(Blog post by Himanshu Singh and Bob Plankers, Cloud Platform Business Unit, VMware)
We are excited to share that today VMware has released vSphere 7 Update 2. It is available to download right away, both through VMware Customer Connect and from within vSphere Lifecycle Manager itself.
With vSphere 7, released in April 2020, we moved vSphere to a six-month release cycle. We released vSphere 7 Update 1 in October 2020, and vSphere 7 Update 2 today. With this faster pace, you get the benefits of the latest capabilities and innovation from VMware as well as from the VMware partner and OEM ecosystem much more quickly, to meet your business needs and be future-ready.
The vSphere 7 Update 2 release sure packs a big punch! Let’s take a look.
What’s New in vSphere 7 Update 2
With the release of vSphere 7, we set the direction for the key focus areas where we are making investments in vSphere, incorporating feedback about what is most important for you and that will get you to your organizations’ goals now and in the future, leveraging the latest technology has to offer. We continue to double-down on these focus areas, to deliver to you the modern infrastructure platform for all your existing workloads and the new modern applications you are building, leveraging containers as well as artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML).
These key areas are:
Deliver AI & Developer Ready Infrastructure
First off, we’re thrilled to share that VMware and NVIDIA are delivering the next step of the vision shared in the partnership announced at VMworld 2020 to democratize and unleash AI for every enterprise. With the unique combination of VMware vSphere 7 and NVIDIA AI Enterprise suite, both companies are jointly delivering a powerful AI-Ready Enterprise Platform.
NVIDIA AI Enterprise software suite is an end-to-end cloud-native suite of AI tools and frameworks, optimized and exclusively certified by NVIDIA to run on VMware vSphere.
VMware vSphere 7 Update 2 delivers:
- Support for the latest generation of GPUs from NVIDIA, their Ampere family, with the A100 GPU delivering up to 20X better performance from the previous generation.
- Support for NVIDIA GPUDirect RDMA for vGPUs, for enhanced performance.
- Support for the latest spatial partitioning based NVIDIA multi-instance GPUs (MIGs):
- vSphere is the ONLY virtualization platform that enables live migration (using vMotion) for NVIDIA MIG vGPU powered VMs, simplifying infrastructure maintenance such as consolidation, expansion, or upgrades, and enabling non-disruptive operations
- With the Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), vSphere provides automatic initial workload placement for AI infrastructure at scale for optimal resource consumption and avoiding performance bottlenecks.
- Bitfusion 3.0, continuing to make GPU use flexible and operationally efficient
vSphere 7 Update 2 also introduces new developer-focused capabilities for vSphere with Tanzu:
- Integrated application load balancing with the VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer Essentials edition, supporting high availability deployments with Kubernetes-native automation.
- Tanzu Kubernetes Grid service and Supervisor clusters can be refreshed with Kubernetes 1.19, honoring our commitment to making it easy to stay current with the open-source Kubernetes project.
- Better support for private & third-party container registries, adding flexibility and security as part of the modern application development process.
Boost Infrastructure and Data Security
With security being a huge area of focus for organizations of all types and sizes worldwide, vSphere 7 Update 2 delivers some key new capabilities:
- Introducing vSphere Native Key Provider, a mechanism fully within vSphere to enable data-at-rest protections like vSAN Encryption, VM Encryption, and vTPM out of the box, making it a lot easier for customers to take advantage of these security features and improve overall security posture for VM environments.
- Confidential Containers for vSphere Pods, leveraging the AMD SEV-ES memory and CPU data encryption on AMD EPYC platforms for modern and easy-to-use data-in-use protections.
- ESXi Configuration Encryption, using software and hardware Trusted Platform Module (TPM) support to protect ESXi secrets on the hosts themselves and making hardware lifecycle, reprovisioning, and decommissioning easier.
- ESXi Key Persistence, offering more options for data-at-rest protections on standalone hosts, edge computing deployments, and removing dependency loops from system designs.
