VMware vSphere 7 – Improvements and Architecture Wrap-up

Finally, five years after the release of vSphere 6 in 2015, the time has come for the next level of the first class enterprise hypervisor ESXi and it’s management environment VCenter Server. After several announcements, the new version 7.0 GA was released, public downloadable, at beginning of April 2020. Meanwhile there was a lot of time to stage the first upgrades and evaluate the new features. Read on and check out my insights…

What are the improvements and drawbacks?

On one hand there were some fundamental improvements like …

  1. Greater (storage) vMotion and DRS performance: Especially monster VMs benefit from shorter stun time and overall higher throughput. I see SAP Hana VMs smiling. This means live migrating VMs is much faster and with less service disruption. Nice!
  2. VCenter on Windows is dead – this is the reason why VCenter is now exclusively available as Photon OS based appliance. Already deployed some appliances and the process is nice and clean.
  3. Furthermore this appliance is just available with embedded platform service controller (PSC) – no more architectural heterogeneity, all services in one.
  4. VCenter flash client is dead as well – hail to the new king: HTML 5 client. This one took a long time – even 6.7 HTML 5 didn’t match 100% feature set of the flash client. HTML 5 is super fast and has a really fresh and well-arranged design. I like that.
  5. Even more happend in the VCenter – forget about update manager – it’s now called life-cycle manager and it really lives up to it’s name. Above all, streamlined, new features to keep your hosts standardized and up to date.
  6. vSAN, the software defined storage part of the vSphere SDDC, now offers not only load-balanced and fault tolerant NFS shares but also cloud native storage. It’s awesome but don’t forget: vSphere services like operating VMs on these NFS shares is not supported.
  7. A new security enhanced cluster flavor is available now, called vSphere trusted authority (vTA). It is especially suited to run KMS related workloads.
  8. NVME over fabric is now supported as well. This means you get ultra low latency access to storage devices, native NVME protocol over Ethernet or FC included.

The road to excellence…

On the other hand there are drawbacks…

  1. Max cores per socket with one vSphere socket license is now capped at 32 physical cores. If you bought a new crushing AMD EPYC with 64 cores you gonna cry. This is a crucial constraint that will become more significant in the future if you plan to use high core density with lower clock speed. Do the math.
  2. The new VMX 17 is not in sync with the workstation version (currently 15). Just be aware of that – no real drawback.

What is the new architecture?

vSphere 7 introduced a new overall concept of providing both legacy and cloud native workloads. This is called vSphere 7 with Kubernetes. Actually, you can now operate containers directly on the ESXi host with a kubelet style spherelet. This is preferred for high performance and secure container workloads. Furthermore the cluster style to enable this features is called supervisor cluster.

In addition to that, you are now able to create full upstream compliant Kubernetes clusters with the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG) feature. Completely integrated with NSX-T 3.0, offering automatic container-network deployments and load balancing.

So in this DEV-OPS style environment the workloads and containers, deployed by the developer in his namespace, are completely transparent to the vSphere admin with the OPS hat :-). Finally!

For conclusion, vSphere 7 with kubernetes is just available on vCloud Foundation, which has a price tag on it … I don’t dare to mention.

What’s next… ?

Currently I am redesigning my homelab to enable a nested vCloud Foundation deployment, containing vSphere, vSAN and NSX-T.

Furthermore, during my attendance at virtual VMworld in October 2020 I am already registered, to prove my recent appropriated knowledge, at a bunch of certifications: VCP-DCV 2020, VCP-DM 2020, VCP-NSX-T 3.0 and VCP-CMA 2020.

Besides that … my marathon preparation for “Berlin Marathon 2020” is at peak. In June and July I was running three marathons and one 50k (I know that was too much). With a current best mark of 3:15h. Will write a detailed update on that… VO2 Max: 59 🙂

Last but not least…

This is really a year of transformation, I didn’t write for months because I also moved from Berlin Mitte to Charlottenburg and changed my employer as well. For further information please visit my profile on XING.

Stay healthy, happy and save.

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