What's New in vFabric 5?

vFabric 5: VMware’s Cloud Application Platform

Jessica Thornsby

“Developers can spend more time building new applications and less time managing existing ones.”

Version 5 of the VMware vFabric Cloud Application
, was released last month with several key updates: a
new Elastic Memory for Java capability, Spring Insight Operations,
and a new licensing option. In this interview, we speak to Director
of Product Marketing at VMware, David McJannet, on what’s new and
noteworthy, in version 5 of vFabric.

JAXenter: VMware vFabric 5 adds a new Elastic
Memory for Java capability to tc Server. What are the key benefits
of this addition?

David McJannet: The Elastic Memory for Java
feature is an example of optimizing the vFabric platform for
vSphere. By using a memory ballooning technology inside the JVM
that helps coordinate JVM heap management, EM4J can communicate
with the underlying virtual machine’s memory management to allow
memory to be shared and move to where it is needed most.

The benefit is a much smaller memory footprint of your tc Server
when running on vSphere. This means lower resource utilization,
allowing greater consolidation ratios for your infrastructure.

JAXenter: What is ‘Spring Insight Operations,’
which is introduced in this release?

David: Many Spring developers are already
familiar with the Spring Insight technology and have been able to
enjoy in tc Server Developer Edition – available at
www.springsource.org/insight. Spring Insight provides
code level tracing – tracking the time a transaction spends in each
method and JDBC (database) call – transparently for Spring
Applications. No code modifications or setup is required.

Spring Insight Operations, leverages the same code-level tracing
technology but pulls together information from multiple application
servers into a single console with roll-up views, drill downs, and
historical comparisons. This solution has been designed to minimize
monitoring overhead, hence is suitable for both test and production

The result is unparalleled visibility into Spring application
performance that allows performance concerns to be quickly
identified and addressed. Developers can spend more time building
new applications and less time managing existing ones.

JAXenter: How has the packaging and licensing
model changed, in this release?

David: Today’s applications are increasingly
deployed to pools of virtual infrastructure – not physical machines
– and therefore the legacy approach to licensing application
infrastructure based on physical CPUs is decreasingly relevant. An
application could be running on a server with 4 CPUs at 9 a.m. but
at noon when everyone logs on during their lunch hour,
virtualization allows it to be moved to a server with 16 CPUs. The
traditional CPU-based licensing approach is simply not a good match
for this new reality.

With vFabric 5 we have introduced VM-based licensing: the
virtual machine becomes the key measure, not the physical CPU.
Users simply license the number of virtual machines that will run
vFabric components – in essence they license a pool of vFabric VMs
that can be deployed as needed. Additionally, the licensing is
based on AVERAGE usage rather than peak, which allows for usage
spikes without requiring users to license based on the high water
mark of their application workload. For example, if a user licenses
10 vFabric VMs, they can burst to use significantly more than that
as long as over a 12 month period, the average usage is 10 or

This model is much more aligned to the realities of today’s
deployment environments. For more information visit the VMware site.

JAXenter: In your opinion, what are the other
major new features for vFabric 5?

David: In addition to the new VM-based
licensing approach, the core focus of vFabric 5 is on optimizations
for vSphere and continued integration with the Spring framework.
vFabric 5 continues our engineering focus on making vFabric the
best runtime platform for Spring applications.

However also of note are two new products introduced in vFabric
5 Advanced Edition:

  • vFabric RabbitMQ, a commercial version of the
    widely used RabbitMQ messaging technology
  • vFabric SQLFire, an in-memory data management technology that
    leverages the time-tested vFabric GemFire underpinnings providing
    data at memory speed and horizontal scale while adding familiar and
    standard SQL and JDBC interfaces to the service. For users looking
    to overcome some of the limitations of traditional databases,
    SQLFire is extremely compelling.
  • vFabric SQLFire is currently in public Beta and we encourage
    developers to download and trial this technology.

JAXenter: What are the next steps for

David: We will continue to focus on
enhancements that ensure that that the vFabric Application Services
are optimized for applications built using the Spring Framework and
optimized for vSphere.

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