VMware released vSphere 6.0 Update 2 back in March, but it came with a host of bugs and problems. Since then, they’ve released a couple of patches that now make this update much more attractive for production environments. VMware seems to have turned the corner in getting the known issues quickly resolved while also providing us with features we actually want and need. Here are some of the features we’re excited about:
New HTML5 VMware Host Client
This is the biggest enhancement, by far.
Before this vSphere update, you had to install a thick client in order to manage your VMware host. In the past few versions, VMware had been making big strides to transition to a web console, but if you needed to manage a single, standalone host or if you had a very small environment where you did not have vCenter deployed, you still had to use the thick client. The thick client, however, hasn’t received feature updates since vSphere 5.1, so it’s missing the new stuff.
Some users may have experienced this pain in particular when VMware released the vCenter 6 appliance. In order to install vCenter, you had to utilize the deprecated thick client simply to get vCenter up and running, just to get to the supported web UI. This process is vastly improved within this update, where you can easily go straight to the web console without having to take a pit stop at the thick client. The new host client is HTML5, which makes it a vast improvement upon the Flash-based web client from vCenter. Our guess is that this HTML5-based web UI is the beta test for a new, improved HTML5 vCenter.
There are also VMware Host Client updates, so there’s going to be separate versioning between the host client and ESXi. For example, ESXi 6.0 Update 2 Build 3620759 comes with VMware host client 1.0 3617585. And then, ESXi update 2 has a couple more patches to it after that, but the host client currently remains at its aforementioned version. So, going forward, they won’t update in tandem necessarily. In the future, you will need to evaluate whether your host contains the latest version of the VMware host client to keep on top of its known issues and patches. Do this by checking what VIBs are installed in your environment and examine their version information.
As a side note, lots of VMware’s products are starting to splinter out this way, which can be cumbersome for you to manage and maintain. For example, VSAN also updates separately on its on cycle outside of ESXi. VMware does this because they want their new features to hit general availability faster. It’s great if you need a certain feature but less desirable for day-to-day maintenance. Just keep this in mind as VMware starts pushing updates and patches.
Higher Ethernet Link Speed
vSphere is now compatible with 25 G and 50 G Ethernet link speeds! This is definitely a feature for larger enterprises that need additional throughput and less uplinks and less complexity.
This is bundled within Update 2, so you won’t have to do any individual installs or updates for this if you’re just starting out with VSAN. If you already have VSAN, you’ve probably had access to this update since March.
You’ll see dedupe and compression added within this update, as well as better data integrity features and better reporting.
Of course, before doing any major VMware patching and updating, please consult the VMware hardware compatibility guide to ensure that your hardware firmware will work with the latest versions. We run across this problem a lot, so don’t always assume you’re in the clear.