TechTarget has released a post talking about details of the upcoming VMware vSphere 5.1 release. In short, a number of features are being introduces to keep it ahead of Microsoft’s Hyper-V.

For me, the biggest item is the “Content-Based Read Cache”, which is in-memory caching of the most frequently accessed disk blocks from virtual machines located on that host. It should dramatically reduce the amount of overhead from some systems on the shared storage.

It looks like Microsoft is going to certify placing Active Directory controllers in a VMware environment, which we’ve been doing for years (when properly configured and managed, of course).

The post reports that multi-CPU fault tolerance will be experimental, but I hope they are wrong. At a minimum, I hope for two vCPU FT, because that will cover a number of the SQL Servers that I manage. Imagine the redundancy and high availability brought to you by a combination of VMware SMP FT and Microsoft SQL Server AlwaysOn!

They also report that  users can now perform a live migration of a machine from one host to another without common shared storage – a ‘shared nothing’ migration. This will match a feature to be found in MS Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, whenever it ships.

Does this mean a VM could also migrate between VMware clusters now (albeit with the same CPU family or EVC settings)? Only time will tell.

The post also reports that VMware Data Recovery could be replaced with a mini version of EMC’s Avamar software. I say bring it on – to me, VMware DR was a good demonstration of the VMware storage API and nothing more.

We’ll see what is announced at VMworld, which is coming up soon!