by Adam Armstrong

VMware Announces VSAN 6.5 & Other Solutions

Today at VMworld Europe 2016 in Barcelona, VMware, Inc. announced the several new releases of its compute, storage, and cloud management solutions. These updated solutions are designed to help IT efficiently run, manage, and secure their traditional and modern applications on- or off-premises and include VMware vSphere, VMware Virtual SAN, and VMware vRealize Automation. All of the updated solutions will now have support for containers.

These new and updated releases build off of VMware’s Cross-Cloud Architecture announced at VMworld 2016 in August. As previously stated, The company calls it the world’s most complete and capable hybrid cloud architecture. They go on to say the Cross-Cloud Architecture enables consistent deployment models, security policies, visibility, and governance for all applications, running on premises and off, regardless of the underlying cloud, hardware platform or hypervisor. The new architecture is delivered through VMware Cloud Foundation and a new set of cross-cloud services that are currently being developed by VMware.

The latest version of vSphere, version 6.5, VMware is calling next-gen infrastructure for modern applications. The new version will have increased automation and management capabilities to help simplify user experience. vSphere 6.5 also has comprehensive built-in security and what all of the new announcements have, support for containers. VMware states that these new features and capabilities supports several applications, both modern and traditional including 3D graphics, Big Data, cloud-native, containerized, machine learning, and Software as a Service. VMware is also announcing vSphere Virtual Volumes 2.0. VVOLS 2.0 will feature native support for array replication as well as support for business-critical applications such as Oracle Database with Real Application Clusters.

New vSphere 6.5 features include:

  • VMware vCenter Server Appliance – will deliver a simplified building block for vSphere environments offering an easy to deploy and manage approach that reduces operational complexity by embedding key functionality into a single virtual appliance. The appliance will offer customers simplified patching, upgrading, backup and recovery, high availability and more, including a 2x increase in both scale and performance of their vCenter Server environments.
  • REST APIs – will improve both the IT and developer experience by enabling greater control and automation of virtual infrastructure for modern applications via new REST-based APIs.
  • VMware vSphere Client – based on HTML5, the new vSphere Client will simplify the administrative experience via a modern, native tool that meets the performance and usability needs and expectations of users for day-to-day operations.
  • VM Encryption – new virtual machine-level encryption will protect against unauthorized data access safeguarding data at rest as well as virtual machines that are vMotioned.
  • Secure Boot – new feature will prevent the tampering of images as well as the loading of unauthorized components into vSphere environments.
  • VMware vSphere Integrated Containers – will allow IT operations teams to provide a Docker compatible interface to their app teams enabling vSphere customers to transform their businesses with containers without re-architecting their existing infrastructure.

Along with vSphere 6.5, VMware is updating its cloud management platform with updates to both vRealize Automation and vRealize Log Insight. vRealize Automation is now in version 7.2 and will feature support for Microsoft Azure and containers right “out of the box.” Along with AWS, VMware vCloud Air, and the vCloud Air Network the benefits of vRealize Automation can now be extended to Azure. On the container front, vRealize Automation 7.2 will support containers, which VMware states will enable developers and application teams to accelerate application delivery. 7.2 will feature a highly scalable and lightweight container management platform, Admiral. Developers will also be able to provision container hosts from the vRealize Automation 7.2 service catalog giving them the choice of modeling containerized applications using unified service blueprints or Docker Compose. The update gives application teams the ability to build hybrid deployments consisting of VMs and containers. 7.2 gives cloud admins the ability to manage container hosts and apply governance to their usage including capacity quotas or approval workflows.

VMware is updating its vRealize Log Insight and vRealize Operations with versions 4.0 and 6.4, respectively. vRealize Log Insight 4.0 will have enhanced alert management functionality along with a simplified UI. vRealize Operations 6.4 is stated to deliver improved alert management and metric grouping for faster troubleshooting and new dashboards customized to specific user personas that span infrastructure, application and cloud teams. Both of these updated solutions will feature enhanced integrations with vSphere 6.5.

On its cloud services, VMware is introducing two new beta programs, vCloud Air disaster recovery and VMware Cloud Foundation Service on vCloud Air. vCloud Air disaster recovery provides what VMware is calling the security and isolation of a dedicated cloud environment combined with the simplicity of a replication solution that is directly integrated into vSphere and optimized with SD-WAN technologies. VMware Cloud Foundation Service on vCloud Air beta is designed to provide a fast and easy way to leverage the combined power of vSphere, VSAN, and NSX in a fully integrated service offering from VMware.

What most users and readers are interested in is VSAN version 6.5. The latest version of VMware’s hyperconverged solution is stated as being able to improve total cost of ownership (TCO) savings up to 50% by adding support for containers and physical workloads, unveiling iSCSI support, eliminating networking hardware costs from two-node Remote Office/Branch Office (ROBO) configurations, and adding all-flash hardware support to Virtual SAN Standard Edition. Along with this, VMware is announcing its new VMware Ready for VSAN certification program. The program is designed to help them find a qualified solution partner, which in turn will speed time-to-value. Currently VMware is working with Dell EMC, NetApp, and Nexenta on file service partners and Commvault, Dell EMC, Veeam, and Veritas on protection partners but intends to add more partners to the ecosystem in the future.

Benefits of VSAN 6.5 include:

  • iSCSI Support – will enable VSAN storage to be presented as an iSCSI target for external physical workloads including clustered applications such as Microsoft SQL Server with Failover Clustering on a limited number of physical servers.
  • Containers Support – VMware Virtual SAN will provide persistent data layer for containerized applications via VMware vSphere Integrated Containers.
  • Two-node Direct Connect – new functionality will eliminate the need for routers/switches between VSAN systems in ROBO sites helping customers lower costs by 15 to 20 percent per site.
  • REST APIs and Expanded PowerCLI – will help customers to accelerate responsiveness with enterprise-class automation that brings cloud-like flexibility and management to Virtual SAN environments.
  • 512e Hard Disk Drives and Solid State Drives (SSDs) – support for 512-byte emulated disk drives allows high capacity drives to be supported and help advance the adoption of all-flash hyper- converged infrastructure.

Availability and pricing

VMware vRealize Automation 7.2, VMware vRealize Log Insight 4.0, VMware vRealize Operations 6.4, VMware Virtual SAN 6.5, VMware vSphere 6.5 and VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes 2.0 are all expected to be available in the fourth quarter of 2016.

  • Pricing for VMware vSphere starts at $995 per CPU. VMware vSphere Integrated Containers is a new feature of vSphere 6.5 (also supported on vSphere 6) and will be available for VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus Edition customers at no additional charge.
  • VMware Virtual SAN list price starts at $2,495 per CPU. VMware Virtual SAN for desktop list price starts at $50 per user. VMware Virtual SAN Standard Edition now includes support for all-flash hardware.


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