vSphere 6.0 New Features–All in One Place

Recently Vmware introduced vSphere 6.0 and offered great features and compatibility for your infrastructure.

Here I collected all of there features in a single place so you don’t need to shuffle different websites.


• Increased Scalability – Increased configuration maximums: Virtual machines will support up to 128 virtual CPUs (vCPUs) and 4TB virtual RAM (vRAM). Hosts will support up to 480 CPU and 12TB of RAM, 1,024 virtual machines per host, and 64 nodes per cluster.

Expanded Support – Expanded support for the latest x86 chip sets, devices, drivers, and guest operating systems. For a complete list of guest operating systems supported, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.

• Amazing Graphics – NVIDIA GRID™ vGPU™ delivers the full benefits of NVIDIA hardware-accelerated graphics to virtualized solutions.

• Instant Clone* – Technology, built in vSphere 6.0, that lays that foundation to rapidly clone and deploy virtual machines, as much as 10x faster than what is currently possible today


• Transform Storage for your Virtual Machines – vSphere Virtual Volumes* enables your external storage arrays to become VM-aware. Storage Policy-Based Management (SPBM) allows common management across storage tiers and dynamic storage class of service automation. Together they enable exact combinations of data services (such as clones and snapshots) to be instantiated more efficiently on a per VM basis.


Network IO Control – New support for per-VM Distributed vSwitch bandwidth reservations to guarantee isolation and enforce limits on bandwidth.

Multicast Snooping – Supports IGMP snooping for IPv4 packet and MLD snooping for IPv6 packets in VDS. Improves performance and scale with multicast traffic.

Multiple TCP/IP Stack for vMotion – Allows vMotion traffic a dedicated networking stack. Simplifies IP address management with a dedicated default gateway for vMotion traffic.


• vMotion Enhancements – Perform non-disruptive live migration of workloads across virtual switches and vCenter Servers and over distances of up to 100ms RTT. The astonishing 10x increase in RTT offered in long-distance vMotion now makes it possible for data centers physically located in New York and London to migrate live workloads between one another.

• Replication-Assisted vMotion* – Enables customers, with active-active replication set up between two sites, to perform a more efficient vMotion resulting in huge time and resource savings – as much as 95 percent more efficient depending on the size of the data.

• Fault Tolerance (up to 4-vCPUs) – Expanded support for softwarebased fault tolerance for workloads with up to 4 virtual CPUs.


• Content Library – Centralized repository that provides simple and effective management for content including virtual machine templates, ISO images and scripts. With vSphere Content Library, it is now possible to store and manage content from a central location and share through a publish/subscribe model.

• Cross-vCenter Clone and Migration* – Copy and move virtual machines between hosts on different vCenter Servers in a single action.

• Enhanced User Interface – Web Client is more responsive, more intuitive, and more streamlined than ever before.

Increased vSphere 6.0 Maximums


Virtual Machine Compatibility

Support for 128 vCPU 4TB RAM

vNUMA Enhancements – hot add memory allocated equally across all NUMA regions, instead of just region 0

WDDM 1.1 GDI Acceleration – this is supported on Windows 7 and above USB 3.0 xHCI

Serial and Parallel port enhancements – can now hot remove, and up to 32 serial ports can be added

ESXi Account Management

Enhanced management of local users and permissions

Easier compliance to local security policies

Control of user access and privileges for ESXi

ESXCLI Commands

Can Add/List/Remove/Modify local accounts with ESXCLI run against vCenter

Account Lockout

Can configure

• Local account failed login attempts (default 10, setting to 0 disables account locking)

• Account lockout duration (default 2 minutes)

This only affects SSH and vSphere Web Services connections and not DCUI or console shell access.

Password Complexity

In vSphere 5.x you had to edit /etc/pam.d/passwd

In vSphere 6.0 you can configure using VIM API or through vCenter (PowerCLI cmdlet)

Improved Auditability of ESXi Admin Actions

Prior to vSphere 6.0 vCenter actions would be logged as vpxuser on the ESXi host.

With vSphere 6.0 they are logged with the vCenter username

Enhancements to Microsoft clustering support

Supports Windows 2012 R2 and SQL 0212 running in failover cluster mode and utilizing AlwaysOn Availability Groups

IP V6 Support

Ability to run a faster PVSCSI adapter with MSCS

vMotion support – vSphere 6.0 supports vMotion of MSCS virtual machines on W2008+ clustered across physical hosts using pRDM

Support for NVIDIA GRID vGPU

Enables designers/architects/engineers to run advance, graphics rich apps in remote desktop using NVIDIA 3D graphics and certified app drivers.

