VMware vSphere 6: Most important annoucements summarized

Improved in vSphere 6: Increased vSphere Maximums

Maybe not that interesting anymore, but the maximums for vSphere have been raised again. vSphere now supports:

  • 64 hosts per cluster;
  • 8000 VMs per cluster;
  • 480 CPUs;
  • 12 TB RAM;
  • 1000 VMs per host.

VMs now support a maximum of 128 vCPUs, 4 TB of RAM, vNUMA aware hot-add ram and USB3.

Improved: Fault Tolerance

With Fault Tolerance you can protect a virtual machine by running a second 100% identical virtual machine on another host. One of the short comings of Fault Tolerance was that it only supports VMs with 1 vCPU. Fault Tolerance in vSphere 6 now finally supports multi-CPU VMs, with up to 4 vCPUs per virtual machine. 10 Gbit network is very much recommended when you plan to use FT on virtual machines with more than 1 vCPU.

FT protected VMs now support VADP enabled backups, including the required snapshot technology. Note that normal snapshots on FT enabled VMs are not supported.

Fault Tolerance protected VMs now always use Fault Tolerance protected storage, secondary storage is required here. It’s now possible to “hot-configure” (enable) FT on a virtual machine.

New: Virtual Machine Component Protection

Virtual Machine Component Protection (VMCP) is a new feature in vSphere 6 and an automated response for All Paths Down (APD) or a Permanent Device Loss (PDL) situation. VMCP protects VMs against storage connectivity failures and misconfigurations.

If a APD or PDL condition occurs, VMs are automatically restarted on a healthy host. This is something which is beneficial for stretched cluster architectures, but is of course useful for any environment using some kind of SAN storage. VMCP is currently only available for storage architectures and not yet supporting  network problems.

New: vCenter Server 6.0 Platform Services Controller

The Platform Service Controller (PSC) groups Single Sign On (SSO), Licensing and a Certificate Authority (CA). The PSC replaces these separate components and combines these functionality in one solution.

The PSC comes as an embedded option, or in a centralized/stand-alone option when two or more SSO integrated solutions are available. With the PSC linked mode is completely integrated in vSphere: Microsoft ADAM is not required anymore. You can now also add a VCSA to a linked mode, you can even mix appliance- and Windows-based vCenter Servers.

New: vCenter Server 6.0 Certificate Lifecycle Management & Clustering Support

You can now use vCenter Server 6 for complete certificate lifecycle management. vCenter 6 can now act as a certificate authority for provisioning certificates to each ESXi hosts. The VMware Endpoint Certificate Service (VECS) can now store all certificates for the different vCenter services. The VMware Certificate Authority can act as a root CA or issuer CA.

Clustering support for vCenter Server 6 will be announced soon. This does only apply to the Windows option and not the appliance option.

Improved: vMotion

Some interesting improvements on vMotion are available:

  • Cross vSwitch vMotion – You can now vMotion from a standard switch to a standard switch, a standard switch to a distributed switch and from a distributed switch to a distribtued switch and vice versa;
  • Cross vCenter vMotion – You can now vMotion cross vCenter Server which will change compute, storage, network and of course the vCenter Server. Also read my article Future of Disaster Recovery with NextGen VMware Site Recovery Manager to cross vCenter vMotion use-case.
  • Long distance vMotion – Up to 100ms RTT, no VVOLs required, use cases: permanent migration, disaster avoidance, multi-side load balancing, follow the sun.
  • vMotion can now cross layer three boundaries, so a stretched layer two network is not required anymore.

New: vCenter Server 6 Content Library

With the new content library simple content management for VM templates, vApps, ISO images and scripts is introduced. With the content library you can store and manage content: you have one central location to manage all content. The content is automatically distributed over different vCenter instances. The maximum size of a content library is 64 TB, you can store a maximum of 256 items and you can have a maximum of 10 simultaneous copies. The synchronization of the content library occurs once every 24 hours.

Improved: vSphere WebClient

vsphere6webclientOf course you already *love* the vSphere WebClient, don’t you? Probably not…but wait, there’s the new WebClient! It’s very much improved: improved login time, faster right click menu, faster performance charts. Also from a usuability perspective things have improved; the recent tasks pain is moved to the bottom and the right click menus are flattened. Also the Virtual Machine Remote Console (VMRC) has improved and looks more or less the same as the VMRC in the Windows vSphere Client.

Improved: Network I/O Control Version 3

With NIOC version 3, you can now guarantee bandwith to satisfy service levels. This can be applied at the vNIC level or at the Distributed Port Group level.

More information on VSAN 6.0 is here.