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VMware is pleased to announce the general availability of VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) 2.3.1. We’ve introduced several new features and provided fixes for issues identified in previous releases. I’d like to present a quick overview of the new features in Cloud Foundation 2.3.1 in this article.

New hardware compatibility support is a significant feature of this release. Cloud Foundation requires compatible hardware to ensure successful automation of server and switch installation and configuration. In Cloud Foundation 2.3.1, we introduce support for new hardware from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).  Now included in the VCF Hardware Compatibility Guide are HPE DL380 Gen10 rackmount servers and the HPE Synergy Platform Gen10 servers. Note: Because of the unique properties of HPE Synergy’s Composable Infrastructure, some manual steps are required to complete the deployment of VDI workload domains and vRealize Products.

Cloud Foundation 2.3.1 also introduces support for Cisco UCS M5 servers. For a current list of supported hardware, please visit the VMware Compatibility Guide.

In the previous release of Cloud Foundation, VMware introduced the ability to automatically deploy the vRealize Suite. In Cloud Foundation 2.3.1, we’ve made a modification to the network design for vRealize Suite components, placing them onto a separate VLAN from the VCF Management VLAN. This new option allows you to place the vRealize Suite components on a separate management network that can be transitioned to VXLAN, opening up the ability to extend the use of NSX in the management domain. For example, providing solution isolation and portability for disaster recovery.

With Cloud Foundation, customers gain a fully engineered private cloud stack. To better assist you in gaining visibility into changes in your entire software-defined data center, Cloud Foundation 2.3.1 introduces the Config Insight utilitythat enables you to calculate the configuration changes made to your system at a given point as compared to the baseline configuration. To learn more about the options included in Config Insight, check out the feature documentaton here: https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Cloud-Foundation/2.3.1/com.vmware.vcf.admin.doc_231/GUID-8E76F662-8DD2-45EC-B9DD-7F14CD5384CD.html.

A major feature of Cloud Foundation is integrated Lifecycle Management. Cloud administrators can simply and reliably perform full-stack updates and upgrades using Lifecycle Management. In 2.3.1, we’ve expanded our Upgrade Pre-Check capabilities so that the feature can now be run from the SDDC Manager Dashboard. Pre-Check allows you to pre-check readiness of all components for upgrade and to drill down to view detailed status of each pre-check task.

Following on the Pre-Check upgrades, VCF 2.3.1 also simplifies the process of upgrading unassigned hosts (an unassigned host is one not yet assigned to a workload domain). When you select an unassigned host during the workload domain expansion workflow, SDDC Manager reports back if the selected host does not match the storage-type, ESXi version, or other requirements. You can then upgrade or downgrade the host as necessary using Lifecycle Management, and then resume the workload domain expansion workflow.

Finally, Cloud Foundation 2.3.1 provides support for the VMware Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP). The CEIP provides information that VMware uses to improve its products and services, to fix problems, and to advise you on how best to deploy and use VMware products. When you choose to participate in the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP), VMware receives anonymous information to improve the quality, reliability, and functionality of VMware products and services. Details regarding the data collected through CEIP and the purposes for which it is used by VMware are set forth at the Trust & Assurance Center at http://www.vmware.com/trustvmware/ceip.html.

And there you have it – Cloud Foundation 2.3.1 is another strong release that builds on Cloud Foundation’s strong base to provide additional features and fixes that simplify and automate your private cloud.