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 Platform, 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 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 environments.

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 less.

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 vFabric?

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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