Brings workstation class perf even over high-latency networks

Enhances desktop virtualization with immersive graphics, greater security, scalable perf and cost-effectiveness.

Use cases

Increased config maximums enable support for Hadoop/Big Data Workloads. Scale-out apps see greater consolidation ratios and increased perf with larger cluster sizes and greater VM densities. vSphere Big Data Extensions simplifies and automates provisioning and configuring prod Hadoop clusters.

vCenter Server Features

Enhanced vCenter Server Features

vCSA now has same maximums as Windows vCenter

Full interoperability between Windows and vCSA

Architectural changes

Embedded – PSC and vCenter on same VM or

Centralized – PSC and vCenter on separate VMs

Can use embedded PostgreSQL, or Oracle; or MS SQL on Windows vCenter

Platform Services Controller

Combines common services used across vCloud Suite – vCenter SSO, Licensing, Certificate Management Reduces vCenter Server installation

First component to be installed or upgraded

Centralized model recommended for sites with 2 or more SSO solutions

When using centralized model, make PSC highly available (can use 2x PSC + Load Balancer) PSCs replicate – Licenses, Roles, Permissions, Tags

Can’t switch models after deployment

Can’t deploy vCenter with embedded PSC then switch to centralized PSC Can’t change connections between PSCs after installation

Linked Mode Comparison

Can link Windows and vCSA

Automatically enabled as long as vCenters are in the same SSO domain

Removes extra config steps

Full replication of roles and permissions, licensing, tags and policies

Certificate Lifecycle Management

Solution users are created when vCenter Server or vCenter Inventory Service are registered in SSO. These solution users are used as certificate endpoints and are issued certificates instead of individual services. This enables the services associated with a solution user to utilize the same certificate and substantially reduce the number of certificates required to manage the environment.

vSphere 6.0 introduces 2 new components for managing certs:

VMCA (VMware Certificate Authority) – root CA, or can be configured as a subordinate CA to an existing enterprise CA. Resides on PSC and issues signed certs to all vSphere 6.0 components through solution users. Secures the environment by using a CA to generate certs instead of self-signed certs.

VECS (VMware Endpoint Certificate Service) – stores all certs, including 3rd party certs and private keys. No longer have to manually update each vCenter component cert, just store certs in VECS and get vCenter to use them. NOTE – ESXi certs are still stored locally on the host, but can be provisioned by VMCA. Use VECS command line interface – vecs-cli

VMware Certificate Authority

Operates in 2 modes:

Root CA – Creates a self-signed CA cert, to issue other certificates. All other solution and endpoint certs are created and trusted from this self-signed CA cert.

Issuer CA – Generates a CSR that is signed by an Enterprise CA, or a commercial CA. After the CSR is signed the admin configures the VMCA to use this cert. This mode requires that all issued default certs are replaced after implementation

Certificate Replacement Options

VMCA Default – VMCA creates a self-signed root cert. This can be regenerated as and when required.

VMCA Enterprise – the Enterprise CA issues a signing cert to the VMCA. If the VMCA has already been used in default mode, all the old certs will have to be regenerated before migrating to the enterprise mode.

Custom Install – to use other CA or 3rd party certs, VMCA will need to be disabled as the CA for vCenter. Custom certs will have to be installed manually in the VECS for each solution user and endpoint.

vMotion Enhancements

Cross vSwitch vMotion

vMotion between vSwitches. Must be on same L2 network as the IP address of the VM will not change. Can move from

vSS to vSS vSS to vDS vDS to vDS

but not vDS to vSS because VM metadata is transferred.

This increases Agility, and Business reliability by increasing the availability of the app during maintenance.

Cross vCenter vMotion

Can migrate to a vCSA (and eliminate Windows & SQL licenses)

Can migrate from vCSA to Windows vCenter to enable use of a SQL cluster

Can migrate between vCenters when doing a vCenter upgrade to avoid impact on VM management. Can migrate between hosts, datastores, and networks at the same time.

Cross vCenter vMotion Enhancements

Requirements: vCenter 6.0

Web Client – must be same SSO domain API – can be different SSO domains 250Mbps network bandwidth


VM UUID remains the same (not the same as Managed ID, MoRef, BIOS UUID)

Data and settings are preserved – includes VM UUID, event/alarm/task history/resource settings (shares/reservations/limits). DRS settings are also preserved including (anti)affinity rules, automation level, startup priority, host isolation response.

