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Diving into the most recent vSphere updates

VMware has made two significant updates to vSphere 6. With the next version due out soon, let's take a look at where vSphere 6 stands right now.

VMware made a lot of changes and revealed a lot of new features when vSphere 6.0 became available in February 2015. Since then, users have come to take advantage of those features and VMware has provided updates along the way.

With VMworld 2016 just around the corner in Las Vegas, it's very possible VMware will take the next step with vSphere and announce a new version. Although vSphere 6 won't go away, a newer version could mean less attention.

Here's a look at recent vSphere updates. In terms of changes, there was a pair of updates, Update 1 and Update 2. Other tips include VMware focusing on HTML5 and what kind of vSphere design is the safest.

Technical improvements, new features accompany vSphere updates

Before VMware makes major vSphere updates and changes the number on its title, the company released a pair of updates, aptly titled Update 1 and Update 2. The first update brought a web-based interface to manage the appliance, which was in previous versions, but dropped when vSphere 6 originally came out.

Update 1 also brought technical improvements to ESXi, VSAN and vSphere Replication. The updates to vSphere Replication allow for improved recovery point objective when used with VSAN. VSphere Update 2 improved the Ethernet speed, supporting up to 25 Gb and 50 Gb link speeds. The vSphere 6 update also coincided with VSAN 6.2.

The peak of vSphere could mean the peak of VMware

While VMware is releasing vSphere updates and planning for a new version likely to debut this year, its numbers are on the decline. The company announced a decline in both its compute bookings and compute license bookings in its annual earnings report.

The company also said that it expects the decline to continue. Since it seems vSphere has reached its peak, does that mean the company has as well? The issue is that the number of data centers that need to be virtualized is rapidly shrinking. On top of that, more and more users are turning to the public cloud. VMware has developed products that saw incredible growth, like VSAN and NSX, which are tied to vSphere and could keep it afloat.

VMware's future lies with HTML5

When VMware introduced the Web Client in vSphere 5.1, it became clear that the C# client's days were numbered. The company finally turned a corner and the Web Client will see major changes in the upcoming release.

The current vSphere 6 Web Client is well-suited for most vSphere management tasks. There aren't a ton of requirements for it, and it's extensible, allowing organizations to tailor the tool for specific data centers.

Since the ESXi Embedded Host Client Fling has experienced great success, it should come as no surprise that engineers cooked up an HTML5 version for the vSphere Web Client at the VMware Labs. Based on users that have already used it in beta or have deployed it, the new HTML5 Web Client Fling has received positive responses so far, so it should be quite easy to roll this out natively with the next release of vSphere.

Simple vSphere is better for small businesses

With all of the options available for a vSphere 6 design, it can be tempting to go overboard and take the complex route. One of the first things admins have to do with vSphere is decide how much they want to stray away from the default settings.

In terms of small businesses, specifically, it can turn into a big mess if a design becomes too complicated. On top of individual cases that vary, there are cost and capacity limits to keep track of that most -- if not all -- businesses have.

The bottom line is to keep things simple if you want to avoid a disaster. The default settings, or minor changes, will usually suffice for a small business. Smaller organizations rarely have good documentation, but when they do, they generally have a difficult time locating it. If you stick with the default, it will be easier if there ever is an issue.

What we want to see in the next vSphere update

The vSphere 6 updates have come and now, with VMworld 2016 fast approaching, it looks like the next version of vSphere will be out soon.

It appears that it will be named vSphere 6.5, and we have a couple of ideas of what we'd like to see featured when it becomes generally available. One feature we'd like to see is VMware introduce the capability to update a running vCenter cluster without losing the ability to manage the platform in a vSphere.

Another request on our wish list isn't a new feature or a new technology -- it's simple a clean release. As we saw in the last release, there were vSphere updates that quickly followed. We're hoping VMware has their ducks in a row when the next version becomes available.

Next Steps

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This was last published in June 2016

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