Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Long Wait is Over!

The start of February also mark the great launch today by VMware.  Another milestone achieve with more to look forward to which will change the way things will run in an infrastructure.

Today has been the long awaiting launch of vSphere 6.0 (which many thought was during vSphere 5.5 but finally it made it), there are also some changes to some add-on products changes as well as bundle update.

The General Availability (GA) for vSphere will be in Mar 2015.  The training courses are found here.

What's New

vCloud Suite will be updates with vSphere 6.0 and vCloud Director and vCloud Network & Security will be deprecated as announced last year and no longer seen in this bundle.  This also get updated with the new vRealize Operations (vROps) Suite to 6.

vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM) will be updated to 6.0 which include vSphere 6.0 and vRealize Operations (vROps) 6.0.  Finally those on vSOM 5.5 have been asking for vROps 6.0 has been granted their wishes.

VMware Data Protection (VDP) 6.0 is now one single product.  There will be no more VMware Data Protection Advanced (VDPA) but now call VDP.  It is now available for vSphere Essential Plus and above edition.  This also included in the new vSphere Remote Office Branch Office.  VDP 6.0 in vSphere 6.0 contains the full functions of VDPA.  With this launched, customer who are on valid Subscription & Support (SnS) for vSphere will be entitled to download VDPA 5.8 and/or VDP 6.0.

vSphere Hypervisor Free edition now support vSphere Data Protection API.  Which means now even if you are on the free Hypervisor, you can also enjoy offloading your backup process to your supported backup solutions.  How cool is that!

Virtual SAN (VSAN) 2.0 is announced with vSphere 6.0.  Many new features and one of which is a all flash VSAN but this comes as a add-on licensed via per CPU or per desktop (for VDI).  Host limits has also been increase to 64 similar to vSphere 6.0.  The greatest improvement will be VSAN snapshot now adopt similar technology from VirSto a storage solution which was acquired early 2013.  All this comes with a new file system.  One main function is the ability to support direct attached JBOD.

vSphere Enterprise Plus, vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise Plus and vCloud Enterprise get to use VMware Integrated OpenStack free of charge with Support sold separately.

vSphere 6.0 What's New
In this release, Transparent Page Sharing (TPS) is disabled by default when shipped.  Starting from all the new updates for vSphere 5.x, TPS will be disabled.  Check out the kb.  To enable or disable you can refer to this blog post.   This is due to security reason mentioned here.  However this is more of a logical risk than a physical risk as as of now there is no case of such security due to enabling TPS have been reported.

Do take note of TPS and it could help drive performance in terms of memory aspect especially for Mission Critical Applications.

Install and Upgrade
vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) now comes in a guided installation wizard for easy deployment especially for user who are new.  There will also be two separate ISO for binary for the Windows vCenter as well as the vCSA, saving user time on download and space to store them previously when there are all bundled in one ISO.

Newer hardware support is always expected which you can refer to VMware Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) and OS supported here.

For scalability please see the table below.  Though many might say this is just a number game but there are real customer which I experience with requirements for this mainly these are monster VMs made up of Database servers.
vSphere 5.5
vSphere 6.0
32 Hosts per Cluster
64 Hosts per Cluster
4000 Virtual Machines per Cluster
8000 Virtual Machines per Cluster
320 CPUs
480 CPUs
64 vCPUs
128 vCPUs
12 TB RAM*
512 Virtual Machines per Host
2048 Virtual Machines Per Host

 * With specific server OEM partners

Storage IO Controls now extend to per VM level.  This was similar to what was introduced in vSphere 5.1 when network IO control provided for per VM.

The long wait is over!  Finally vSphere is able to support NFSv4.  This was a much request for NFS storage users since NFSv4 has already been on the market for quite some times and vSphere 5.5 was speculated to support but didn't when released.  Kerberos that comes with NFSv4 will be supported as well :)

Virtual Volumes (VVol)
New way of presenting Storage to be VM aware providing Per VM granularity similarly to what VSAN was able to do with policies.  This is achieved with VMware Storage APIs - Storage Awareness (VASA).  This also remove the need to lots of LUN Management tasks which often creates lots of issues.  This will support protocols namely iSCSI, NFSv3 (no NFSv4 at time of writing), FC and FCoE. Capability of Storage will be expose to vSphere via the VASA provider just like VSAN on vSphere.  This will introduce storage policy based management (SPBM) to traditional storage on vSphere for the first time!

