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Announcing VMware vSphere 8 Update 3, with ESXi Live Patching and Integrated Kubernetes Cluster Management

Today, we are excited to announce the latest updates to vSphere 8. This new release includes updates that will help enhance operational efficiency for IT admins, supercharge the performance of demanding workloads, and accelerate the pace of innovation for DevOps engineers, developers, and anyone else that can benefit from self-service access to infrastructure services, in a secure and compliant manner. vSphere 8 Update 3 will be available for customers as an integral component of both of our lead offerings – VMware Cloud Foundation 5.2 and VMware vSphere Foundation 5.2, both also being announced today.

Top Highlights of New Capabilities in vSphere 8 Update 3

Enhance Operational Efficiency

With this latest release, we have placed a heavy emphasis on enhanced lifecycle management. Updating vSphere environments can sometimes be challenging and time consuming, especially for large, distributed environments. Mission critical workloads may be able to tolerate minimal downtimes but often require no downtime. This release takes a huge leap forward in addressing these requirements.

Faster Upgrades and No Downtime with ESXi Live Patching

With the new Live Patching capability in ESXi, customers can address critical bugs in the virtual machine execution environment  and apply patches to all components without reboot or VM evacuation. Virtual machines are Fast-Suspend-Resumed (FSR) as part of the host remediation process. As part of this action, a host enters partial maintenance mode, a new mount revision is loaded and patched  and the vm is then fast-suspend-resumed to consume the patched mount revision. This action is non-disruptive to most virtual machines!

Figure 1: ESXi Live Patching

ESXi Live Patching delivers the following key benefits to customers:

  • Non-disruptive patches
  • Ability to deliver critical fixes quickly within required SLAs
  • Enhanced system reliable with seamless lifecycle integration

Boost Workload Performance

AI and Generative AI have become a strategic priority for many organizations.vSphere has been at the forefront of AI ever since the introduction of our joint AI-ready enterprise platform with NVIDIA in 2021. In this release, we continue to expand vSphere’s DPU and GPU capabilities so customers can realize their valuable performance benefits.

Dual DPU support with vSphere Distributed Services Engine

VMware vSphere 8 Update 3 adds dual-DPU support via the VMware vSphere Distributed Services Engine, significantly enhancing security and resilience for virtualized environments.. Dual DPUs can be used in two configurations.The first configuration utilizes two DPUs in Active/Standby high availability and ensures continuity and protection against DPU failures or uplink loss. This configuration provides redundancy in the event one of the DPUs should fail. Alternatively, dual independent DPUs offer full isolation and double the offload capacity per host. Integrated vSphere workflows streamline DPU management, allowing simultaneous ESXi updates on both DPUs and CPUs, while vCenter provides comprehensive performance metrics and hardware alerts. Dual DPU support is available for customers in VMware Cloud Foundation 5.2.

Figure 2: Dual DPU Support

Dual DPU support provides the following key benefits to customers:

  • Accelerated Infrastructure Network Function
  • Simplified DPU Management
  • Enhanced Security and Resilience

Accelerate Innovation

IaaS control plane self-service

With vSphere 8 Update 3, developers can provision and manage their own infrastructure as a service (IaaS) resources. This latest release introduces the new vSphere IaaS control plane, which builds on the work we’ve delivered through vSphere with Tanzu and extends it with new and enhanced IaaS capabilities, making it easy to provision resources through services such as VM service, storage service, the new independent TKG service, and various other services available through the Supervisor in vSphere. This empowers developers and consumers to quickly and easily spin up the resources they need to build and deploy applications, without relying on IT teams for manual provisioning and configuration. 

Through a new UI available in vCenter, called the Local Consumption Interface, VMware vSphere Foundation provides a seamless experience to developers to work more efficiently and effectively, accelerating the development and deployment of new applications and services.

Taking things to the next level, VMware Cloud Foundation brings together vSphere 8 Update 3 and the latest release of VCF Automation to deliver an enhanced Cloud Consumption Interface enabling developers and other end-users to easily provision resources and application blueprints across the entire global IT footprint, and consume through the new IaaS Consumption Surface, further showcasing the value delivered through the improved integrations between VCF components.

New Independent TKG Service

The new independent TKG service decouples Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG) releases from vCenter, enabling asynchronous updates that align with upstream Kubernetes versions. This enables customers to update the TKG service independently of the standard vSphere release cycle, ensuring access to the latest Kubernetes enhancements, flexibility, and improved control over Kubernetes deployments.

Figure 3: Independent TKG Service

These new capabilities deliver the following key benefits to customers:

  • Alignment with Upstream Kubernetes: Ensures TKG service stays current with the latest features, bug fixes, and security patches by aligning with upstream Kubernetes versions, independent of vSphere release cycles.
  • Flexibility in Update Timing: Allows for asynchronous updates, providing organizations with the ability to implement updates at their own pace, reducing disruptions and maintaining continuous operations.
  • Streamlined Management: Simplifies the management process by using vSphere services to manage TKG versions, offering a centralized platform for orchestrating Kubernetes deployments and enhancing operational efficiency.

Local Consumption Interface

The new Local Consumption Interface (LCI) in vSphere delivers a new and simplified admin UI to access all the vSphere IaaS control plane services. It provides a UI for users to create VMs, TKG clusters, Load Balancers and Persistent Volume Claims. This new interface is available in vCenter for each individual Namespace. The UI supports complex specifications for VMs and TKG clusters, while generating the YAML for users that wish to interact with the API directly.

Figure 4: Local Consumption Inteface

Here are some of the other features also being delivered in vSphere 8 Update 3

Enhance Operational Efficiency:

  • Enhanced image customization: vSphere Lifecycle Manager images can be further customized and non-essential image components can be removed from the cluster image definition.Reduced image payload for ESXi hosts to be transmitted over the network helps speed up updates for remote and edge deployments.
  • Dual DPU remediation: Similar to single DPU configurations, vSphere Lifecycle Manager will remediate both DPU ESXi versions and ensure all versions are consistent.

Accelerate Innovation:

Support for Supervisor on vSAN stretched clusters: is one of the most requested configurations and with this feature, Supervisors can be deployed on vSAN stretched clusters spanning two physcial locations or sites.

Boost Workload Performance:

  • Kubernetes clusters autoscaling: allows Kubernetes clusters to reflect demand, scale down nodes that are underutilized and scale them back up when demand increases, for better utilization of the Kubernetes clusters.
  • vGPU heterogeneous profile support: With this release, multiple vGPU profile types and different memory sizes are now options for supported GPUs, and allows for more effectively sharing GPUs.

Elevate Security:

  • Identity Federation support for PingFederate: allows customers to federate vCenter identity with standard providers. With this release, of vSphere, we have added support for PingFederate.
  • Security hardening guidance for vSAN: Easy to understand hardening guidance has now been added for vSAN services.
  • TLS1.3 Support: delivers ability to configure security best practices using the latest modern ciphers.

Learn more about vSphere 8 Update 3 at: