By now, you may have heard, that vSphere 6.7 was released on April 17th which included many new features and enhancements. Customers who are currently on vSphere 6.0 (any version) or 6.5 (GA & Update 1 versions) have a direct upgrade path to vSphere 6.7. Keep in mind that vSphere 5.5 will be reaching its End of Support as of September 19th, 2018. Considering this, customers now have multiple options for upgrading vSphere. Today I would like to introduce vSphere 6.5 Update 2 which now includes backported features from vSphere 6.7.
Note: Upgrading from vSphere 6.5 Update 2 to vSphere 6.7 GA is not supported.
vCenter Server 6.5 Update 2 now supports Enhanced Linked Mode (ELM) when deployed with an Embedded Platform Service Controller (PSC). This reduces the number of virtual machines to manage as well as removes the need for a load balancer for high availability. Enhanced Linked Mode (ELM) using an Embedded Platform Service Controller supports up to 15 vCenter Server Appliance instances in ELM.
It supports Greenfield deployments or an existing environment which has an existing embedded deployment. An additional embedded deployment can be added for Enhanced Linked Mode after the upgrade to either vSphere 6.5 U2 or vSphere 6.7.
vCenter Server 6.5 Update 2 also includes support for:
- A Windows vCenter Server that has custom HTTP & HTTPS ports are supported during migration to the vCenter Server Appliance.
- Using the TLS Configuration utility to configure SSL tunnels on port 8089.
- Backup and restore to Embedded Linked Mode with replication deployment topology API.
- vMotion and cold migration of virtual machines across vCenter Server versions 6.0 Update 3 and later, also includes VMware Cloud on AWS.
Some additional features have been added to vSphere 6.5 Update 2 such as:
- IPv6 support for the Key Management Server (KMS) of VMware vSphere Virtual Machine Encryption (VM Encryption).
- Additional alarms for expiration of KMS certificates, missing hosts, and virtual machine keys.
- Customization of default network ports for the HTTP Reverse Proxy service via the GUI or CLI during the deployment of the vCenter Server Appliance.
- Management of multiple namespaces compatible with the Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) 1.2 specification and enhanced diagnostic log.
- Adding tags to the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) hardware version 1.2 on ESXi using ESXCLI commands.
- New native driver to support the Broadcom SAS 3.5 IT/IR controllers with devices including the combination of NVMe, SAS, and SATA drives.
As noted above, upgrading to vSphere 6.5 Update 2 has limitations. Upgrading to vSphere 6.5 Update 2 from vSphere 5.5 requires a minimum version of vSphere 5.5 Update 3b prior to performing the upgrade.
As you can see, vSphere 6.5 Update 2 enables customers to take advantage of some backported features which were first seen in vSphere 6.7. This post highlighted some of the newest features within this release. For more information and to review other additional features, please review both sets of release notes for vCenter Server 6.5 U2 and ESXi 6.5 U2. My team will be creating some posts covering upgrades of vCenter Server and ESXi Hosts to vSphere 6.5 Update 2, stay tuned. Please do not hesitate to post questions in the comments section of this blog or reach out to me directly via Twitter @vCenterNerd.