What’s New in VMware vSphere 6.5

The big virtualization news from the past week or so was definitely the release and General Availability of VMware vSphere version 6.5, available for download now.

New features include:

  • Improvements to vCenter Server 6.5
  • Transition to Web Client-only
  • Improved host management
  • Enhancements to VMware Tools
  • vRealize Operations Manager updated to 6.4
  • Enhancements to the API, specifically for developers and automation
  • Security enhancements (including VM-level encryption)
  • Improvements to VMware HA and DRS
  • Storage-related enhancements (including automated UNMAP)
  • Networking enhancements

I’ll review each of these areas and also go through some caveats — especially around compatibility with other VMware products. Continue reading

GeekFluent Round-up of VMware Announcements from Monday of Partner Exchange

I’m at the VMware Partner Exchange conference now. The pre-conference boot camps have finished up, and the “main” conference is starting. As part of the pre-conference events, VMware made several product announcements, including:

  • vSphere 6.0
  • vCloud Air Hybrid Cloud Extensions
  • VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO)
  • VSAN 6.0

I’ll give an overview of each below. Continue reading

GeekFluent Round-up of VMware’s Announcements from Monday of VMworld 2014

I’m here at VMworld 2014 and this year VMware has gone above and beyond. Monday’s opening keynote included more new product announcements than any other VMworld I’ve attended (I’ve been going yearly since 2009).

Such a massive flow of info can be hard to keep up with without a program. Below you’ll find my summary of the announcements. Continue reading

Use Your Windows Laptop to Make a Bootable USB Key for vSphere Installations

Have you ever wanted to install ESXi on a host that doesn’t have a CD-ROM drive?  Maybe you also don’t have a TFTP server, so installing over the network isn’t an option either.  I came across this situation at a customer site recently.

It turns out the easiest solution in this situation is to convert a USB thumb drive into a bootable installation key.  VMware’s online documentation describes how to do this.  The thing is, the instructions I could find were for using a Linux system to create the key and my work-issued laptop runs Windows.

It turns out you can use your Windows system to create the installation media, and it’s pretty easy.  This post will walk you through the process. Continue reading

VMware Releases vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager

VMware has added the ability to manage non-vSphere hypervisors to vCenter with the release of vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager 1.0.

At the moment, the only non-VMware hypervisor it supports is Microsoft’s Hyper-V (although in both the 2008 and 2008 R2 flavors), so the Multi-Hypervisor name seems ambitious.  I say we should keep in mind that this is a 1.0 release and interpret the choice of name as a sign of things we should look for in future releases.

Features include:
Continue reading

Running VMware View? Hold Off on Upgrading to vSphere 5.1

I know we’re all excited to get at all the new features of vSphere 5.1 now that it’s available for download, but if you’re currently running VMware View, you should hold off for now.

At the moment, vSphere 5.1 is not certified to work with any version of View. You can see a list of the View-supported vSphere versions in the VMware View 5.1 Release Notes.

For more info, you can check out this VMware Knowledge Base article.

What Will VAAI v2 Do for You? Part 2 of 2: NFS

This post is the second of two describing the features of the VMware vSphere Storage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI) version 2 as it works with vSphere 5.  If you missed the first part, you can read it here: What Will VAAI v2 Do for You? Part 1 of 2: Block

Part 1 Review

My earlier posting covered the five features for block storage available in VAAI v2:

  • Hardware-Assisted Copy
  • Hardware-Assisted Zero
  • Hardware-Assisted Locking
  • Thin Provisioning Stun
  • Thin Provisioning Block Reclamation

 VAAI v2 for NFS Storage

Probably the biggest and most-anticipated aspect of VAAI v2 was the the addition of advanced features for NFS datastores.  VAAI v2 includes three features for NFS:

  • NFS File Cloning
  • NFS Extended Stats
  • NFS Reserve Space

I’ll cover each of them in detail below.

Continue reading

What Will VAAI v2 Do for You? Part 1 of 2: Block

Recently, someone pointed out to me that it was high time for me to write a follow-up to my “What Will VAAI Do for You?” posting.  Written shortly after the launch of VMware vSphere 4.1, it is my most-read post on the Everything VMware at EMC Community.

Since I wrote it, though, VMware has released vSphere 5, which (among a slew of other great features) includes version 2 of VAAI, now called the vSphere Storage API for Array Integration.  (You’re not mistaken: they’ve added a word to the name but kept the acronym the same — the acronym has achieved wide-spread common usage and changing it would only cause confusion.)

VAAI allows ESXi servers that use VAAI-enabled storage to work more effectively with storage.  In most cases this means offloading storage-related tasks from the server to the array, but there’s more to it than just that, as I’ll explain in this posting. Continue reading

EMC VFCache (Project Lightning) in a VMware Environment

[UPDATE: 4 September 2012: This post refers to VFCache at the time of launch and is outdated now that EMC has released VFCache 1.5. You can read my post about that release here.]

Today, EMC announced their much-anticipated server-side Flash product, Project Lightning, under its official name, VFCache.

Lots of folks are writing about VFCache and all the amazing performance-enhancing results it produces.  Some are doing deep dives into how it works.  Since there are plenty of places to get all that information (there are five VFCache white papers on the EMC company site), I don’t see any reason to cover that same territory in detail here.  Instead, after a brief overview of VFCache, I’ll be discussing how it works in a VMware environment.

Full Disclosure: In my position as an EMC employee I’ve had access to VFCache information in advance of today’s launch.  I also have access to roadmap information about planned future enhancements and expansions.  Under my agreements with EMC, I am not in a position to discuss VFCache futures.  I will restrict my commentary to VFCache capabilities “at launch”.

Continue reading