VMware kicks off new vSphere beta test

New code's already run at VMworld Europe, so this looks to be the icing on the cake

VMware is looking for people to indulge in some beta testing for a new version of vSphere.

An expression of interest page has appeared and VMware's community of anointed “vExperts” has also been asked to sign up.

Just what's in the beta isn't being revealed, but VMware's asking testers to move fast. Those engaged for the test need hardware handy for a swift install and will be asked for feedback inside a month. Testers can also expect lots of attention from VMware, which wants to know how its newest creation is working.

VMware once promised major vSphere releases every other year, but vSphere 6.0 changed that cycle. The company's since admitted that vSphere is no longer its long-term priority, as it is not considered a source of long-term growth. The company has also said that vSphere will developed for vCloud Air, as its cloud as big and stressed vSphere implementation as any other.

Just what those under-the-hood features are is anyone's guess, as VMware keeps that sort of thing very close to its chest. It's also decided not to make an attempt at making vCloud Air a broad competitor to the likes of Azure and Amazon Web Services, which will mean fewer new features but not necessarily rule out the cloud as a source of ongoing enhancements to vSphere.

At a guess, El Reg's virtualisation desk thinks this is a beta for a minor upgrade rather than a full new vSphere version. More hybrid cloud features are to be expected, as are more hooks for hyper-converged systems. Scale remains something VMware admires, so we expect bigger virtual machines and hosts with greater capacity to take into account today's ever-more-powerful servers.

We also know that the next version of vSphere was already advanced enough to run the infrastructure at October's VMworld Europe. And we know that Microsoft is going hard with Azure Stack.

At a guess, we're therefore looking at a Q2 announcement, to keep VMware front and centre in the hybrid cloud conversation before Microsoft starts making more noise, while also leaving somehting shinier and more interesting to reveal at VMworld USA in late August. ®

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