- Updated baseline security guidance in the vSphere Security Configuration Guide for customers designing new systems or looking for ways to improve their existing security in the face of changing threats.
- Updated vSphere Product Audit Guides, together with FIPS validation of vCenter Server services. Together these make it easier for customers to meet regulatory requirements, as well as helping to ease audits by supplying an explanation of how vSphere security controls meet particular compliance controls.
Operational simplification is a perennial focus for the vSphere team, to help make the life of the IT Admin easier and take away manual tasks, freeing you up to focus on strategic initiatives to move your organization forward. vSphere 7 Update 2 brings some key innovations to market, with this in mind:
- Introducing ESXi Suspend-to-Memory, enabling faster host upgrades and making maintenance operations even less disruptive than before. Suspend-to-memory is available in combination with ESXi Quick Boot. Instead of moving VMs prior to host updates, VMs can be suspended to host memory while only the hypervisor kernel restarts.
- AMD EPYC CPU optimizations, bringing impressive performance gains to workloads running on AMD EPYC platforms.
- Introducing vSphere HA support for Persistent Memory (PMEM) workloads, to deliver DRS initial placement and vSphere High Availability support for workloads that use non-volatile, persistent memory technologies. Where the workloads support it, they can be automatically restarted on other clustered hosts after a failure.
- Introducing enhanced vSphere Lifecycle Manager with Desired Image Seeding and support for vSphere with Tanzu, to help ease maintenance operations by automating software and firmware updates based on a desired state:
- All the benefits of vSphere Lifecycle Manager are now available to simplify the management of vSphere with Tanzu environments.
- Desired image seeding simplifies configuration of desired state by replicating the configuration information based on a reference host. Users will not need to manually configure the desired state, saving time and avoiding data entry errors.
- vMotion Auto Scaling, enabling vSphere to automatically tune vMotion for best performance on modern, high-speed 25, 40, and 100 Gbps Ethernet networks.
- Drastically reduced I/O latency and jitter on passthrough network interfaces, better supporting real-time & telephony workloads on vSphere 7.
- Extending support for Virtual Trusted Platform Module (vTPM) from Microsoft Windows guest OSes to popular Linux distributions, improving security and easing compliance needs.
- VMware Tools enhancements, including Guest Store, a method for distributing and managing configurations and files across participating VMs, and Precision Clock drivers for Windows Time Service, enabling easy use of Precision Time Protocol.
- Modernization of vCenter Server REST APIs, making it easier to interact with vSphere in a programmatic way.
The latest vSphere 7 Update 2 release further highlights vSphere as the industry’s leading compute virtualization platform that transforms bare metal server, CPU, and GPU-based hardware into virtual machines and containers. vSphere optimizes performance, increases availability, tightens security, and streamlines maintenance to create an agile, efficient, resilient, and intrinsically secure infrastructure platform to support existing workloads and next-gen applications such as AI.
- Download vSphere 7 Update 2
- Visit the vSphere YouTube channel for videos on What’s New in vSphere 7 Update 2
- Read technical articles and design guidance on the vSphere Core Tech Zone
- Review vSphere Product Documentation
- Get the latest on the vSphere website
To learn more about today’s VMware and NVIDIA joint announcement about the AI-Ready Enterprise Platform, visit the following:
- VMware Blog – The AI-Ready Enterprise platform: Unleashing AI for Every Enterprise
- VMware Technical Blog – Multiple Machine Learning Workloads Using GPUs: New Features in vSphere 7 Update 2
- VMware Press Release – VMware Evolves Developer and AI-Ready Infrastructure to Advance Digital Business
- VMware and NVIDIA Alliance website
- NVIDIA Blog – How Suite It Is: NVIDIA and VMware Deliver AI-Ready Enterprise Platform
- NVIDIA Technical Blog – NVIDIA AI Enterprise – Optimized, Certified and Supported on VMware vSphere
- NVIDIA AI Enterprise software suite product page
- Register for the App and Cloud Transformation event on March 31, 2021