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VMware vSphere 6 ready for prime time

The imminent arrival of vSphere 6 will bring several new features, some that have been in development for quite some time.

While VMware has been making waves with its cloud offering, end-user computing advances, network virtualization product and a hyperconverged infrastructure appliance, the foundation of the company rests on its server virtualization vSphere product.

With the arrival of this next installment -- expected to be named VMware vSphere 6 -- due out very soon, we have packaged a few of the tips and features related to this update below.

Will authentication be handled any differently?

It could be said VMware's track record with its single-sign-on feature in vSphere has been bumpy at best. The company has changed the underpinnings of the authentication service from vSphere 5.1 to vSphere 5.5 and caused some heartburn for administrators when the upgrade process did not go as planned. This tip from Rob Bastiaansen details the adjustments to the authentication service in vSphere 6 and how upgrades should go a little more smoothly.

What are some of the storage enhancements in vSphere 6?

VMware introduced a new way to pool storage for VMs when it introduced the general availability of Virtual SAN (VSAN) in early 2014. The virtualization company is looking to make more storage additions to vSphere with Virtual Volumes, which brings aboard policy-based storage management and is described in further detail by contributor Mike Preston in this tip. VMware also plans to add more storage functionality to the hypervisor with the introduction of vSphere APIs for I/O, or VAIO, filtering, which will assist with storage performance and allow backups to run in a more efficient manner.

What are the newer protections for workloads in vSphere 6?

One of the key functions that protect workloads is the vMotion technology in vSphere that keeps VMs running even when they bounce to different servers in the data center. VMware plans to take the wraps off the next version of vMotion by allowing VMs to continue running when they are being moved between data centers with long-distance vMotion. Moving a VM to another vCenter meant losing certain data and properties, but vSphere 6 will have cross-vCenter vMotion to make moving VMs to other networks a more seamless proposition. While VMware has had fault tolerance (FT) for a while, it supports only one virtual CPU (vCPU). This makes FT just about useless for mission-critical applications because just about all of those run with more than one vCPU. While multi-vCPU FT has been in technical preview for a few years, VMware announced the functionality was coming in vSphere 6 at VMworld 2014.

What should VMware do to improve the Web Client?

There are several ways to manage your vSphere infrastructure, but VMware has been steadily steering customers away from the desktop client to the Web Client by making some features unavailable anywhere else, such as VMware VSAN. There are rumors of a Web Client based on HTML5 in vSphere 6 similar to what is already available in Horizon View. Trevor Pott shares his thoughts on what VMware should do with the Web Client to make the life of administrators a little easier.

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