The first update to VMware’s vSphere 6.5, the hypervisor and virtualization management platform, substantially expands scalability for large data centers and provides more value for smaller organizations.
The update, released last month, proves that vSphere 6.5 is stable and ready for IT organizations to deploy if they haven’t done so already, said Martin Yip, VMware’s product line marketing manager. Any issues that have been discovered have been fixed in patches, and all the patches are rolled into the update.
“Although this is just an update release, it’s a huge milestone,” he said. “It’s been production-tested for eight months, and we’ve gotten positive customer feedback, that this a robust release.”
When VMware initially released vSphere 6.5 last November, it touted new features like improved security, including VM-level encryption; a simplified user experience through its new HTML5-based graphical user interface; and predictive analytics that automates data center management.
vSphere 6.5 Update 1 vastly improves scaling. The number of powered-on VMs that can run on a vSphere Domain has increased from 30,000 VMs to 50,000 VMs. Furthermore, a Domain can now handle 5,000 hosts, up from 4,000. The number of registered VMs a Domain can handle has gone from 50,000 to 70,000.
The company has also improved scalability of its vCenter central management tool. Organizations can now run 15 vCenter servers per Domain, up from ten.
Most customers don’t reach those scale limits, but the improved scalability is important to large data center operators, VMware executives say.
However, Adam Eckerle, VMware’s senior technical marketing architect, said the improved scalability of vCenter servers per Domain is significant for both small and large enterprises.
In the past, a small retail chain could’ve had 15 locations and managed those locations with two separate Domains. “Now, by increasing it from 10 vCenter servers per Domain to 15, they can have one single management point and link those vCenter servers together,” he said.
Gary Chen, research manager for cloud and virtualization system software at IDC, said VMware increases scalability of its virtualization software with every new release, so it’s nothing new, but customers do expect it; better scalability can impact customers positively and result in cost savings.
“It could mean more efficiency for them, and in some cases, they can get more use out of their VMware investment,” he said.
Other notable upgrades:
- VMware has upgraded the HTML-5-based vSphere Client, so it supports up to 90 percent general workflows. Early versions of the client only allowed IT administrators to power-on and power-off and edit the settings of VMs. Now with Update 1, the company has added more administrative tasks, such as the ability to add and remove ESX hosts and the ability to adjust resource pool settings and networking. “We’ve added many host-centric and network-centric features,” Eckerle said.
- VMware has improved the vCenter Server Foundation offering, the version of vCenter that is aimed at small organizations. In the past, small IT shops that purchased vCenter Server Foundation could only use it to manage three hosts. Now, VMware has expanded it to four hosts. “Small customers have been saying, ‘if we could manage one more host, it would make all the difference, so we are giving them a 33 percent increase in capacity,” Yip said.
- Improved support by hardware and software vendors. For example, because server vendors have improved their support for VMware’s Proactive HA feature, IT organizations that purchase those servers can now use vCenter to monitor the health status of server components, such as fans, memory and power supplies.
- An upgrade path for users of vSphere 6 Update 3 to migrate to vSphere 6.5.
- General support for vSphere 6.5 has been extended to a full five years, so support will be available until Nov. 15, 2021.
Ultimately, Chen from IDC said the latest update from VMware is important, but still, it’s just an incremental release.
“It’s a lot of refinement, but they are welcome enhancements,” he said.