VMware Inc. is moving further into the storage infrastructure market with the major new enhancements to its vSphere 5 release include several new storage capabilities, Jefferies said in a note to clients.

We have spoken with a number of industry resources and vendors at the VMworld Solutions Exchange. In summary, the major enhancements with the vSphere 5 release are on the storage side and we believe many of the new capabilities are aimed at larger environments / organizations which raises competitive questions, said Aaron Schwartz, an analyst at Jefferies.

The bigger new features within vSphere 5 include Storage Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), profile-driven storage, an auto-deployment framework and an initial move into data leak prevention (DLP).

VMware's Storage DNS feature automates the migration of virtual machines to appropriate storage tiers according to policy or a capacity trigger while its profile-driven storage capabilities allow virtual machines to utilize the correct predefined storage tier based on performance or SLA criteria; these are just two new capabilities within a broad platform upgrade.

Schwartz said there will be a degree of overlap with some features offered by array vendors but these new capabilities are limited to VMware virtual machines and are not aimed at or capable for physical machines or mixed environments.

Storage related vendors including CommVault Systems Inc., Quest Software Inc. and Symantec Corp. will most likely build on top of these capabilities to extend the use of the APIs -- Schwartz does expect a fairly major Simpana 9 R2 release from CommVault in the coming months.

Many of the new features within the vSphere 5 release appear to mainly benefit larger deployments/organizations which leaves the lower end more open for competitors and will expand the opportunity for cross-platform management tools.

It is clear the major focus of the vShpere 5 release is within the storage sub-sector.

However, the VMware storage capabilities are limited to VMware virtual machines (they do not extend to other platforms or physical machines) and Schwartz expects the storage vendors within our coverage to build on top of these new capabilities to further extend their respective storage management reach within a virtual, mixed and cross-platform architecture.

Many of the vSphere capabilities appear aimed at large deployments/organizations. Schwartz is starting to see more management vendors extend support beyond the VMware platform and believes SolarWinds Inc. could announce support for Hyper-V in an upcoming release.

With regards to Symantec, Schwartz is hearing of strong initial uptake of its SEP v12 release while the company continues to move forward aggressively with appliance offerings (several new within backup) and more announcements are expected.

Our takeaway on Sourcefire Inc. is that its VMware partnership should help to extend its visibility and could help with its distribution build. While Quest Software is seeing strong initial traction for its free Foglight network management offering but integration work within the data protection area continues, said Schwartz.