MAC addresses are preserved – when moving a VM from a vCenter Server, the MAC is added to an internal blacklist to prevent it being reused.

Long Distance vMotion

Latency must be 150ms or less

Socket buffer resizing techniques are supported to ensure successful migrations Any storage system and both VMFS and NFS are supported

Can be used for disaster avoidance

Long Distance vMotion Requirements

Latency 150ms or less Bandwidth 250Mbps

Same L2 network (can use VXLAN, NSX L2 Gateway services, or GIF/GRE tunnels)

Content Library

Simplifies distribution of VM templates

Centrally stores and manages published VM templates

Automatically distributes the template changes to other sites

Supports lifecycle management when content is updated

Content Library Catalog

Supports 3 types of libraries

Local – available only to the local ESXi server

Published – Published for subscribers

Subscribed – synchronizes with a published library

Published can be “Immediate Download or Automatic Subscription” or “On Demand Subscription”

vSphere Web Client

2 notable enhancements

Can access multiple vCenters from a single Web interface New Recent Tasks pane

Old vSphere Client (C#) is still available, but can’t configure any new features from 5.1 onwards.

vSphere Web Client Enhancements

Better performance: Login13x faster Right-click 4x faster

Chrome or IE preferred, Firefox supported but slower. Perf charts 2x quicker

VMRC integrated

Usability Improvements:

New drop-down menu to aid navigation

Right-click menu flattened improving consistency across the UI

Task pane relocated to bottom of screen, making it easier to view recent tasks, and make more consistent with vSphere Client.

UI is now dockable, allowing customization

Use Cases

PSC – removes services from vCenter and makes them centralized for vCloud suite. Single point of management for roles/perms/licensing. Reducing vCenter installation options makes install/upgrade faster and easier. All vCenter services are now on vCenter server, reducing complexity. VUM is the only stand-alone product installer.

Enhanced Linked Mode – Centralized interface. PSCs replicate automatically, for Windows and vCSA instances.

Cross vSwitch vMotion – Increases agility, availability, and reliability.

Cross vCenter vMotion – Migrate between vCSA and Windows vCenter (reduce cost/increase reliability), migrate across local/metro/continental distances. Replace vCenter server without disruption, Use resource pooling across vCenter servers where multiple vCenters were used due to scalability limits. Long Distance vMotion – permanent migration, disaster avoidance, balance load, migrate across physical servers that are geographically dispersed without interrupting apps.

Content Library – helps with storage and consistency. Centrally manage VM templates, distribute

globally, accomplish VM template lifecycle management.

vSphere Web Client – improved performance and usability makes it equivalent to vSphere Client

Networking and Storage Features

Network and storage enhancements

NIOC upgraded to v3 – improved network resource reservation and allocation

VVOLs – different and improved storage architecture, VM centric instead of LUN or volume centric

Network I/O Control

New bandwidth reservation for System Traffic based on capacity of physical adapters. Enables reservation of capacity for a vNIC or distributed Port Group

Also enables fine-grained resource control at the VM network adapter level.

Multiple TCP/IP stacks

ESXi 4.x and 5.x only had one network stack for all vSphere services

ESXi 6.x has improved scalability and offers flexibility by isolating vSphere services to their own stack Also allows vMotion to work over a dedicated L3 network.

NFC traffic can be isolated to its own network , rather than sharing the management network, so a clone operation wouldn’t affect management.

Each TCP/IP stack will have its own:

• Memory heap

• ARP tables

• Routing table

• Default gateway

VMware Virtual Volumes

Enables array based operations at the virtual disk level Transforms the data plane of the SAN and NAS systems

Implements improved storage arch enabling operations to be conducted at the VM level using native array capabilities

Supports data operations offload to storage arrays

Eliminates the need to provision and manage large LUNs or volumes per host Simplifies operations through policy-driven automation.

Primary objective is to bring the benefits of SDDC to stage

For vSphere administrator – Enables on demand access to the right kind of storage and storage services For storage administrator – Provides an efficient way to provision and manage storage

Virtual Volumes Storage Architecture

Each VM is assigned its own storage policy All VMs use storage from same common pool

When provisioning, different buckets with different policies need not be considered VM policy can be changed without moving the VM to a different LUN.

