With the release of VMware vSphere 6.7 Update 1, VMware has set a new bar for features and functionality for vSphere releases. The new vSphere 6.7 Update 1 release is chocked full of new features that are essential for taking vSphere environments beyond where we see them today. It also sets the stage for future vSphere releases and what they will be capable of. When we think about virtualization, VMware started the whole movement over a decade ago and it is very interesting to see where we are today in the world of virtualization and software-defined infrastructure. While VMware stood alone in the beginning, now there are many virtualization platforms and software-defined infrastructure offerings. However, VMware is arguably still the perceived leader in the pack and continues to push innovation in the world of virtualization with each new iteration of vSphere.

In this post, we will take a look at the top 5 new features of VMware vSphere 6.7 Update 1 and how each of the features allows VMware to continue to create innovative new software-defined approaches for the enterprise.

Top 5 New Features of VMware vSphere 6.7 Update 1

There are many new features that are contained inside of VMware vSphere 6.7 Update 1. However, let’s take a look at the top 5 new features and how each of those features contribute to this being the most powerful version of VMware vSphere released to date. The features we want to take a look at include:

  • New Fully-Featured HTML 5 interface
  • New VMware vSAN capabilities and features
  • New vCenter Convergence Utility
  • vSphere Platinum Edition with App Defense
  • Enhanced Content Library

Let’s go through the list of new features to see in detail how each feature provides powerful new functionality within the vSphere environment.

Fully-Featured HTML 5 Interface

This is perhaps the most anticipated new feature across the past few vSphere releases – the fully-featured HTML 5 client. For the past several versions of vSphere, VMware has increasingly added functionality to the HTML 5 vSphere client. However, there have always been features and functionality that have not been possible within the HTML 5 client and had to be performed within the old Flex/Flash client that we have all grown to hate. While the Flex client has gotten better over the past several releases with performance improvements, the writing has been on the wall that this management interface is dead. With major browsers such as Chrome and others making it increasingly more difficult to utilize flash content due to the security implications, it is great to see VMware take this initiative seriously and get this accomplished.

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With the new fully-functional HTML 5 vSphere client found in vSphere 6.7 Update 1, you will no longer need to flip back and forth between the various clients to accomplish administrative tasks. From managing vSAN, virtual networking, NSX, storage management, and many others, you will easily be able to accomplish these tasks within the HTML 5 vSphere client found in vSphere 6.7 Update 1. With the HTML 5 client, VMware has implemented the “clarity” interface which is extremely easy to look at, performs extremely well, and is arranged such that everything is easily found and intuitively placed even if you don’t know where to look.

It is clear that VMware didn’t simply “port” over the Flex client into HTML 5. They clearly took a look at where everything lived and rewrote the HTML 5 client so that workflows were arranged much better and easier to get to than what was found in the Flex client. This is a major win for VMware. They promised this would happen in the fall of 2018 and they have delivered. VMware administrators all over are thrilled to be able to now utilize the fully-featured HTML 5 client and reap the benefits of a much easier, more performant, and streamlined interface that is well-suited for modern browsers.

New VMware vSAN Capabilities and Features

One of the hottest areas of virtualization today is software-defined storage. Organizations today are becoming more software-defined, especially in the realm of storage. Most organizations are looking at software-defined storage for upcoming SAN refreshes and with the technologies that are now available, software-defined storage and hyper-converged solutions provide many great benefits to organizations looking to refresh storage for virtual environments.

VMware vSphere 6.7 Update 1 vSAN provides many great new benefits for providing software-defined storage to enterprises running vSphere. What are those new benefits with vSAN 6.7 Update 1?

There are several new features with vSAN in vSphere 6.7 Update 1 including the following:

  • Update Storage Controller Firmware with Update Manager
  • Trim/Unmap Support
  • New Maintenance Mode Enhancement
  • Proactive Network Testing
  • Historical Data Reporting

The vSphere Update Manager integration now includes the ability to update storage controller firmware along with applying software updates which means hardware and software updates as pertains to storage can be taken care of in one operation. The new vSphere 6.7 Update 1 vSAN release allows Trim/Unmap operations in-guest. This means vSAN can clean up the size of VMDK files if in-guest files are deleted. The VMDK will shrink with the new Trim/Unmap support. Maintenance mode now performs even more proactive testing to simulate ESXi hosts being placed in maintenance mode to ensure data availability during host evacuation. The proactive tests are further failing safes to ensure data is available during maintenance mode operations. VMware has reinstituted the network performance test in vSphere 6.7 Update 1 that specifically uses unicast traffic to test network infrastructure for vSAN. This helps to ensure the health of the underlying network infrastructure for vSAN performance. The new historical data reporting in vSphere 6.7 Update 1 allows looking at historical capacity usage and allows forecasting future capacity usage.

New vCenter Convergence Utility

For larger vSphere environments, in the past, VMware has recommended using the external Platform Services Controller or PSC. However, VMware’s stance has changed. They have introduced a new vCenter Convergence Utility that allows migrating from the external solution to the embedded PSC solution which is a much simpler architecture than the external PSC. The vCenter Convergence Utility is a CLI based tool that installs the components needed on the vCenter Server for the embedded PSC solution. This allows migrating over to the embedded PSC solution and decommissioning the external PSC.

vSphere Platinum Edition with AppDefense

The new offering from VMware for vSphere 6.7 Update 1 is the Platinum Edition. Platinum Edition comes with AppDefense which is an application whitelisting type technology that baselines an operating system and learns which activity is normal. Once the baseline is created, AppDefense is able to flag anything that is an anomaly to normal system behavior and works in conjunction with NSX to effectively isolate a VM that is displaying malicious activity. The Platinum Edition comes with all the security features, including AppDefense rolled into one so that vSphere administrators have the normal vSphere 6.7 Update 1 feature and functionality, including the AppDefense security mechanisms.

Enhanced Content Library

The vSphere Content Library is essentially a container object for VM templates, vApp templates, and other types of files. New with vSphere 6.7 Update 1 is the ability to import OVA templates from HTTPS endpoints as well as from local storage into the content library. The VM templates importability is also new with vSphere 6.7 Update 1. This gives vSphere administrators more functionality from the new content library features found in vSphere 6.7 Update 1.

Concluding Thoughts

The top 5 new features of VMware vSphere 6.7 Update 1 are powerful and contain features and functionality that many administrators have been waiting on for quite some time.

The new HTML 5 interface is certainly one of those. VMware has delivered on providing the fully-featured HTML 5 interface which will allow administrators to completely deprecate the use of the aging Flex client. The new vSAN features take the vSAN solution to the next level with performance and reliability as well as making the best use of available storage on vSAN datastores with the Trim/Unmap and historical data charting which are both new to vSphere 6.7 Update 1. Other new features such as the vCenter Convergence Utility, vSphere Platinum Edition, and the enhanced content library round out the top 5 features found in the new vSphere 6.7 Update 1 release. This is certainly going to be the release that many will be looking at as a target for upcoming vSphere upgrades. With a great mix of features, functionality, performance, security, and reliability improvements, this is the best vSphere release to date.

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