VMware just recently released Update 2 for vSphere 6.0. Update 2 is full of new features and bug fixes for both ESXi and vCenter Server. For a complete list of features and bug fixes make sure to review the release notes for ESXi and vCenter Server. There are few features that stood out to me in this update. The Embedded Host Client is now integrated into ESXi and fully supported as of Update 2. VSAN 6.2 is feature rich with everything but the kitchen sink in this release. Two factor authentication support for the vSphere Web Client is now available in the PSC UI. Here’s a breakdown of what’s new in vSphere 6.0 Update 2.
VMware Embedded Host Client (EHC)
The Embedded Host Client (EHC) started out as a fling and now is a supported product in vSphere 6.0 Update 2. The EHC is now installed as part of ESXi 6.0U2 and provides the ability to manage any ESXi host using a web browser. After a host is installed with or upgraded to 6.0 U2, open a web browser and enter https://<FQDN or IP of host>/ui. More information on the Embedded Host Client can be found by reviewing the release notes.
Virtual SAN 6.2 (VSAN)
Note: VSAN is a separate product and is licensed separately
If you thought this update couldn’t get any bigger, think again. Virtual SAN 6.2 is here and Jam-packed with new features. This release of VSAN now supports compression and deduplication. When enabled on a disk group redundant copies of data are reduced to single copy. There’re also new services related to performance, space savings and health of the cluster. The Health service monitors the VSAN cluster for issues and provides diagnostics. Performance service collects and analyzes performance statistics. Performance service starts at the cluster down the to the disk level. You want space savings reports, that’s included. Space reporting displays information of used and free space with a detailed breakdown. These are just a few of the new features in Virtual SAN 6.2. For more information check out the Virtual Blocks blog.
vSphere APIs for I/O filtering (VAIO) Enhancement
vSphere 6.0 Update 2 also includes updates to vSphere APIs for I/O filtering (VAIO). If you are not familiar with VAIO I highly recommend you read the following blog post by Ken Werneburg.
- VASA provider in a pure IPv6 environment
- VMIOF 1.0 and 1.1
High Ethernet Link Speed
ESXi hosts can now support 25G and 50G ethernet speeds.
Two-factor authentication for vSphere Web client
vCenter Single Sign On allows authentication to the vSphere Web Client via username and password. vSphere 6.0 Update 2 introduces two-factor authentication supporting RSA SecurID and Smart card. RSA SecurID is configured using the SSO-Config utility. It also requires RSA Authentication Manager in your environment. Once setup, login to the vSphere Web Client with your username and RSA passcode. Mike Foley has an excellent two part blog post walking through RSA SecurID setup.
Smart card authentication as mentioned above is also supported. Many large enterprises and government agencies use smart cards to meet security regulations. Smart Cards such as Common Access Card (CAC) are used at a machines with a smart card reader. Smart Card Authentication can be configured from the Platform Services Controller UI or using SSO-Config utility. Stay tuned as Mike Foley will be discussing Smart card authentication in a future post.
In addition to two factor authentication, the vSphere Web Client now supports the ability to add a login banner. The Login Banner can be configured from the Platform Services Controller UI by adding a title and message.
An added layer of consent ensures the user can not login without acknowledging the Login Banner.
vCenter Server Appliance update status might be stuck at 70 percent
vSphere 6.0 Update 1b had a bug when using the virtual appliance management interface (VAMI) to update. The UI would hang at 70 percent, although the update had completed. The only way to verify the status of the upgrade was by checking the update log – /var/log/vmware/applmgmt/software-packages.log. This bug has been fixed in vSphere 6.0 Update 2 displaying 100 percent in the VAMI when the update is complete.
Support to change vSphere ESX Agent Manger Logging Level
vSphere Web Client support for Windows 10 operating system
vCenter Server now supports the following external databases
- Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 3
- Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 1
vCenter Server now supports multiple embedded to multiple PSC migrations in a single SSO domain
vSphere 6.0 Update 1 introduced the ability to reconfigure and repoint using CMSSO-UTIL. This is handy when going from a vCenter with an embedded PSC to an external PSC deployment in the same SSO domain. vSphere 6.0 Update 1 would not allow having two external PSCs and trying to repoint. The result was the following error:
vSphere 6.0 U2 now allows having multiple external PSCs with the use of the repoint command. The diagram below represent two embedded deployments replicating to each other. This deployment model is considered deprecated. The term deprecated means the topology will be supported in vSphere 6.0 but not in future releases. To get out of this deprecated topology two external Platform Services Controllers have been deployed. Now we can using the reconfigure command in CMSSO-Util to remove the embedded PSC and repoint vCenter Server to the external PSC.
As you can see vSphere 6.0 U2 is loaded with lots of new features, go download and give them a try.