Part 1: What’s new in vSphere 6.5?

In November 2016, VMware announced the release of the latest version of vSphere 6.5. There is lot of significant changes made to the world’s most popular hypervisor. This post will describe some of the most important updates including the enhancements to the vCSA(vCenter Server Applicance), VUM (vSphere Update Manager), Availability, Storage and Networking enhancements.
However this post will only include vCSA and vSphere Web client related enhancements.

For the first time in history, vCSA has the VUM integrated to it by default and finally removes dependency on Windiws based vCenter Server for using VUM. Also vCSA finally surpasses the Windows sibling with the some of the exclusive features such as :
1) Migration Tool integrated with vCSA
2) Improved vCSA management with VAMI (port 5480)
3) Native high availability
4) Native backup and restore
5) vSphere Web client enhancements
6) HTML-5 Based vSphere client

Migration Tool provides easy access to the vCSA from the previous versions from Windows 5.5 and 6.0, It helps in migrating the VUM baselines and updates to the vCSA 6.5. During the migration process, the vCenter Server configuration, inventory, and alarm data are migrated by default. Data is migrated from any database supported in vSphere 5.5 or 6.0 to an embedded vPostgres database. This applies to databases running embedded or remote Microsoft SQL, Oracle, or PostgreSQL databases.

The new improved vCSA management(VAMI) HTML5 Client provides details not only about CPU and memory statistics,
but also shows network and database statistics, disk space usage and health data. This further reduces the command line usage for for simple monitoring and operational tasks. The below picture is a screen shot of the VAMI console

The new vCSA Management interface is still accessed via port 5480 for both vCenter Servers or Platform Services Controller appliance, if it is deployed external to vCenter Server. This is a HTML5 based console that has some of very new features that will help us know the database space consumption, which provides excellent insight into PostgreSQL database disk usage. This in turn helps prevent crashes due to the lack of available space.

Another new addition in vSphere 6.5 is High Availability feature available for vCSA. This solution consists of Active vCSA, Passive vCSA, and Witness vCSA that are cloned from the existing vCenter Server instance. The VMware vCenter High Availability (vCenter HA) cluster can be enabled, disabled, or removed at any time. There is also a maintenance mode that prevents planned maintenance from causing an unwanted failover.

vCSA High Availability uses two types of replication between the active and passive nodes: Native PostgreSQL synchronous
replication is used for the vCenter Server database; a separate asynchronous file system replication mechanism
is used for key data outside of the database.

There are couple of methods for setting up vCSA High Availability :
1) Basic Workflow
2) Advanced Workflow

Basic workflow : The basic workflow is used mostly in which all vCenter HA nodes run within the same cluster. This workflow is very simple and automatically creates the passive and witness nodes. If we have vSphere DRS enabled on the cluster then it automatically creates appropriate anti-affinity rules. In basic workflow the users must manually choose specific destination hosts, datastores, and networks for each node.

Advanced workflow : Advanced workflow can be used when the active, passive, and witness nodes are to be deployed to different clusters, vCenter Server instances, or even other data centers. In this method , the user must manually clone the existing vCenter Server instance for the passive and witness nodes and to then place those nodes in the chosen locations with the appropriate IP address settings.

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