VMware vSphere 6.0 – Whats New

The long-awaited vSphere 6 was announced, and I know many in the community that are eager to upgrade to the latest version, including myself. I always encourage folks to read the official documentation from VMware before you start an upgrade.

You want to ensure you have everything covered, and if you are one of the lucky ones with a dev or test environment for your infrastructure, I would always start there first. I know it seems like common sense, but you will be surprised how many folks skip this step.

VMware vSphere 6

I’m going to touch on a few of the new features I think are worth mentioning, and that impacts the majority of users.

Hypervisor Improvements

vSphere 6 can now scale to 64 hosts in a cluster, and that’s an increase from the previous 32 hosts. I’d be interested in knowing what a typical cluster is for most folks. Let me know on Twitter what size your cluster is.

Of course, with the additional hosts, vSphere can now host 8000 VMs in a single cluster. This can help bring down the TCO with fewer clusters and more density in the new cluster.

This has become a regular occurrence, as vSphere 6 can support 480 logical CPUs, 12TB of RAM and 1,024 VMs. One thing to keep in mind is that you will likely need newer hardware to take advantage of these increases, but it depends on the age of your hosts.

Security Improvements

You can now leverage vCenter to manage local accounts on your hosts. In the past, you had to connect to each host to make any updates.

Host Advanced System Settings will now help with the management of account failed login attempts and account lockout duration on the host. SSH ad vSphere web services connections are affected, but not the DCUI and console shell access. Password complexity i also centrally managed for all hosts in a cluster.

All administrator activities are logged against a host and help with better audit trails.

Two new lockdown modes – normal lockdown mode, users on the DCUI access list can access the DCUI. Strict lockdown mode is when the DCUI is stopped.


Geographically dispersed organizations can leverage NVIDIA GRID vGPU with Horizon. It feels like you have dedicated hardware. Commands from the VM pass straight through to the vGPU and bypass the hypervisor.

Virtual Machine Improvements

vSphere 6 will move you to virtual machine hardware version 11 which will also provide you with support for 128 vCPUs and 4TB of RAM.

Expanded Guest OS Support

You have additional support for some of the latest OS, like Ubuntu 14.04.1, Unbuntu 12.04.1 Oracle Linux 7, FreeBSD 9.3 and Mac OS X 10.10.

Windows Server Failover Clustering Improvements

Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft SQL Server 2012 have been added. This includes support for both WSFC and AlwaysOn Availability Groups. vSphere 6 includes support for the PVSCSI adapter with virtual machines running WSFC. VMware vSphere vMotion is now fully supported with Windows Server 2008 and later when using WSFC virtual machines that are clustered across physical hosts using physical-mode RDMs.

vCenter Server Architecture Improvements

We have two deployment models. The first, embedded, deploy the new Platform Services Controller (PSC) and the vCenter Server system on the same machine. The second, external, deploys the PSC and the vCenter Server instance on separate machines. All vCenter Server services—such as VMware vCenterTM Inventory Service, VMware vSphere Web Client, auto-deploy, and so on—are installed along with vCenter Server. There are no longer separate installers for these components.

Both deployment models support use of an embedded PostgreSQL database. For external database use, Windows vCenter Server deployments support SQL Server and Oracle Database; VMware vCenter Server ApplianceTM supports Oracle Database.

Certificate Management

The PSC contains the VMware Certificate Authority (VMCA). The VMCA is a root certificate authority (CA) that issues signed certificates to all vSphere 6.0 components via the solution users. This secures the environment by using a CA to generate certificates, rather than using self-signed certificates as in previous releases.

The VMCA can also be configured as a subordinate CA, enabling it to issue certificates based on an existing enterprise CA. Organizations that have an investment in a CA can easily incorporate the VMCA into their existing infrastructure.

vCenter Server Appliance

vCenter Server Appliance now has the same scalability numbers as the Windows installable vCenter Server: 1,000 hosts and 10,000 virtual machines. This is supported with the embedded PostgreSQL database or an external Oracle Database.

vSphere Web Client

vSphere Web Client includes significant performance and usability improvements, which This puts vSphere Web Client on a par with the standalone VMware vSphere Client.

vSphere vMotion

vSphere vMotion capabilities have been enhanced in this release, enabling users to perform live migration of virtual machines across virtual switches, vCenter Server systems, and long distances of up to 150ms RTT. vSphere administrators now can migrate across vCenter Server systems, enabling migration from a Windows version of vCenter Server to vCenter Server Appliance or vice versa, depending on specific requirements.

vSphere Network I/O Control Enhancements

vSphere Network I/O Control Version 3 enables administrators or service providers to reserve—that is, guarantee—bandwidth to a vNIC in a virtual machine or an entire distributed port group.

Let me know what you think about the latest release, 6.0. Will you be deploying this in the next 60 days? What feature are you looking forward to, please let me know on Twitter, and thanks so much for reading.