VMware recently released vSphere 6 with a few noteworthy new features.
It’s important to try vSphere 6 out in a lab environment first before upgrading your production. As there are many compatibility variables with most third-party vendors, like Veeam, test it out first to ensure all the software you use together will work properly.
Let’s dive right into some of VMware vSphere 6’s new features:
Any time you get a new version of something, it’s bigger and better. vSphere 6 supports bigger and better virtual servers. In other words, it makes workloads that were once too big to virtualize possible.
- Supports up to 64 hosts in a cluster (compared to 32 in 5.5)
- Can have 8,000 virtual machines in a single cluster
- Each vSphere 6 host can have a maximum of 480 physical CPUs, 12 TB of RAM and 1,000 virtual machines
As you can see above, this allows for even bigger consolidation of servers.
New Graphics Support
Virtual Machine Hardware version 11 is featured around Nvidia Grid vGPU. This is a big step forward for VDI, effectively leveling the playing field with Citrix Xen Server. Why is this feature important? It allows physical GPU on an ESXi host to be shared among multiple virtual desktops. Horizon 6.1 will enable a wide variety of graphical use cases and tighter consolidation of GPU resources across your VDI platform.
The big thing with this is that it now supports up to 4-vCPUs. Previously it was always limited to a single CPU so it wasn’t applicable for any virtual server that required more than a single vCPU. Up until now fault tolerance wasn’t widely used because of the resource limitations. Most virtual servers don’t have more than four vCPUs so this upgrade is applicable to most workloads.
Network I/O Control
vSphere 6 now supports per-VM Distributed vSwitch bandwidth reservations in order to guarantee bandwidth. Where does this come into play? Think of shared tenant environments where you need to have guaranteed networking bandwidth.
New vCenter Virtual Appliance
About three years ago, VMware created a non-Windows vCenter option. However, up until now, the Windows version and the non-Windows appliance did not have the same full feature sets and scalability. In other words, the Windows one was the only option for large environments. The virtual appliance now has the same feature set as the Windows one.
Better Web Client Performance and Featureset
The web client was a new feature in 5.1 that was always performing slower and less optimized than a thick client. Most long-term VMware users were used to the thick client and therefore, there was a slow adoption rate of the web client. VMware increased the performance of the web client by 13 times and it is much more user friendly now. Of course, all new vSphere 6 features are only available on the web client, excluding Update Manager. VMware is moving away from using thick clients, so don’t expect any thick client updates.
This feature allows your external storage arrays to understand your virtual environment. This technology will allow you to leverage more dynamic storage classes. Think: multiple LUNs presented as a single virtual disk. Simpler management, more flexibility.
New Content Library
There is now a centralized repository that provides simple and effective management for content, including: virtual machine templates, ISO images and scripts. It is now very simple to store and manage content from a central location and share through a publish/subscribe model.
Cross-Country vMotion and vCenter Capabilities
If you ever had the need to vMotion across vCenters, it’s now possible. Cross country vMotion between datacenters is now much more doable because of a new higher limit of 100ms RTT. This is ten times greater than the acceptable latency limit of 5.5 RTT of 10ms. So, if you have high-bandwidth-low-latency links between sites, this provides more flexibility than ever before.