vCenter Server 6.5 announcement and detailed new features list

VMware finally pulled the curtains on their new vSphere 6.5 products during the European VMworld 2016 in Barcelona.  No release dates were announced but there are a lot of good stuff here.

  • vCenter 6.5
  • SRM 6.5
  • vRops 6.3
  • vRA 7.2
  • vSAN 6.5
  • VVOLS 2.0

I was fortunate enough to be part of the vCenter 6.5 beta and was impressed with the new features and VMware’s renewed focus on their core application stack.  I also have a couple of JFJ (JumpForJoy) moments which I listed below.

  • Auto-deploy finally got a UI and is now available for configuration in the vSphere Web client.
    • Creation of image profiles
    • Creation and activation of deploy rules
    • Management of deploy rules with ability to check compliance and remediation.
    • Ability to manually match non-deployed ESXi hosts to rules.
  • Enhancements to host profiles
    • Ability to search for a specific setting name, property name, or value by filtering the host profile tree while editing the host profile.
    • Copying setting from one host profile to another profile
    • Mark host profile settings as favorite and filter based on favorites.
  • Current Web client UI and usability improvements
    • Performance improvements
    • Keyboard shortcuts
    • Keyboard support in dialogs, Wizards and Confirmations
    • Recent objects global pane
    • Related objects tab replaced with object category tabs
    • Object details title bar displays the selected object’s icon and name, action icons, and the Actions menu
  • Live refresh, yes live!  JFJ moment!  This feature is awesome and not sure why it it took this long to make this available especially since we now have to use HTML5.   The real time updates are also done across users who are logged into vSphere client at the same time.
    • Live Tasks, Trigger alarms and reset alarms.
    • Navigation tree updates
    • Custom attributes
  • Oh yes and then there is the HTML5 web client.
    • HTML5 (<vcenter>/ui) and vSphere web client (<vcenter>/vsphere-client) are both available.
    • HTML5 web client does not yet have feature parity with vSphere web client and hopefully this will happen soon, but I recommend using the HTML5 as much as possible.
  • New and updated HA features.  JFJ moments all over the place!
    • Enhancements in the way calculations and configuration is done to determine failover capacity within a cluster.
    • Cluster Resource Percentage will be the default admission control moving forward.  The default failover capacity percentage will automatically be re-calculated based on the number of hosts in the cluster
    • Admission control – “VM Resource Reduction Event Threshold” setting
      • In past versions if a cluster did not have enough failover capacity during a hardware failure event, a number of VM’s would not be allowed to restart onto other healthy hosts. This new settings is a new feature that allows admins to specify the amount of resource reduction they are willing to tolerate in the cluster, potentially allowing additional VMs to be restarted even though capacity is not present, in exchange for potential performance degradation of VMs.
      • Setting this value to 0% means that you will not allow any resource reduction of any VM resources in your environment in the event of hardware failure.
    • Configuring orchestrator restarts!
      • Allow admins to specify the order of VM restarts as well as VM dependencies (critical applications, multi-tiered applications, and infrastructure services) at the cluster level.  We finally have similar orchestrated failover capabilities as SRM except SRM allows for injections of scripts which is not availabe with HA.
        • VM restart priority now includes: Lowest, Low, Medium, High, Highest
        • VM dependency restart conditions:
          • Resource allocated – Once resources for a VM are set aside on the host, HA will move to the next VM.
          • Powered On – Occurs when the power-on command is sent to the VM. Does not wait for the VM’s guest OS to be running.
          • Guest Heartbeats detected – Requires VMware Tools. Once vSphere sees that the VMware Tools agent is running, it will proceed.
          • App Heartbeats detected –  Requires scripting with the VMware Tools SDK, however this setting allows for information of a process/application within the VM’s guest OS to be passed shared to notify when an application is up and running in the VM.
  • Enhancements in event logging
    • Improve over 30 existing events for more detailed auditing.
    • Over 20 new events for different inventory operations.
    • Syslog / RELP streams
  • Storage IO Control (SIOC) with Storage policy-based management
    • SIOC was previously enabled per datastore and VM thresholds was set within the VM settings by first configuring the disk share value and then setting the IOPS limit value for each disk .   This was cumbersome to manage.
    • SIOC is now management and configured by using SPBM.
    • For storage policies there are now new rules available for readOPS, writeOPS, readLatency, writeLatency.
  • vCenter Server appliance Backup and Restore capability
    • File based backups/restore of vCenter server appliance through the Appliance Management UI.
    • Backup to a single folder all vCenter server core configuration, inventory and historical data.
    • Backup protocols available are FTP, SFTP, FTPS, HTTP, HTTPS
    • Encryption available for backup data before it is transferred.
    • Optional vCenter data available for backup:  Stats, Events, Alarms, Tasks.
    • To restore you have to use the vCenter installer which will deploy a new vCenter server appliance and restore the backup.  You cannot restore to your existing vCenter server. Make sure your existing vCenter server appliance is powered down before running a restore.
  • Command line deployment of vCenter server appliance
    • Scripted install
    • Installation using JSON formatted template and vcsa-cli-installer
  • vCSA and PSC failover. JFJ moment!
    • I will probably create a separate blog on this topic.
    • Native option to protect a vCenter server deployment from failures in hardware, vCenter and PSC service failures.
  • New Appliance management UI
    • Shows basic health with health badges.
    • CPU and Memory graphs showing utilization trends
    • Backup appliance
    • Create support bundle
    • Perform power operations such as rebooting and shutting down the appliance
  • Migration from a Windows vCenter server 5.5 to vCenter Appliance 6.0U
  • Security enhancements
    • VM level disk encryption.
    • Encrypted vMotion capabilities
    • Secure boot model

 

Please share your thoughts if you feel I am missing any other important features.

Links:

https://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2016/10/introducing-vsphere-6-5.html

http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2016/10/whats-new-in-vsphere-6-5-vcenter-server.html

http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2016/10/whats-new-in-vsphere-6-5-security.html

http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2016/10/whats-new-in-vsphere-6-5-host-resource-management-and-operations.html

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