In VMworld 2016, VMware announces vSphere 6.5, the latest version of its industry-leading virtualization platform. This new release of vSphere features a dramatically simplified experience, comprehensive built-in security, and a universal app platform for running any app. VMware vSphere 6.5 is the next-generation infrastructure for next-generation applications. It provides a powerful, flexible, and secure foundation for business agility that accelerates the digital transformation to cloud computing and promotes success in the digital economy.
In this post we will discuss the new and enhanced features in vSphere 6.5 across various areas of technology.
1- VMware vCenter Server
VMware vCenter Server 6.5 has many new and innovative features. The installer has been overhauled, resulting in a new, modern look and feel. It is now supported on Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems (OSs) without the need for any plug-ins. With vSphere 6.5, the VMware vCenter Server Appliance has surpassed the Windows installable version. It offers the following exclusive features:
• Migration Tool
• Improved appliance management
• Native high availability
• Native backup and restore
There are also general improvements to vCenter Server 6.5, including the vSphere Web Client and the fully supported HTML5-based vSphere Client.
The installer has a built-in Migration Tool, providing easy access to the vCenter Server Appliance 6.5. This new version of Migration Tool provides several improvements including support for Windows vCenter Server 5.5 and 6.0. And VMware vSphere Update Manager is now part of the vCenter Server Appliance 6.5, which is especially valuable to customers that have been waiting to migrate to vCenter Server Appliance without managing a separate Windows server for vSphere Update Manager. Also you have now possibility for restore from the installer gui.
2- VMware vCenter High Availability
vCenter Server 6.5 has a new native high availability solution that is available exclusively for vCenter Server Appliance. This solution consists of active, passive, and witness nodes that are cloned from the existing vCenter Server instance. The VMware vCenter® High Availability (vCenter HA) cluster can be enabled, disabled, or destroyed at any time. The figure shows a basic configuration of vCenter HA, where you will create a new interface for HA network between the nodes on the cluster.
3- vSphere Client
With vSphere 6.5, there is now a fully supported version of the HTML5-based vSphere Client that can run alongside the vSphere Web Client. The vSphere Client is built into vCenter Server 6.5—both Windows and appliance—and is enabled by default. Some of the great features of this new vSphere client are:
- Clean, consistent UI built on new VMware Clarity UI standards that will be adopted across the portfolio
- Built on HTML5, making it truly a cross-browser and cross-platform application
- No browser plug-ins to install and manage
- Integrated into vCenter Server 6.5 and fully supported
- Fully supports Enhanced Linked Mode
With new features such as VM Encryption, Encrypted vMotion, Secure Boot Support for Virtual Machines, and Secure Boot Plus Cryptographic Hypervisor Assurance for ESXi, vSphere 6.5 Security brings together security and operational efficiency that are both universal and scalable. In addition, vSphere 6.5 introduces audit-quality logging of vSphere events via Syslog.
- Virtual Machine Encryption
VM Encryption is a VM-agnostic method of encryption for VMs that is scalable, easy to implement, and easy to manage.
- Encrypted vMotion
Encrypted vMotion is set on a per-VM basis. It encrypts the data traveling over the network rather than encrypting the network itself. This enables more flexibility and easier implementation. A 256-bit random key and a 64-bit nonce, used only once for this VMware vSphere vMotion migration, are generated.
- Secure Boot Support
vSphere 6.5 introduces Secure Boot Support for Virtual Machines and for the ESXi hypervisor. UEFI Secure Boot is a mechanism that ensures that only trusted code is loaded by EFI firmware prior to OS handoff. Trust is determined by keys and certificates managed by the firmware.
- Virtual Machine Secure Boot
Virtual machines must be booted from the EFI firmware to enable Secure Boot. EFI firmware supports Windows, Linux, and nested ESXi. For Secure Boot to work, the guest OS must also support Secure Boot.
5- vSphere 6.5 Availability
- Proactive HA
Proactive HA integrates with select hardware partners to detect degraded components and evacuate VMs from affected vSphere hosts before an incident causes a service interruption.
- vSphere High Availability Orchestrated Restart
Orchestrated Restart improves the recoverability of applications that run across multiple VMs. This is done by creating dependency chains between VMs via VM-to-VM restart rules.
- Predictive DRS
Predictive DRS is a new feature that leverages the predictive analytics of vRealize Operations Manager with the powerful resource scheduler algorithm of vSphere DRS. Together, these two products enable workload balancing for certain VMs before resource utilization spikes occur, potentially eliminating a great amount of resource contention that might have occurred in the past.
- Network-Aware vSphere DRS
vSphere DRS monitors the Tx and Rx rates of the connected physical uplinks and
avoids placing VMs on hosts that are considered network saturated—that is, more than 80 percent utilized.
6- vSphere Integrated Containers
vSphere is a universal application platform that supports both traditional and next-generation apps. vSphere 6.5 Integrated Containers, is the easiest way for vSphere users to bring containers into an existing vSphere environment.
vSphere Integrated Containers helps customers transform their business with containers without rearchitecting their existing infrastructure. It comprises three components:
• Engine provides the core container runtime.
• Harbor is an enterprise registry for container images.
• Admiral is a portal for container management by development teams.
vSphere Integrated Containers enables IT operations teams to provide their app teams with a Docker compatible interface that runs on the existing vSphere infrastructure. It features tight integration with VMware NSX, to support best-in-class network automation and scale-out, and with Virtual SAN, to support high-performance persistent storage.
7- vSphere 6.5 Storage
- Advanced Format Drives and 512e Mode
- Automated UNMAP
UNMAP is a VMware vSphere Storage APIs – Array Integration primitive that enables reclamation of dead or stranded space on thinly provisioned VMFS volumes. Sphere 6.5 automates the UNMAP process by which VMFS tracks the deleted blocks and reclaims deleted space from the backend array in background. This background operation ensures a minimal storage I/O impact due to UNMAP operations. UNMAP works at a guest OS level with newer versions of Windows and Linux.
- LUN Scalability
In vSphere 6.5, there is support for 512 LUNs and 2,000 paths, greatly improving storage infrastructure scalability for customers.
- NFS 4.1 Support
For more information, technical reference explore these free assets and get started on your journey to vSphere 6.5.
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