What's New in VMware vSphere 6.0 (Part 2)
by Andrew Lancaster, Systems Engineer at Computelec
As promised, here is part two of what’s new in vSphere 6.0. In Part 1, I covered features like compute, instant clone and fault tolerance, but in this post I will be covering Storage and Management.
Storage / Virtual Volumes
Virtual Volumes (VVOL’s) is a new feature in vSphere 6.0. Awesome! But what is it? In short, it’s virtualising the storage layer, but it takes it further by allowing the individual VM to decide where it should be placed. Let’s break this down with an example to show how it works.
Traditionally, you would have a storage administrator and a VMware administrator. The storage administrator gets some new storage that has three tiers of storage, SSD, SAS and MDL SAS (or, fast, medium and slow). The storage administrator then creates Logical Unit Numbers (LUN’s). Below is a table showing LUNs with different capabilities:
While this may not match a real-world example, it shows how easy it is to have complicated storage. These LUN’s are then presented to the VMware layer and the VMware administrator is tasked with creating a VM. Where do they put the VM? So much choice! What tends to happen is a best guess placement which often results in one LUN getting full and VM’s being placed on the best storage available.
VVOLS’s make this easier. Storage polices are defined based on what the storage is capable of, for example, compression, deduplication, disk type, etc. Now each VM is the master of its own storage. Simply apply the right policy and it will be placed correctly.
Ok, great, now that you know what VVOL’s are, you might be thinking about changing all your storage to VVOL’s! This feature is not available on just any storage. To utilise VVOL’s you must have VMware vSphere API for Storage Awareness (VASA) storage. VMware are nice enough to provide a compatibility guide for this.
With a new version of vSphere comes an updated, enhanced version of the vSphere Web-client. Having used this client in the past I was not optimistic about the promised enhancements, that is, until I deployed it myself for the first time a few weeks ago. I can hand-on-heart say that this is not false advertising! The new web-client is significantly better than the old one. Let’s start from the top…
- The web-client URL is no longer on some weird port number.
- You can browse directly - example.
- The responsiveness has improved quite a bit.
- The login page and login process are both significantly quicker, more than 10 times faster.
- Once you’re in, the increased responsiveness continues moving around the different areas of your vCenter server including context menus, 4 times faster.
Click Image to Enlarge
Is it all good news? Unfortunately, no. The web-client still uses Flash despite multiple calls from the technical community to develop a HTML5 web-client. The next question I hear you asking yourself is “Can I finally ditch the old vSphere Client” (aka Fat client). Again, this is a no. The new web-client still cannot do everything the old client can. Things like remediating vSphere objects with VMware Update Manager still require the use of the old client. It’s also still considerably easier to perform tasks like upload ISO’s to data stores and deploy OVA’s using the old client. So I wouldn’t go uninstalling my old client just yet.
Is that it?
No that’s not it. There are many more new feature enhancements available in vSphere 6. Things like the new centralised content library, network I/O control, cross-vCenter clone and migration and more. However, in my view, these enhancements are designed with multi-tenant/datacentres in mind and are not going to be beneficial for school sized environments so I will not go into detail. I hope my explanations have been enlightening, and please leave me a comment if you have any follow up questions!