Yesterday VMware released vSphere .Next calling it 6.7 which on the surface appears to be a minor update to the v6 platform. However upon closer inspection you may notice that there is more here than a typical minor release would have! For the official blog post from VMware look here.
VCSA – lighter, faster, more versatile
Let’s start with the VCSA. There have been a few tweaks which make deployment, management, and performance much better on the newer platform. (If you are still using the Windows vCenter this would be a good time to migrate!) All metrics are compared to the 6.5 VCSA:
- 2x faster operations per second
- 3x reduction in memory usage
- 3x faster DRS-related operations
Along with these performance enhancements, new APIs have been added that improve deployment of single or multiple VCSAs based on a template. A much needed addition for those that may be deploying many VCSA appliances! And for those of you who have multiple SSO domains on multiple embedded PSCs? Now via enhanced link mode you can link those VCSAs without the need of an external PSC which means no need to re-architect your environment in the case you need to add on.
Patching made easier
Everyone loves patching time, maintenance mode, host reboots, Murphy’s Law can strike down a host that has been running for months when all the sudden power is removed and the silicon has a minute to breathe…
In steps vSphere 6.7 Single Reboot and Quick Boot. Single Reboot is a change to the remediation process where a host only needs to reboot once during a major version upgrade (upgrades and patches are different!). This is a much needed change for anyone who has had to sit through a RAID controller initialization screen. Hardware reboots take 80%+ of the time that a host is down for remediation. Removing one of those reboots will effectively cut that time in half. Quick Boot is a new minor patching function that only restarts ESXi and does not force a hardware reboot to the host. Cutting minor patch remediation time by at least 80%! This is great news for anyone running a large host farm, as the time to get a host back into operational status allows for more patching to be done in less time! Check out the Deep Dive blog post by Eric Grey for more info.
HTML 5 brings NSX, VSAN, and VUM to the party
Tired of switching between the Flash client and the HTML5 client to perform different operations? Those of you who have deployed VSAN or NSX truly know this pain. Well more great news! In this release all of those functions are now accessible via the HTML5 client! Keeping you in one place to manage your infrastructure rather than having tabs possibly in multiple browsers open at once.
Built with Security as a priority
In today’s world of being one risky click away from utter doom, vSphere 6.7 comes to the table with security at the forefront. Adding support for Trusted Plantform Module (TPM) 2.0 and introducing Virtual TPM 2.0 they have allowed for the capability to ensure not only the integrity of your hypervisor, but your guest OS’s as well. Preventing unwanted code from loading at boot in both places now. Enhanced VM Encryption introduced in 6.5 gets an easy button to protect VM data at rest or in motion. (Be aware this does NOT play well with Thin Provisioned disk!). Keeping the encryption train rolling VMware has now added encrypted cross-vCenter vMotion to protect that vMotion data that is likely going on across a WAN.
Hybrid Cloud your thing?
With VMware on AWS and the continued efforts to seamlessly connect vSphere on-prem to other cloud providers, VMware introduces vCenter Server Hybrid Linked Mode to allow for one place to manage your on-prem and cloud infrastructures even if they are running different versions. This means that you don’t have to keep up with the breakneck pace of cloud patching for your on-prem infrastructure and you can still maintain the hybrid link.
If you have multiple clouds, then Cross-Cloud Cold and Hot Migration might be for you. Enabling seamless transition of VMs from on-prem/VMC/other cloud to any of these. Allowing your workloads to truly move without borders.
For those true hybrid cloud admins you probably have one thing left to say, “Well what about EVC mode!”. And to that I will say you are in luck! Per-VM EVC mode is now a thing! This enables EVC to become an attribute of the VM rather than the specific processor generation it happened to boot on in the cluster. This setting overrides any cluster-based EVC mode. Unfortunately it still suffers from the same drawback of cluster-based EVC mode. It only works between similar chip manufacturers and not across manufacturers. Maybe someday they can figure this out!
Just the tip of the iceberg
Not seeing something here that trips your trigger? These are just the initial features being touted by VMware at this point. I would expect to see a lot more features come to light soon. Look to these Deep Dive blog posts for more information in depth!! I didn’t even get a chance to talk about vROPS, it got just as much of an overhaul as vSphere did!