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New Features in VMware vSphere 6.0

Yet while many VMware execs mentioned individual features of vSphere 6.0 in piece-meal fashion, there wasn’t an umbrella announcement for vSphere 6.0, which means that we’re likely to get more official news in the weeks in months to come. That said, there was enough information release during VMworld for us to start assembling a picture of what vSphere 6.0 will have to offer feature-wise, so I’ve cobbled together some of the available information below.

Note: Given that VMware vSphere 6.0 is still in beta form, I’d expect the following list of features to be tweaked and revised as the product gets closer to final release. I’ll continue to update this post as new information becomes available, so please bookmark this page for future reference. If you know of a vSphere 6.0 feature that isn’t listed here, please drop me an email and I’ll credit you and add it to the post.

New Features in VMware vSphere 6.0

So what new features will VMware vSphere 6.0 have to offer? Some information was made public this week at VMworld 2014, and I’ve assembled the following list of new features, largely gleaned from the day one and day two keynotes, as well as some of the sessions and other information released at the show.

Virtual Volumes (VVols)

Mentioned during the day 1 keynote by VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, virtual volumes (VVols) take the software-defined mindset and apply it to external storage. VMware’s Rawlinson Rivera goes into more detail as to what VVols can offer via a blog post on the VMware website, writing that VVols serves up an approach to storage in which an “…individual virtual machine and its disks, rather than a LUN, become a unit of storage management for a storage system. Virtual volumes encapsulate virtual disks and other virtual machine files, and natively store the files on the storage system.”

VVols were previewed years ago at VMworld 2012, and VMware has steadily been working on the technology since then. In the video embedded below (and in a companion VVols blog post) VMware gives a bit more information on what VVols is.

Fault Tolerance for Multi-Processor Virtual Machines

One long-awaited vSphere feature was support for fault tolerance for multi-processor virtual machines, and that functionality will be added to VMware vSphere 6. With vSphere 6. VMs with up to 64GB RAM and 4 vCPUs will be covered under with fault tolerance, which Raghuram said should “…provide these application with zero downtimes.”

vMotion Improvements

VMware vMotion is one of the most popular features vSphere features, and allows running virtual machines to be shifted from one physical server (or several) without any downtime. VMware’s Raghu Raghuram mentioned during the VMworld 2014 Day 2 keynote that they were planning to make several improvements to vMotion in vSphere 6, namely Cross vCenter vMotion and Long Distance vMotion.

Cross vCenter vMotion: This feature will allow applications to be migrated from physical racks managed by different instances of VMware vCenter. Prior to vSphere 6, migrating VMs between different instances of VMware vCenter wasn’t possible, so this feature should make the lives of VMware administrators a bit easier.

Long Distance vMotion: In addition to allowing admins to move VMs between instances of vCenter, vSphere 6 will also support the migration of applications from one datacenter to another datacenter located across the country. Raghuram said that — used in conjunction with updates to VMware NSX — network properties of apps being migrated this way won’t have to be updating, adding that the technology is “science fiction in action.”

Used in conjunction, these new features will improve load balancing and the performance of applications, and will provide for “proactive disaster avoidance” and seamless data center migration.

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