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VMware vSphere 6


Update: Feb 2, 2015
Follow this link to see what eventually made it to the vSphere 6 GA.


In this morning’s General session, VMware disclosed some very cool new/improved features for vSphere 6.

vSphere 6 which is in public beta now includes the following Improvements:

  • Fault Tolerance in vSphere 6 will support 4 vCPUs;
  • vSphere 6 will support cross vCenter vMotion;
  • vSphere 6 long distance vMotion is enhanced;
  • Using VMware NSX, network properties will now be vMotioned as well when using long distance vMotion.
  • Content Library.
  • Virtual Volumes (vVols)

VMware Fault Tolerance

First of all, VMware Fault Tolerance (FT) is going to support multiprocessor  virtual machines. VMware FT allows continuous availability of multiprocessor  virtual machines with literally zero downtime and zero data loss, even surviving server failures, while staying completely transparent to the guest software stack, requiring absolutely no configuration of in-guest software. This feature has been available from VMware vSphere 4 but it was only supported with single processor virtual machines. This has been the primary reason that VMware FT is seldom implemented.

Multiprocessor support for VMware FT has been the number one improvement for VMware FT requested by end-users.

With VMware vSphere 6 VMware FT will support 4 vCPU virtual machines.

VMware vMotion enhancements

vMotion is one the features which pushed VMware VI/vSphere into enterprise IT infrastructures. vMotion is the one feature which instantly shows the power of virtualization. From VMware VI to the latest vSphere 5.5, vMotion was only possible within the boundaries of the same Datacenter and vCenter. So vMotion could be performed in a single cluster and across clusters in the same Datacenter managed by a single vCenter Server.

With vSphere 6.0 it will be possible to perform a vMotion across vCenters Servers, across virtual switches, across long distances and routed vMotion networks aligning vMotion capabilities with larger data center environments. vMotion across vCenters will simultaneously change compute, storage, networks, and management. This leverages vMotion with unshared storage and will support local, metro and cross-continental distances.

Cross vCenter vMotion

When a VM moves across vCenters, HA properties are preserved and DRS anti-affinity rules are honoured. The standard vMotion compatibility checks are executed. Cross vCenter vMotion requires 250 Mbps network bandwidth per vMotion operation.

Before VMware vSphere 6, vMotion required Layer 2 connectivity for the vMotion network. With vSphere 6.0 vMotion can be performed using routed vMotion networks.

Another great addition in vSphere 6.0 is being able to do Long-distance vMotion. The idea is to be able to support cross-continental US distances with up to 100+ms RTTs while still maintaining standard vMotion guarantees. Use cases are:

  • Disaster avoidance
  • SRM and disaster avoidance testing
  • Multi-site load balancing and capacity utilisation
  • Follow-the-sun scenarios

You can also use Long-distance vMotion to live move virtual machines onto vSphere-based public clouds, including VMware VCHS now called vCloud Air.

 Content Library

Content library is a centralized and distributed location to store handy files you need when installing, maintaining your infrastructure. Like when you’re installing a new VM, you need an ISO-file on a central datastore. Most of the time administrators keep their own copy polluting your infrastructure with all versions and duplicates of the same content. The vSphere 6 Content Library should solve this, a single location, which can be replicated to another vCenter Server at the remote site.

Content to place on the content library:

  • ISO-files
  • VM Templates
  • Virtual appliances (OVF)
  • Scripts


  • One central location to manage all content.
  • Support for other file types as well.
  • This content needs to be stored once, but can be shared many times (vCenter, VCD, vCenter and VCD).
  • Deployment from templates, ISO-file, appliances to host or cluster.
  • Deployment into Virtual Data Center.

Virtual Volumes

Virtual Volumes (vVols) is one the new features in vSphere 6.0. Virtual Volumes is part of VMware’s Software Defined Storage story which is split between the control plane with Virtual Data Services which is all policy driven and the data plane with Virtual Data Plane which is where the data is actually stored. This completely changes the way storage is presented, managed and used by vSphere/ESXi, making the storage system virtual machine-centric. With current versions of VMware vSpher all storage is LUN-centric or volume-centric.

With VAAI in vSphere 5, storage operations can be offloaded to the storage arrays. vVols takes this a step further and makes storage arrays aware of individual VMDK files.

Virtual Volumes-vVol