Storage Architecture Components

VASA – vSphere APIs for Storage Awareness Provider

Protocol Endpoints

Storage Container


VASA Provider

Exposes storage services which a VVOL array can provide Understands VASA APIs for operations, such as creation of VVOL files Serves as the control plane element of VVOLs

Can be implemented in the firmware of an array

Can be in a separate VM that runs on the cluster which is accessing the VVOL storage

Protocol Endpoints

Access points that enable communication between ESXi hosts and storage array systems Configured as part of the physical storage fabric and accessed by standard storage protocols

Help ensure that the performance of VVOLs is not affected by the policy management activities Separates the access points from the storage resulting in fewer access points

Storage Container

A logical construct for grouping VVOLs

Enables a Storage Admin to isolate or partition the storage according to requirements

Maps to a vSphere Datastore – concept of Datastores is deeply embedded in vSphere, and used for various purposes such as administrative access control

VVOLs provide a corresponding object to enable users to logically manage storage

Storage-Policy Based Management Framework

Delivers an orchestration and automation engine that translates storage requirements expressed in a VM storage policy, into granular provisioning capabilities

Uses VASA and makes Storage Capabilities visible in the vCenter interface

vSphere Admins can use VM Storage Policies to deliver storage requirements and capabilities

SPBM uses VVOLs to recommend compliant datastores for VM placement, and to transparently turn on the necessary data services based on native array capabilities

New De-Facto Storage Paradigm

VVOLs is the logical extension of virtualization into the storage world

VVOLs along with VSAN provides the foundation for software defined storage in the SDDC

Benefits of Virtual Volumes

• Simplify storage operations:

Allows separation of provisioning and consumption of storage for VMs.

Simplifies operations through policy driven automation, enabling agile storage consumption and dynamic adjustments in real time when needed.

Automated policy enforcement simplifies monitoring and ensures compliance of storage service levels.

• Simplify delivery of storage service levels

Provides fine control over storage resources and native array data services down to the VM level, admins can create exact combinations and service levels on a case by case basis. Policy driven automation ensures desired service levels are constantly met, and enables dynamic adjustments in real time when needed to quickly adapt to changing requirements

• Improve resource utilization

Enables more flexible, VM-centric consumption of storage capacity and services, eliminating overprovisioning issues.

Enables dynamic adjustments in real time, through automation.

Use Case

Use a storage container to enable DR:

• Create a new VM and specify that it needs to be made available in a disaster

• The PE facilitates communication to the storage array, indicating that it needs DR

• The array then creates a set of VVOLs and ensures they are replicated

• Only the single VM is replicated not the whole datastore

• Because the VM at the DR site is understood to be a replica, only one VM will be visible

Availability Features

Availability Enhancements in vSphere 6.0

Enhanced vSphere vMotion

FT Multiprocessor CPU support

Ability to build private cloud structures

Fault Tolerance

Creates a “shadow” VM on a separate host Protects critical high performance applications Provides continuous availability for applications

Ensures zero downtime and prevents data loss by automatically triggering failover Easy to set up and configure

Included in vSphere Essentials Plus and higher editions

Fault Tolerance Enhancements

Now supports more than one vCPU Up to 4 vCPU (Ent+) and 64GB memory

Multiple checkpoints per second through xvMotion Suitable for approx. 09% of mission critical workloads Dedicated 10GB NIC on each host recommended

Can now be backed up with VDP-Advanced, and snapshot based tools

Now creates a complete copy of the entire VM (rather than using the same storage). This enables the VMs to be stored on either shared or local storage

Now supports all virtual disk formats, not just eager zeroed.

Can now hot enable FT, so it’s not necessary to turn off the VM to enable FT

High Availability

Restarts affected VM on other servers with spare capacity when physical server fails Restarts affected VM on same physical server when OS fails

Minimize unplanned downtime and service disruption

Eliminates need for dedicated standby hardware or additional software Provides affordable HA across the entire virtualized environment Avoids cost and complexity of 3rd party failover solutions

High Availability Enhancements

VMCP – VMware Component Protection, provides enhanced protection from APD and PDL for FC, iSCSI, FCoE and NFS

Before vSphere 6.0, applications were impacted by APD and PDL conditions.

