VMworld EMEA Announcements : vSphere 6.5

Today VMware announced it’s latest version of the vSphere and vCenter platform, version 6.5.  This article talks about some of the latest features VMware added to their virtualisation-platform.

vCenter Server (Appliance) 6.5

VMware is dramatically simplifying the experience using the vSphere-platform which is primarily based on the announcement of vCenter Server Applicance 6.5 and it’s new capabilities which are exclusive to the vCenter Server Appliance.

VCSA 6.5 only features

The VCSA-only features which are new to 6.5 are:

  • Native High Availability
    Active/Passive HA solution with a witness for resolving split-brain situations. The setup requires 2 separate networks (Private vs. Public). The private network is used for HA (routed)-traffic between the both VSCA which consists of (sync) DB and (async) file-replication. This gives us a easy way to set-up a high available vCenter server.
  • (Integrated) VMware Update Manager
    VMware Update Manager is now finally integral part of VCSA, so no more managing a seperate Windows VM for using VMware Update Manager.
  • Improved Appliance Management
    Increased insight into how the appliance is doing CPU-, Memory-, Network- and databasewise. This reduces having to rely on the CLI for simple monitoring task on the VCSA and allows do this via the UI (VAMI). A thingy called vMon enhances the watchdog functionality which is also used for determing which host is active and which is passive when using VCSA in a HA-setup.
  • Native Backup & Restore
    Native file-based backup & restore capabilities built-in to the VCSA, which allows backing up via HTTP(s)/FTP(s)/SCP protocols and restoring the state of a VCSA to a (fresh) appliance.  All this happens from within the VAMI (Virtual Appliance Management Interface). It evens allows for restoring the configuration when installing the VCSA via ISO.

The new VCSA-installer gives us an additional set of options for setting up VCSA. Besides Installing and upgrading a VCSA, it now also adds the options to migrate to VCSA from a current embedded/external windows-based vCenter Server (5.5 or 6) setup. The VCSA assumes the old personality (i.e. UUID, IP, Name and certificates) of the windows-based setup and the databases are migrated to Postgres. Serveral options are included for which further data (Configuration, Events and Tasks and/or performance metrics) is migrated. Futhermore is the installer not only supported on Windows, but also on Linux and Mac and runs on top of Photon OS.

vSphere Client (HTML 5 Web Client)

VMware is using a new standard framework for UI/UX (Clarity UI) which it’s converting all it’s products to. The first product being published which is based on this new framework is the new vSphere HTML 5 based client which is now integrated into vSphere 6.5. The new HTML5-based web client started out as a fling VMware has developed earlier in their labs. So no more browser plugins needed and a great user experience awaits. VMware still really appreciates your feedback, so if you care to share some feedback with VMware, please hit the nice little smiley-face in the upper-right corner to make this product even better!

vSphere 6.5 Client

Enhanced Lifecycle Management

VMware also added some little nifty enhancements to their products which make the life of us Virt-Admins a little easier. Amongst others (a lot of enhancements were announced) these are the features that stood out to me:

  • Default cluster remediation options (Update Manager)
    Possible to now save cluster remediation options as a default, so you don’t have to set them again and again when doing a rolling cluster upgrade. But now you can just fire away with the settings you used previously.
    Default Cluster Remediation Options
  • Filtering settings in Host profiles
    VMware added a search box which makes it very easy to look for certain settings within your host profile. This saves you a a lot of time clicking through the tree to find the right setting for setting the location where your VMware-tools depot is located, which you always forget (like me) where it was exactly located.Host Profiles Search Box
  • Bulk modification of host profile customizations
    For management at scale purposes you’re now able to bulk export alle the host profile customizations as a CSV, edit them and reimport them and voila you’ve got your host profile customization set-up in bulk!
    Bulk modification of host profile customizations
  • Detailed compliance reporting and proposed changes for host profiles
    It will now become very easy to see what settings will be changed on a certain host when remediating those hosts. No more guessing or searching for wat settings will get changed, but vSphere will tell you up front when you are scanning or remediating the hosts.Remedating host with host profile

Hopes this gives you an idea of what kind of enhancements VMware has made in their vCenter product. If any more nifty features pop-up during VMworld or any sessions we attend we’ll keep you updated ofcourse!

Check the following link for VMware official blogs about the newly released solutions:  http://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/vmw-newsfeed.VMware-Advances-Cross-Cloud-Architecture-with-New-Releases-of-vSphere,-Virtual-SAN-and-vRealize-Solutions-to-Drive-IT-and-Developer-Productivity.2104600.html

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My main focus is infrastructure (Storage, Networking and Computing), but I'm also very interested in designing and implementing VDI and Server Based Computing-environments.
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