What’s new with VMware vSAN 6.5?

Given that I’m a VMware vExpert for vSAN, I guess I’m kind of obliged to write about what’s new with the latest iteration of vSAN – 6.5….. =)

vSAN 6.5 is the 5th version of vSAN to be released and it’s had quite a rapid adoption in the industry as end-users start looking at Hyper-Converged Solutions. There are over 5000+ customers now utilising vSAN – everything from Production workloads through to Test & Dev, including VDI workloads and DR solutions! This is quite surprising considering we’re looking at a product that’s just under 3 years old… it’s become a mature product in such a short period of time!

The first thing to note is the acronym change…. it’s now little ‘v’ for vSAN in order to fall in line with most of the other VMware products! =)

So what are the key new features?

1. vSAN iSCSI

This is probably the most useful feature in 6.5 as it gives you the ability to create iSCSI targets and LUNs within your vSAN cluster and present these outside of the vSAN Cluster – which means you can now connect other VMs or physical servers to your vSAN storage (this could be advantageous if you’re trying to run a MSCS workload). The iSCSI support is native from within the VMkernel and doesn’t use any sort of storage appliance to create and mount the LUNs. At present only 128 targets are supported with 1024 LUNs and a max. LUN size of 62TB.

vsan-iscsi

It seems quite simple to setup (famous last words – I’ve not deployed 6.5 with iSCSI targets yet). First thing is to enabled the vSAN iSCSI Target service on the vSAN cluster, after that you create an iSCSI target and assign a LUN to it… that’s pretty much it!

Great thing about this feature is because the LUNs are basically vSAN objects, you can assign a storage policy to it and use all the nice vSAN SPBM features (dedupe, compression, erasure-coding, etc).

2. 2-node direct connect for vSAN ROBO + vSAN Advanced ROBO

Customers find it quite difficult to try and justify purchasing a 10GbE network switch in order to connect together a few nodes at a ROBO site. VMware have taken customer feedback and added a new feature which allows you to direct connect the vSAN ROBO nodes together using a cross-over network cable.

In prior versions of vSAN both vSAN traffic and witness traffic used the same VMkernel port which prevented the ability to use a direct connection as there would be no way to communicate with the witness node (usually back in the primary DC where the vCenter resides). In vSAN 6.5 you now have the ability to separate out vSAN and witness traffic onto separate VMkernel ports which means you can direct connect your vSAN ports together. This is obviously great as you can then stick in a 10GbE NIC and get 10Gb performance for vSAN traffic (and vMotion) without the need of a switch!

vsan_2node_robo

The only minor issue is you need to use the CLI to run some commands to tag a VMkernel port as the designated witness interface. Also the recommended setup would be to use 2 VMkernel ports per traffic flow in order to give you an active/standby configuration.

vsan-2node2nic

It’s also worth noting that the new vSAN Advanced ROBO licenses now allow end-users to deploy all-flash configurations at their ROBO site with the added space efficiency features!

3. vSAN All-Flash now available on all license editions

Yup, the All-Flash Tax has gone! You can now deploy an All-Flash vSAN configuration without having to buy an advanced or enterprise license. However, if you want any of the space saving features such as dedupe, compression and erasure coding then you require at least the Advanced edition.

4. 512e drive support

With larger drives now coming onto the market, there has been a request from customers for 4k drive support. Unfortunately there is still no support for the 4k native devices, however there is now support for 512e devices (so physical sector is 4k, logical sector emulates 512bytes).

More information on 4Kn or 512e support can be found here: https://kb.vmware.com/kb/2091600

5. PowerCLI cmdlets for vSAN

New cmdlets are available for vSAN allowing you to script and automate various vSAN tasks (from enabling vSAN to the deployment and configuration of a vSAN stretched cluster). The most obvious use will be using cmdlets to automatically assign storage policies to multiple VMs.

More info on he cmdlet updates available here: http://blogs.vmware.com/PowerCLI/2016/11/new-release-powercli-6-5-r1.html

6. vSAN storage for Cloud Native Apps (CNA)

Integration with Photon means you can now use a vSAN cluster in a CNA enviroment managed by Photon Controller. In addition, now that vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC) is included with vSphere 6.5, you can now use vSAN as storage for the VIC engine. Finally Docker Volume Driver enables you to create and manage Docker container data volumes on vSAN.

For more information about vSAN 6.5, point your browsers to this great technical website: https://storagehub.vmware.com/#!/vmware-vsan/vmware-vsan-6-5-technical-overview

VMware badges – Acclaim

So my digital badges came through today from Acclaim….

A little part of me wishes that I had the time to do more VMware training and exams…… then reality sets in and I remember that I have a full time job, a mortgage to pay and a 14 month old baby!!

….. maybe in 18 years time when I get shot of the little one! ;oP

Guess these will sit nicely alongside my vExpert Badges!

What’s New in vSphere 6.5: vCenter management…

What’s New in vSphere 6.5: vCenter management clients – VMware vSphere Blog

What’s New in vSphere 6.5: vCenter management…

vSphere 6.5 brings with it significant changes to the vCenter Server management clients including the vSphere Web Client and new HTML5 based vSphere Client. A detailed FAQ can be found here in this KB article; a summary of the changes are given below in this blog post.


