My top 5 features of VMware vSphere 6.5

5. VMware vCenter High Availability

Since many functions are relying on vCenter being present and available, making the vCenter Server itself highly available is crucial for large scale deployments. In the past there’s been a few solutions that tried to handle this but now it’s already built in when you fire up your server. If you’re using the vCenter Server Appliance you have the ability to configure it to run in a high availability fashion using “vCenter High Availability”. Now, I need to emphasize, this is exclusively for the vCenter Server Appliance and not for the windows version of vCenter. You get an active node, a passive node and a witness node that makes the vCenter Server availabile by a click of a button. Simple.

4. vSphere Update Manager

Not really a new thing but since vCenter 6.5, vSphere Update Manager is now available for the vCenter Server Appliance as well – making a separate server unnecessary. Finally!

3. VMware PowerCLI

I’m a huge fan of automating and quite frankly PowerCli has to be on the list based on that fact alone, but there are some significant improvements to the different modules. A big leap forward in terms of automation.

2. Virtual Machine Encryption

For the security conscious people out there, this should be a huge deal. The ability to encrypt virtual machines from the outside means it’s independent of the OS inside and also that it’s storage agnostic.

1. Enhancements for Nested ESXi

I do a lot of demos and testing in lab environments I really appreciate the improvements made for nested environments. There has been a fling available for some time that basically reduced the traffic and load on the individual hosts through a MAC learning algorithm. It has now been integrated in the full release of vSphere 6.5. This results in significant performance improvement in nested ESXi environments with vSphere 6.5.

And a honorable mention goes to vSAN 6.5 with improvements such as iSCSI support for physical workloads, 2 node direct connect for the small deployments and of course PowerCLI cmdlets support for vSAN.