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VMware vSphere 6 Arrives

VMware Inc. has finally released the much-anticipated version 6 of its flagship server virtualization product, VMware vSphere 6. Rumors of what new features and functionality vSphere 6 might bring have been in abundance, so now that it has gone GA (General Availability), let’s take a quick look at the reality of what VMware vSphere 6 brings to those of us who have long awaited its arrival.

The biggest change in vSphere 6 seems to revolve around increased resource limits. The VMware ESXi 6 hypervisor can now support clusters of up to 64 physical hosts. Compute limitations for both ESXi hosts and VMs have been vastly increased. ESXi hosts will now support up to 480 CPUs and 12TB of RAM. VMs support up to 128 vCPUs and up to 4TB of vRAM. CPU limits for FT (fault tolerant) VMs has increased from a single vCPU per VM and 4 VMs per host to 4 vCPUs per VM and 8 vCPUs or 4 VMs per host.

Another major update to vSphere 6 is long distance vMotion. In previous releases vMotion between data centers required high-bandwidth, low-latency connections. In vSphere 6 network tolerances have been increased and it is now possible to successfully vMotion over connections of 100ms latency or less. In addition, vMotion can now be completed between vCenter servers without common shared storage. For those who utilize the vCenter virtual appliance, you’ll be happy to know that version 6 of the appliance now supports the same more advanced functionality as the Windows version of vCenter, including Update Manager. Both the virtual appliance and the Windows of vCenter now utilize a local PostgreSQL database by default although it is still possible to use an external SQL database for the Windows version and Oracle for the virtual appliance.

One of the biggest and most desired improvements in vSphere 6 is the vSphere Web client. The previous web client was extremely slow and not nearly as user-friendly as the Windows client. The new web client has been vastly improved including support for more browsers and operating systems. The client integration tools allowing for management of the VMs are now available for more platforms including the Mac. The web client has also been redesigned to look more like the Windows client. While it will remain an adjustment to move from the Windows to the web client the new version is much more palatable.

While this article doesn’t come close to mentioning all the new features and updated functionality of vSphere 6, I hope it will entice VMware administrators to give it a look and maybe even take a chance on trying that new web client.

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