VMware Social Media Advocacy

VMware makes welcome changes in vSphere 6.5

So the 2nd and 3rd part of my vSphere 6.5 articles have made it onto the SearchVMware.com website… you can read about it here:

http://searchvmware.techtarget.com/tip/VMware-vSphere-65-puts-emphasis-on-security-applications

http://searchvmware.techtarget.com/tip/VMware-makes-welcome-changes-in-vSphere-65

 

You can read part 1 here: http://searchvmware.techtarget.com/tip/VMware-focuses-on-simplicity-in-vSphere-version-65

Network Virtualisation – The Answer to Data Centre Security

I’m always being asked to write something high-level about NSX, and for a techie I’ve always struggled to keep technology out of these types of articles.

As MTI are sponsoring and exhibiting at ESRM tomorrow, I was asked at the last minute whether I would like to write an article for ESRM’s blog regarding what MTI will be talking about on their stand.

Anyways, with such late notice I hope I’ve done NSX and MTI justice….

http://www.whitehallmedia.co.uk/esrm/uncategorized/network-virtualisation-answer-data-centre-security/

Enterprise Security & Risk Management – 30th Nov 2016, Victoria London

So my company is sponsoring the Enterprise Security & Risk Management event at Victoria Park Plaza Hotel, London this coming Wednesday.

As such, I’ve been asked to attend with some of my security colleagues to help spread the NSX love… =)

Not many people are aware that MTI Technology has both a Data Centre and Security business unit, which means we are clearly positioned as a Solutions Provider that can sell you tin (storage/servers/networks), virtualise your workloads and also secure your critical data!

As one of VMware’s NSX Focused Partners in the UK, we are able to offer the full network virtualisation and security package! Whether it’s just using NSX to offer micro-segmentation and automation of network & security policies, or whether you require deeper packet inspection with the likes of Palo Alto or Trend Deep Security.

Anyways, if anyone’s in attendance at the ESRM event on Wednesday, then drop by the MTI stand to say hi and find out more about what we do, which vendors we work with and also why we all love NSX! =P

Oh, and we’re also giving away a Sonos Play 1 Wireless Speaker as a raffle prize! =)

Update sequence for vSphere 6.5 and its compatible VMware products

So VMware have now released a Knowledge Based Article that describes the upgrade path in which vSphere 6.5 and its compatible VMware products must be updated:

https://kb.vmware.com/kb/2147289

NOTE: At this time current versions of VMware NSX for vSphere, VMware Integrated OpenStack, vCloud Director for Service Providers, vRealize Automation and vRealize Infrastructure Navigator are not compatible with vSphere 6.5. Customers with these products are advised to upgrade to vSphere 6.5 when compatible versions become available.

vSphere/vCenter 6.5 released

So post VMworld, I wrote a long article about what’s new for vSphere 6.5 which I was hoping would be published on SearchVMware.com…. unfortunately I’m still waiting on it to be published, last I heard the article was too long and they were splitting it up into two articles! ¬_¬”

Anyways, whilst I wait for the article to be published, I’ll give a quick summary of things I’ve learnt about the new vSphere/vCenter 6.5 that was released 2 days ago.

  • New HTML5 vSphere Client
  • Fully Integrated vSphere Update Manager and AutoDeploy with vCenter Server Appliance
  • Native High Availability for the vCSA
  • Native backup/restore for vCSA
  • Built-in monitoring web interface for the vCSA
  • Over 2x increase in scale and 3x in performance
  • Easy to migrate from Windows vCenter to vCSA
  • Client Integration Plugin for the vSphere Web Client is no longer required
  • The vCSA deployment installer can be run on Windows, Mac and Linux
  • The installer now supports install, upgrade, migrate and restore
  • vSphere API Explorer
  • VM Encryption / Encrypted vMotion
  • Secure Boot (for ESXi host and VM)
  • VMware Tools 10.1 and 10.0.12 (for older guest OSes that are out of support)
  • Multi-factor authentication with Smartcard or SecurID
  • VMFS-6 (4k drive support in 512e mode – emulating 512 sectors)
  • Automatic Space Reclamation – VAAI UNMAP now automatic and integrated it UI
  • VVOLs 2.0 plus VASA 3.0
  • vSphere HA is now known as vSphere Availability, enhancements to Admission Control
  • HA Orchestrated Restarts (adding in dependencies when HA restarts a VM)
  • Proactive HA (when host components are failing they are put into a quarantine mode)
  • Enhancements to DRS (VM distribution, CPU Over-commit, Network aware)
  • Predictive-DRS if vRealize Operations 6.4 is deployed (forecasted trends will kick off DRS)
  • vSphere Replication enhancements (now 5min RPOs like vSAN)

 

To find out more information, head along to the following:

 

In addition to the GA of vSphere/vCenter 6.5 there were a load of other releases on the same day:

 

I’m still waiting on the launch of vRealize Automation 7.2 and NSX 6.3….. those should be imminent as well!

As always, all downloads are available via the My VMware Portal.