Now detects APD and PDL, generates vCenter alarms, automatically restarts impacted VMs on fully functional hosts

Protects 64 hosts and 6000 VMs in a cluster

Fully compatible with: VVOLs, NIOC, IPv6, NSX, Cross vCenter VMotion

vSphere Replication

Provides Data Protection and DR

Creates a duplicate VM in the same cluster or another site Managed using Web Client

Included in Essentials Plus Kit and higher editions Provides as many as 24 recovery points

Can be used as a standalone solution, or as a replication engine for SRM or vCloud Air DR

vSphere Replication Enhancements

Bandwidth Reduction:

• RPO can be set on a per-VM basis, from 15min to 24h

• After the initial synchronization, only changes to the VM are replicated

• vSphere 6.0 compresses the replicated data using FastLZ compression – typical compression ratio is 1.7:1

Improved Security and Protection:

• Can isolate network traffic for VR from other vSphere host traffic

• Can control bandwidth by configuring more than one NIC in a vSphere Replication appliance and using NIOC to separate network traffic

• Improvements for Linux VMs – with some Linux OSes, VMtools provide the ability to quiesce the guest OS during replication and backup operations. VR can use this new functionality to enable file system consistent recovery of Linux VMs

vSphere Data Protection

Robust disk based backup solution

VDP now includes all previous functionality in VDPA Included in vSphere Essentials Plus kit 6.0

VSOM 6.0 vCloud Suite 6.0

Enables local data protection and offsite DR Utilizes VMWare APIs for Data Protection (VADP) Based on EMC Avamar

Uses variable length segment de-dupe CBT used for backup and restore

First backup is full (level 0)

Each subsequent (level 1) backup checks VADP for changed blocks

Managed using Web Client

vSphere Data Protection Enhancements

Includes agents for:

• MS SQL Server

• MS Exchange Server

• MS SharePoint Server

• SQL Server clusters

• Exchange Server database

Possible to select individual databases for backup/restore Possible to restore individual Exchange Server mailboxes

Replication of backup data provides capability for offsite backup data, with several retention and recovery options to satisfy a wide variety of requirements

Automated backup verification jobs can:

• Restore VMs

• Boot Guest OS

• Check for VMtools heartbeats

• Delete restored VMs

Supports backup data storage on EMC Data Domain

Uses EMC DD Boost to minimize network bandwidth impact and improve performance Makes use of external proxies

Minimizes network bandwidth by deploying external proxies to remote locations Supports up to 24 concurrent backup streams, RHEL LVM and Ext4 filesystem

Use Cases

Fault Tolerance

• Can protect a VM against host or Datastore failure with zero downtime

• On-demand FT – can enable FT during key periods, and save resources during non-critical

operations High Availability

• Protects apps with no other failover option

• Avoid cost and complexity of failover solutions tied to OS or specific apps.

• Provides protection with minimum cost and management overhead vSphere Data Protection

• ROBO deployments are good candidates

• Supports up to 20 appliances per vCenter

• External proxies can also be deployed to accommodate varying requirements.

• Up to 8 concurrent backup streams, or up to 24 with external proxies vSphere Replication

• Quickly and easily recover and preserve data

• Free from storage lock-in

• Admins can use a seed copy of VM data for initial synchronization, so only deltas are replicated

Introduction to vSphere with Operations Management 6.0

vSphere with Operations Management 6.0 Overview

Enhances vSphere virtualization

Maximize the benefits of the virtualized infrastructure with easy to use unified and consistent operations management

Provides visibility and insight with Self-Learning Predictive Analytics and Unified Visibility Features Health, Performance, Capacity Management and Monitoring capabilities Designed for businesses of all sizes

Maximise hardware savings through higher capacity utilization and consolidation ratios

New Features in vSphere with Operations Management 6.0 vRealize Operations Manager Standard edition + vSphere

Smart Alerts – combine multiple symptoms to generate a single problem statement Capacity Planning – enable “what-if” scenarios and improve planning and forecasting

Policy Management – enable advanced monitoring of performance, capacity and config standards Integrated Compliance – check against vSphere hardening guidelines

vSphere with Operations Management 6.0 User Interface

Intuitive UI and advanced monitoring capabilities based on Self-Learning Predictive Analytics and Dynamic Thresholds

Home screen shows unified view of Health Risk and Efficiency, enabling administrators to view KPIs in easily identified coloured badges

These combine multiple symptoms to show the actual issue, recommendations to resolve the issue, and automated actions you can take to remediate the issue

Symptoms are not limited to badges – any object, any metric

The capacity management capabilities help optimize resources by providing visibility into existing capacity usage and opportunities to right-size and reclaim resources.

Can model capacity projects and save “what-if” analysis Helps administrators go from reactive to proactive

Benefits of vSphere with Operations Management 6.0

Enables customers to

• improve capacity utilization by 34%

• increase consolidation ratios by 36%

• increase hardware savings by 30%

• Reduce diagnosis and problem resolution time by 26%

• Reduce application downtime by 36%

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