vSphere 6 Availability Enhancements

With the introduction of vSphere 6, many new enhancements have been introduced. Given that IT is primarily delivered as a service within a business, the availability of our environment is often high priority. This new version of vSphere introduces the following enhancements:

  • Better vMotion Capabilities
  • Multi-Processor Fault Tolerance (FT) (up to 4 vCPUs)
  • App HA now supports more applications
  • vSphere Replication has better RPO (15 minutes) and scalability (2000 VMs)

There are other availability enhancements in vSphere 6, but the previous list really called my attention. Specifically the vMotion capabilities. In previous versions, moving VMs between vCenters was a little cumbersome and required a lot of manual intervention such as scripts or even down time. Such capability is now possible with vSphere where VMs can be moved not only across datacenters, but also across long distances (greater than 100ms round trip time. It is now possible to perform vMotion tasks across virtual switches. However, it is important to understand that the vCenters have to be part of the same SSO domain for this to work.

What does all this mean to me? Well, in my opinion, these enhancements can be extremely handy for disaster prevention exercises. Take a scenario where there is an advanced notice about a hurricane, or flood. Let’s assume that that a stretched VLAN or VXLAN has been configured across 2 data centers with a reasonable rtt (about 100 ms or less). In this case, the option exists to move some powered-on VMs to another vCenter within the same subnet in order to prevent down time for the business. Of course, this can also be accomplished by SRM if already implemented.

These enhancements as well as the ones in the network, managements, and storage realms makes vSphere 6 impossible to ignore, and set VMware apart from its competitors.

VVols: All Systems Go

After a long wait and development/marketing effort from VMware, VVols are finally ready to take over your datacenter(s).

VVols are the next generation, integration between vSphere and storage arrays. VVols leverage a new set of APIs (VASA) that allows vSphere to communicate with the array and provide additional features at the VM level. VVols are based on storage policies, which in turn allows for further automation between products.

This storage abstraction provided by VVols, allows for the control of storage, not only at the VM level but also at the VDMK level. This is a great feature, as now you can control VMDKs as separate entities. The connections between the hosts and VVols are done through an abstraction layer known as Protocol Endpoints, which provides the user the freedom to use several protocols at once such as FC, iSCSI, or NFS.

There are a few requirements for VVols. One of them is that the array vendor can support VVols. The APIs from the vendor (VASA), as well as other vendor requirements. In the case of a storage array vendor such as NetApp, VSC is also required.

The Policy-Based Provisioning provided by VVols brings us even closer to the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC)

 

VVOLS