Storage and Availability Integration
This release introduced content library where you can replicate images e.g. template, ISO, etc. to other vSphere cluster removing the waste time and effort creating or trying to copy from one to another.  Also with the support for the new Storage features namely VSAN, vFlash, SRM, VVol and vSphere Replication.

IPv6 support for Management Network.  Things to note only vSphere 6 is supported for IPv6 so no management of below version 6 is allowed.  This has to be a green field implementation of course if you intend to migrate your existing vSphere Cluster to IPv6, expect definitely a downtime on the management this will need careful planning.

NIOC version 3, CoS tagging and user-defined network resource pools are deprecated.  Version 3 lets you set up bandwidth allocation for virtual machines at the level of the entire distributed switch upgraded from just physical adapter level.  Read more here.

vMotion Capabilities Extension
  • vMotion across vSwitches currently supported on virtual standard switches (vSS) and virtual Distributed Switch (vDS) supported across all edition vSphere which support vMotion
  • vMotion over long distance with up to 100ms round-trip time (RTT) is now supported available in vSphere Enterprise Plus Edition.
  • vMotion across vCenters on local, metro and cross continents provided it meets the requirement of vMotion over long distance stated above and supported on vSphere Enterprise Plus Edition.  Requires 250 Mbps per vMotion operation.  vMotion Network on L3 connection.
Fault Tolerance for Multi-Processor VM (SMP-FT)
Oh Yes Yes!  The support for SMP-FT VM.  Don't be too excited just yet as the maximum number for this is up to 4 vCPUs and only available in vSphere Enterprise Plus.  Though this might not be able to support most of their giant monster VM, it sure helps more on typical critical applications that needs only 4 vCPU and below.

Side note, SMP-FT is also available for vSphere Remote Office Branch Office edition but subject to 2 vCPU and 4 vCPU for Standard and Advanced respectively.

vCloud Air Integration
vSphere 6.0 will support vCloud Air in terms of backup, Disaster fail over and back.  Do note offering is only available in US, Europe, Japan and China at time of writing.

vSphere Replication
Yes finally it has been a long time that is only support a RPO of 15 mins and this kills it easily comparing to all other network or host based replication solutions.  In this release, it now has 5 mins RPO time (subject to bandwidth availability and data rate of change) and up to 2000 VMs from prevous 500 VMs which will help in SRM support definitely.

Certificate uses PKCS#12 format for SSL.  There is use of a new compression library FastLZ.  More information can be read here.

vSphere App HA
Sadly to say, in this release App HA has been removed.  I am not sure what will be replacing it (or ever there be), at this time, if you need it, you have do with vSphere 5.5 or use third party solution like Symantec AppHA.

VMware Data Protection (VDP)
With the new release of vSphere 6.0, there will be no more purchase needed for VMware Data Protection Advanced (VDPA).  Instead, VDPA features will be fully available in VDP 6.0.  Customer with valid Subscription & Support (SnS) for vSphere will be entitled to download VDP 6.0.  VDP 6.0 will be able to support vSphere 5.1 and above.

vCenter Server Applicance
It now has the same support limits similar to Windows vCenter Server with embedded vPostgres
Content Library.  It now support Linked-Mode and comes with four sizes: tiny, small, middle and large.

Virtual Data Center (vDC)
Abstracted from vCloud Director, this isn't new but it's new in vSphere.  With vDC, you will be able to pool and abstract resources and provide them to different clusters.

Policy Based Management (PBM)
As you see more and more policy driven management, this release is also a start start with VM placement through tags and working with VM anti-affinity policies.

vSphere Host Client
If you are managing a single host not joined to a vSphere vCenter, you will now use this client to manage this host with VM with hardware above version 8 supported.

vSphere Web Client
With support of SRM now in web client since the release of SRM 5.8 this will carry forward to vSphere 6.0.  vCenter Update Manager however is still not supported :( The greatest news on this piece is the long awaiting performance improvement!  And yes this in release lots of performance improvement has been done to this long awaited issue.  Everything from login, right click, Workflow, Screen to screen, etc.  Also to stay the same as vSphere Infrastructure Client, the task windows is place back to the bottom of screen (Why on earth was it first introduced on the right?).

A side note, vSphere client is now able to read only for hardware version 9 to 11 instead where previously it cannot manage VM on hardware above version 10 in vSphere 5.5.  Do note it can ONLY edit VM that is on hardware version 8.

There are just many other smaller features and enhancements that are not listed here but the main ones which I felt were the main attractions.  Will fill more up as it comes along.  Of course my post will still focus in making everything plain and simple to digest for the greater audience out there.

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