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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

vSAN 6.7 is here!

Today marks the release of vSAN version 6.7 along with vCenter and vSphere 6.7. The versions line up now across those three products which will make things a lot less confusing, so we are already off to a great start. There are many significant improvements to this version, and I was fortunate enough to be part of the blogger early access program to get a sneak peak at this release from the marketing team. I will go over a few things that they shared with us in this post.

HTML5 client integration for vSAN is almost at feature parity with the flex web client. vSAN workflows have been optimized for less clicks and a more efficient user experience. Support will still continue for the Flex web client, but new features going forward will only be available through the new HTML5 interface. This will be much nicer to have an interface free of the flash player, and it is very fast in comparison!

Native vROps dashboards for vSAN are now available in the vSphere Client. Quickly see the basics like health and more, or click to move to the vROps console for the full vSAN dashboard.

vSAN iSCSI Service Supports Windows Server Failover Clusters with both physical and virtual guest iSCSI initiators.

There is a new Adaptive resync feature to ensure fair allocation of resources for VM I/O and resync I/O when dynamic load changes occur on the system. When storage I/O exceeds the capabilities of the available bandwidth adaptive resync will make sure that specific traffic types are not starved for resources. Under contention resync I/O is guaranteed at least 20% of bandwidth, and if no resync traffic exists VM I/O is allowed to consume all of the available bandwidth. Maintains balance between VM and resync I/O. This existed in vSAN 6.6.1 but has been further enhanced with the bandwidth capabilities.

In the past, the VM Swap Object was hard coded to Mirrored with the space reserved.  This is very cool that it uses the policy that the VM Home Space is assigned. Until you move to vSAN 6.7, take a look at this older vSAN Swap article written by Jase McCarty, that shows how to thin-provision the VM Swap object to free up some capacity.

Witness Traffic Separation can now be fully separated from the vSAN data traffic in vSAN 6.7 Stretched Clusters. This makes networking a lot easier because the vSAN data network does not have to communicate with the vSAN Witness. Hosts use an alternate VMkernel port to communicate with the vSAN Witness.

There have been some nice improvements in the vSAN health check as well. Performance has been enhanced. They have also removed duplicate warnings when you have a host disconnected, for maintenance etc. Health check enhancements will also now be delivered in between product releases. HCL checks have been improved and now firmware version and driver checks have been separated. It is good to see them dedicate time to improving this piece. As a vSAN admin you spend a lot of time in here and performance improvements are sure to make an impact in your day to day operations work flows.

This next feature is something I feel the platform has been lacking for a while, most other vendors have proactive support for their devices if there are failures detected, while this is not quite there it is laying the framework for that to happen. vSAN support insight allows VMware GSS support technicians to be able to help understand your configuration and see generalized data to help troubleshoot issues, you just need to have Internet connection for vCenter allowed either natively or through a proxy and have the VMware Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) turned on. This allows technicians to have a live look at your environment without giving up any sensitive information. They do not see host names, VM names, IP addresses or anything uniquely identifying. This helps for better reactive support, this will help cut down on the number of requests from GSS to ask you to upload logs. As mentioned before it has proactive support capabilities but that is not quite in place yet.

vSphere now supports 4Kn (or 4K Native) devices. Because vSAN is native to vSphere, vSAN will now also support 4Kn devices (for the capacity tier), allowing support for many of the newer drives today.

Improved security with vSphere and vSAN 6.7! The vSphere Cryptographic Module that both VM Encryption and vSAN Encryption utilize, has undergone FIPS 140-2 validation.

Overall there are some really nice improvements across the board and I think the vSAN team has some really great work to be proud of here. They have touched on some pain points and worked hard to improve the speed and performance of the product. They are also accounting for things customers have been asking for, and making the product more secure with VM and vSAN encryption options. That is all for this vSAN 6.7 preview. I hope you have enjoyed this first look at the product. Thanks for reading! Cheers!

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