What’s new in VMware vSphere 7
The new generation of vSphere for existing enterprise apps. Available in two editions.
VMware vSphere 7, the new generation of vSphere, is now generally available. This major new release brings a massive improvement in the work experience of vSphere administrators, folks who are responsible for the security, performance, and resiliency of the infrastructure and applications that provide all the key services to their organizations.
Watch the vSphere 7 digital launch event for the executive view, a technical overview, and a customer perspective with the hosts of siliconANGLE’s theCUBE.
The purpose of this major release from vSphere is two-fold. The first is to embed containers and Kubernetes into vSphere, unifying them with virtual machines as first class citizens. This enables all vSphere administrators to become Kubernetes administrators and easily deliver new services to their developers. More on this in part two of this blog post, when vSphere 7 with Kubernetes becomes available as part of VMware Cloud Foundation 4. If you’re interested in vSphere 7 with Kubernetes, please visit the VMware Cloud Foundation blog site to learn more.
The second purpose of this major release is to deliver an essential building block of the cloud operating model to vSphere admins for running existing enterprise applications with vSphere 7. vSphere 7 addresses key challenges faced by our vSphere admins in areas of lifecycle management, security, and performance and resiliency needed by business-critical applications, AI/ML applications and latency sensitive applications.
vSphere admins spend a significant amount of time on the lifecycle management of infrastructure. Lifecycle management includes ensuring that their systems are up-to-date and that the latest firmware for the underlying compute, storage and networking are installed and working. It also includes installing patches provided by VMware and other industry vendors, as updates are released in response to security vulnerabilities and as enhancements are deployed. Upgrading to the latest vSphere software version often takes a dedicated amount of time too, since each host needs to be updated, and the current process involves manual steps to validate. A typical vCenter Server upgrade would include migrating external PSCs and the vCenter Server from Windows OS to a vCenter Server appliance. Upgrading vSphere clearly involved many different activities and tools that required significant planning.
vSphere 7 offers a much simpler software architecture with a single upgrade workflow. With vSphere 7, the only requirement is to upgrade vCenter Server; there is no need to upgrade other external components such as the external PSC (Platform Services Controller) or load balancers. This results in a more efficient upgrade process given the fewer nodes that need to be managed.
Also, vSphere 7 enables the upgrades of entire ESXi clusters (versus a single ESXi host at a time) using a desired state model with cluster image management. The desired state model of the upgrade validates each host’s configuration until it matches the desired state. This simplifies and automates the host upgrade significantly for the entire ESXi cluster, once customers have upgraded to vSphere 7. Note that customers would have to upgrade to vSphere 7 to take advantage of the desired state model for future upgrades.
vSphere admins are frequently and deeply involved in security operations related to infrastructure. Implementing data privacy and security policies and performing periodic compliance validation becomes a joint responsibility of IT and security organizations. The problem is that there are many ways in the industry to implement security policies, including implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA). Life for vSphere admins is even more complicated because many customers already have MFA in their corporate identity management systems.
vSphere 7 solves this problem using Identity Federation, which means vCenter Server can integrate with an enterprise identity provider without involving the vAdmins and vCenter Server. This simplifies the vSphere Admin’s job and helps reduce compliance audit scope.
vSphere 7 also enables vSphere admins to protect the integrity of your virtual infrastructure with remote attestation by a trusted computing base. This capability is delivered by vSphere Trust Authority. With vSphere Trust Authority, vSphere admins conduct security checks on a few strongly trusted hosts, validating the operating system, firmware, credentials, etc. These trusted systems are then compared to other running systems, with any differences being identified, so they can be evaluated for security vulnerabilities.
Performance and Resiliency
Whether customers are running database applications that demand a large VM such as SAP HANA or Oracle back ends, or AI/ML applications using GPU resources, or latency sensitive applications that require granular access to timing information, the needs for large and high performing applications continues to grow.
vSphere 7 delivers massive improvements to Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), vMotion, and Assignable Hardware to meet the needs of enterprise applications.
- Improved DRS – Now using a workload centric approach for efficient resource allocation and live migration of workloads, the improved DRS concentrates less on the ESXi host utilization and prioritizes the VM condition – think of it as how “happy” your virtual machine is. The VM DRS score is calculated every minute, allowing vSphere to provide a much more granular optimization of resources.
- Large application vMotion – vSphere admins can extend vSphere’s vMotion capability to large workloads such as SAP HANA and Oracle back ends. Previously, these workloads necessitated a longer stun-time during the switchover phase. With vSphere 7 and the greatly improved vMotion logic to transfer only those pages that are desired by the workload, stun time is reduced drastically for large workloads.
- Assignable Hardware – With vSphere 7, vSphere admins can provision efficient pools of accelerated hardware for AI/ML applications with supported GPUs. Assignable Hardware will now interact with DRS when that VM is powered on (initial placement) to find an ESXi host that has such a device available, claim that device, and register the VM to that host. If there is a host failure and vSphere HA kicks in, Assignable Hardware also allows for that VM to be restarted on a suitable host with the required hardware available.
- Precision Time Protocol (PTP) – vSphere 7 delivers software timestamp based PTP support for applications that need millisecond-level time accuracy.
Now is the time to start planning your upgrade.
- To learn about the upgrade process, pricing and packaging for vSphere 7 and upgrading your vSphere license keys, please visit the vSphere Upgrade Center. If you have questions, you can visit Resources in the Upgrade Center or contact VMware Support.
- To learn more about the vSphere 7 release, please visit the key product resources onvSphere Central, vSphere 7 blog or vSphere Academy.
Also, remember that End of General Support (EOGS) for vSphere 6.0 occurred on March 12, 2020. Please read the 6.0 EOGS blog for more details and upgrade to vSphere 7 as soon as possible to take advantage of the new capabilities.
Thank you for helping us improve vSphere 7 by giving us feedback, and being open about the challenges you face in your operating environments. Please continue to provide feedback through all channels, including our user groups and the VMware Technology Network . You can learn also more about vSphere 7 through our VMUG webcast series and through the resources below. Thank you for your continued confidence in vSphere!
Key vSphere 7 upgrade resources:
- Visit the vSphere 7 Upgrade Center
- Visit the vSphere Central
- Watch the vSphere 7 launch event to hear executive, technical, and customer perspectives on vSphere 7