 virtual CPUs and 1TB of memory for virtual machines. Another feature of virtual hardware version 9 is support for Intel VT-x/EPT and AMD-V/RVI technologies.

Software-Defined Storage
The ability to use Storage profiles are now available in vCloud Director 5.1. This allows an admin to offer multiple
tiers of storage within a single virtual datacenter (vDC). This now allows me to create multiple storage tiers, lets say gold, silver and bronze for example. These storage profiles would represent specific capabilities of the underlying storage. The storage tiers or profiles can then all or some be presented to a single vDC that can consume all or a portion of them. You can even define the default storage tier to be used when a vApp provisions a new vApp from the catalog, you also have the option to override the default storage choice if needed.

The one question that I have not been able to test yet is if a single VM can consume multiple storage tiers.

Another new part of vSphere to be supported in vCloud 5.1 is the ability to use Storage DRS (SDRS). This enables the automatic relocation of workloads to storage matching the requirements specified by the storage profile.

Software-Defined Networking

As part of the vCloud suite, VMware has renamed vShield edge to vCloud Networking and Security (VCNS). Not sure if I care for the new name. Was really pretty happy with the old name and don’t need to remember another new name. Anyways below are some summaries from the greater announcement.

Prior releases of vCloud Director provided a model of networking for an organization in which the networking was separated from the organization and required a VMware vCloud Networking and Security (VCNS) Gateway (previously known as the VMware® vShield Edge Gateway) for each network. In vCloud Director 5.1, this organization network model has been replaced with an Organization vDC (Org vDC) network model. Org vDC networks tie the network resources to the organization. This greatly simplifies the deployment and configuration of the network, enabling the network to be deployed as part of the organization. Networks continue to have the ability to connect multiple organizations through the use of a shared Org vDC network.

Two different VCNS Gateway deployment models are now offered: “compact” and “full.” The full version can
achieve a higher throughput than the compact version and is on par with similar mid- to high-range physical devices in the marketplace today. Providing this increased performance consumes additional resources and might not be required in all environments. Users are free to choose the model appropriate to their environment and even to upgrade from the compact to the full model if higher performance becomes required. Now the VCNS Gateway can function as a DNS relay as well. This feature enables a vApp author to point all the virtual machines within a vApp to the VCNS Gateway for DNS resolution. The VCNS Gateway sends responses to DNS queries back to the virtual machines after acquiring the information from the DNS servers of the external network. Because this provides a layer of abstraction between the external network and the virtual machines within a vApp, the virtual machines are unaffected by changes to the external network that impact DNS resolution.

Elastic Virtual Datacenter

In vCloud Director 1.5, the use of Elastic Virtual Datacenter (Elastic vDC) was only available for a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) resource allocation model. Elastic vDCs enabled a Provider vDC to utilize more than one single resource pool or cluster. Now with vCloud Director 5.1 Elastic vDC can applied to the allocation pool resource model.

vCloud Networking and Security Gateway Services

A fully functional infrastructure depends on a variety of network services. Out of the box, vCloud Director
provides a set of commonly used network services for use with an IaaS implementation. The following services
are provided through the use of the VCNS Gateway:


  • Load Balancer – The VCNS Gateway now offers a robust load balancer integrated with the vCloud Director user interface. This load balancer provides a virtual server that performs load balancing to a pool of servers supplying a specific service.


  • VPN – As previously mentioned, enhancements to the VCNS Gateway enable improved functionality in other features.For example, because the VCNS Gateway now supports multiple external network interfaces, the VPN servicenow enables a public IP to be defined for each interface. For another example, now that the VCNS Gatewaysupports multiple subnets, the VPN service supports the use of multiple subnets for participation in the VPNtunnel. The VPN service itself was enhanced to enable the specification of multiple remote peer networks as wellas the addition of AES-256 encryption support.


  • NAT – The network address translation (NAT) service has been changed to enable the specification of both Source NAT(SNAT) and Destination NAT (DNAT) rules. These rules can be selectively applied to a given VCNS Gatewayinterface. Rules now support the ICMP protocol and can be configured using an individual IP, a range of IPs or aCIDR block.


  • DHCP – Similar to other networking services, the DHCP service provided now enables multiple IP address ranges to beassigned. It also enables the user to specify the internal Org vDC network to be used for the DHCP range.
  • Firewall – Firewall rules now can be applied to a specific VCNS Gateway interface. The rules also enable the use of anindividual IP, a range of IPs or a CIDR block when creating the IPs.



About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

1 Comment

  1. great features!

    what about the browser plugin? is google Chrome/safari supported? Any news on that front?


  1. VMworld 2012 San Francisco Day 1 wrap up summary - Virtualization Tips - [...] I wrote a summary of whats new in vCloud 5.1 here. [...]

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