The latest release of VMware's vSphere virtualization platform introduces several capabilities to better accommodate hybrid cloud deployments and run modern applications.
With vSphere 6.7, which becomes generally available later this week, the virtualization leader looks to ease the administration of a wide variety of workloads, including cloud-native applications, analytics, artificial intelligence and edge computing. It also adds support for advanced hardware like GPUs and persistent memory, Himanshu Singh, group manager for vSphere product marketing, told CRN.
Customers had asked VMware to address management and visibility challenges arising from the proliferation of apps running in their data centers and public cloud environments, Singh said.
"We're continuing to make sure vSphere is the universal application platform for a variety of workloads, especially to support newer intelligent workloads," he said.
Concurrently, VMware released vSAN 6.7, an update to its hyper-converged virtual storage product.
The latest vSphere release makes it easier to connect on-premises clouds with those operated by VMware's Cloud Provider Program partners, including Amazon Web Services and IBM. Customers are increasingly leveraging those infrastructure providers, according to Singh, while also growing their private cloud footprints, including at the edge of their networks.
"Hybrid cloud is becoming the de facto for the enterprise in terms of how they see their overall IT environment," Singh said, and the new release advances the "seamless hybrid cloud experience for large vSphere environments."
A new feature called vCenter Hybrid Link Mode connects any vSphere-virtualized cloud, regardless of the version of the software, Singh said. That allows enterprises to delay upgrades for on-premises environments while still leveraging public cloud services.
"You just see it operationally as another vCenter," he said.
The latest update focuses on simplifying management to deliver a better user experience. It also advances security features first introduced in vSphere 6.5, the last production release. To that end, Trusted Platform Module 2.0 upgrades a feature that protects the hypervisor and guest operating systems, preventing malicious actors from tampering with virtual machines.
VMware also made it easier to leverage graphics processors for artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual desktop use cases through a continuing partnership with Nvidia, according to Singh.
In addition to delivering capabilities for running virtual machines powered by GPUs, VMware worked with other hardware vendors to improve application performance by adding support for persistent memory.
Many of the upgrades in the coming release yield higher-level performance, Singh said.
VMware evaluates its virtualization platform by clocking vCenter Operations Per Second. Compared to version 6.5, that metric has doubled with the latest release. VMware has also delivered a three-fold reduction in memory usage, and three-times faster operations related to its DRS (Distributed Resource Scheduler) by which clusters share resources and management, Singh said.
"When you start picking up larger environments across multiple locations, it's really key to have this kind of efficiency," he said.
VMware also introduced other efficiencies to speed operations. The 6.7 release eliminates one of the two reboots that are needed when patches or upgrades are installed.
To save even more time when upgrading software, a new option called vSphere Quick Boot allows users to completely skip some hardware initialization steps when they have specified third-party hardware, making the remaining reboot a shorter affair.