VMware Release vSphere 6.5

Update 15/11/2016 vSphere 6.5 is now GA. Download here: vSphere 6.5 Downloads.

See also vSphere 6.5 Release Notes, vSphere 6.5 Documentation Centre, vSphere 6.5 What’s New White Paper.

VMware announced the imminent release of vSphere 6.5 at VMworld 2016 Europe in Barcelona today (18/10 2016). At the time of writing there is no date for general availability, although this is expected to be towards the end of the year. There are a number of capability and feature enhancements with the latest release.

The vCenter Server Appliance continues its quest to out-muscle its Windows vCenter Server counterpart; in 6.5 we now have an integrated instance of Update Manager, which uses the internal embedded vPostgres database. vCenter High Availability is also introduced, this feature is VCSA only and allows the creation of a highly available VCSA environment through the use of an active/passive appliance with a witness. Pretty self explanatory; should the active VCSA instance fail then the passive appliances picks itself up and becomes active.

The VCSA also features improved appliance and database management interfaces, native Backup and Restore functionality, and an enhanced installation process for Deploying, Upgrading, and Migrating to VCSA.

The vSphere web client has had a reshuffle of tabs for a more familiar feel, alongside performance and usability improvements such as live refresh. Most of the Client Integration Plugins have been redesigned to remove dependencies and streamline the user experience.

High Availability now offers more granular controls over VM restart priorities, and orchestrated restarts of virtual machines that form an application over multiple hosts. A new feature called Proactive HA can detect server hardware issues, for example a memory error or failed PSU. The host is placed into ‘Quarantine Mode’ meaning DRS will not migrate VMs onto said host if other options are available.

Additional key notes with the release of vSphere 6.5:

  • HTML5 vSphere client for increased performance and cross-platform capability.
  • VM-level encryption for data at rest and during vMotion.
  • Secure boot for the hypervisor and operating system to ensure images have not been tampered with.
  • Cross-cloud vMotion for live migrating workloads between VMware based clouds.
  • Native array based replication of Virtual Volumes (VVOLs 2.0).
  • Functionality and usability improvements to Content Libraries.
  • Auto Deploy and Host Profile enhancements, UI capabilities, and backup and restore.
  • Network aware DRS will include network bandwidth calculations to avoid over-subscribing network links.
  • Scale increases; vm version 13 up to 6 TB RAM 128 vCPU, hosts up to 480 physical CPU, 12 TB RAM, 64 TB datastores, 25G and 100G Ethernet, 32G FC, 1024 LUNS, 4096 paths.
  • Enhanced logging of vCenter events to a Syslog server, such as forensic information about user actions.
  • REST APIs for developer friendly control and automation of the virtual infrastructure.

Containers featured heavily at this years VMworld and VMware have officially announced support for production use of vSphere Integrated Containers with its compute, network, storage and management product set. Click to read more about VMware Container Projects.

You can register for the associated vSphere 6.5 training courses with VMware Education here.

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