VMware announces vSphere 6.0

In July last year, VMware released a Public Beta of vSphere 6.0, and even though the beta was public, participants were to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) stopping them for spreading details of new functionality. During VMworld in September last year more information was publicly shared. Yesterday VMware announced version 6.0 of its virtualization platform vSphere, meaning that the product is feature complete and is expected to be available in Q1 2015.

New functionality and enhancements in this version (as detailed in this paper):

VMware ESXi:

  • Scalability improvements
  • Account Management, Account Lockout, Password Complexity Rules, Auditability of ESXi Administrator Actions
  • Normal and Strict lockdown mode.
  • Smart Card Authentication to DCUI (for U.S. federal customers only)


Virtual Machine Enhancements:

  • Virtual Machine Hardware Version 11, offering 128 vCPUs, 4TB of RAM, hot-add RAM enhancements to vNUMA, WDDM 1.1 GDI acceleration, USB 3.0 xHCI controller and serial and parallel port enhancements.
  • Expanded Guest OS Support
    • Oracle Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 Quarterly Update 3
    • Asianux 4 SP4
    • Solaris 11.2
    • Ubuntu 12.04.5
    • Ubuntu 14.04.1
    • Oracle Linux 7
    • FreeBSD 9.3
    • Mac OS X 10.1

vCenter Server Enhancements:

  • Two deployment models
    • Embedded, which deploys the Platform Services Controller and vCenter Server System on the same machine
    • External, which deploys the Platform Service Controller and vCenter Server on seperate machines.
  • vCenter Inventory Service, vSphere Web Client, auto deploy and so-on are now installed along with vCenter Server
  • Support for embedded PostgreSQL DB or external Microsoft SQL or Oracle DB
  • Duplicated information between Platform Services Controllers, now automaticall enabled and works across vCenter Server Appliance or Windows Install
  • PSC contains the Certificate Authority (VMCA) root certificate authority or can be configured as a subordinate CA
  • vCenter Server Appliance now has the same scalability numbers as the Windows installable vCenter Server


vSphere Web Client:

  • Major enhancements to the performance and usability


vSphere vMotion:

  • Live migration of VMs across virtual switches, vCenter Servers and long distances of up to 100ms RTT
  • When VMs migrate across vCenter Servers, data and settings for the VM are preserved like machine UUID, event, alarm, task history, and resource settings like shares, reservations and limits. Also vSphere HA and DRS settings are retained like affinity and antiaffinity rules, automation level, startup priority and host isolation reponse. Also the MAC adresses are preserved


vSphere Fault Tolerance (FT):

  • Support for VMs with our to four vCPUs and 64 GB of memory
  • Use of vSphere Storage APIs – Data Protection can be used by vSphere FT
  • Enhancements in how FT handles storage, creating a complete copy of the entire VM
  • Support for all virtual disk formats
  • Host compatibility on par with vMotion

vSphere High Availability (HA):

  • Virtual Machine Component Protection (VMCP), providing protection for All Paths Down and Permanent Device Loss conditions for block and file storage
  • Protection of 64 ESXi hosts and 6,000 VMs
  • Compatible with Virtual Volumes, vSphere Network I/O Control, IPv6, VMware NSX and cross vCenter Server vSphere vMotion.

Multisite Content Library:

  • Changes are now automatically distributed to all subscribed catalogs at other sites
  • Configurable number of simultaneous transfers and consumed bandwidth
  • Scheduling of synchronization tasks

Virtual Volumes:

  • Allows array based operations at the virtual disk level, allowing SAN and NAS to be managed at a VM level
  • Works with Storage Policy-Baed Management (SPBM) so that recommendations can be made for compliant datastores for VM placement also ensuring policy compliance throughout the VM life cycle

vSphere Data Protection:

  • Functionality previously available in vSphere Data Protection Advanced has been consolidated into vSphere Data Protection 6.0
  • Up to 8T of deduplicated backup data capacity
  • Agents for SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft SharePoint Server
  • Automated backup verification
  • Support for storing backup data on EMC Data Domain
  • External proxies

vSphere Replication:

  • Isolate network traffice associated with vSphere Replication
  • Full syncrhronization enhancements
  • Compatible with vSphere Storage vMotion

vSphere Network I/O Control Enhancements:

  • Reserve bandwidth to a vNIC in a VM or entire distributed port group

Which features are enabled will depend on the version of vSphere customers buy, vSphere is offered in Standard, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus Editions, with the Enterprise Plus offering the most functionality. More information about what is in which version can be found here.