vSphere scales up, if you're willing to ditch a switch or server

Update 1 for v. 6.5 gets 90% of the way to heaven on the client

VMware's popped out the first update to vSphere 6.5 and it's unusually interesting for this sort of minor release.

Scale is the headline-grabber. You can now run 50,000 VMs in a powered-on vSphere Domain, up from 30,000. That Domain can now register 70,000 VMs, up from 50,000. To wrangle all those VMs, you can now run 15 vCenter Servers in a Domain, up from ten. Host count is up too, from 4,000 to 5,000.

Who needs to operate at that kind of extra-large scale? The Register strongly suspects we're just weeks away from the launch of Vmware-on-AWS and Bezos' Bit Barns do like to operate at extreme scale.

If you want to go large with Update 1, the price is ditching virtual switches other than VMware's own. VMware flagged this change in March 2017. You may also need to ditch a server or PC as Update 1's release notes point out that Intel's Xeon 51xx, Xeon 30xx, Core 2 duo 6xxx, Xeon 32xx, Core 2 quad 6xxx, Xeon 53xx and Xeon 72xx/73xx CPUs are no longer supported.

There's also a new on-ramp for those running vSphere 6.0 Update 3, who could not previously make the leap to 6.5.0 without leaving behind some security enhancements. That's fixed now.

The vSphere HTML 5 web client keeps growing up and now “has about 90% of general workflows completed.” That's an improvement on previous versions but still a bit behind the unsupported “Fling” version of the client. But it also has a glitch: the known issues for the new release include news that “The HTML5-based vSphere Web Client user interface might not be available in Windows Server 2016”, apparently due to a Java hassle.

Upgrading will also give you access to a long list of bug fixes that tidy up some minor messes.

Virtual SAN has been tweaked, too. Version 6.6.1 now integrates with vSphere Update Manager so that updates can take place in synch with vSphere. There's also “a new Performance Diagnostics feature that analyzes the performance of a given vSAN cluster against previously executed benchmarks” and a feature that blinks a drive's LEDs to help admins who have to find them in a server.

Those of you contemplating a VSAN can now also tap a licence that allows native encryption and stretched clusters on a per-VM pricing model for smaller sites. Horizon VDI users also have a new licence option allowing upgrades to vSAN Enterprise with crypto on stretched clusters. ®

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