Leverage the Power of Virtualization and Cloud Computing

 

VMware vSphere 6.0, the industry leading virtualization platform, lets you virtualize applications with confidence, redefines availability and simplifies the virtual data center. Users can also combine vSphere’s industry-leading virtualization technology with vRealize Operations Standard to further deliver consistent management, purpose-built to get the best performance, availability and efficiency from your infrastructure and applications. vRealize Log Insight for vCenter Server (lite version) can now also be added to collect and analyze log data.

VMware vSphere 6.0 Technical White Paper

Learn what’s new in the vSphere 6.0 platform.

Why You Should Upgrade:

 

  • Support for New Architectures: Expanded support for the latest x86 chip sets, devices, drivers and guest operating systems.

  • Scalability: With increased configuration maximums, virtual machines will now support up to 128 virtual CPUs (vCPUs) and 4TB virtual RAM (vRAM). Hosts will support up to 480 CPU and 12TB of RAM, 1024 virtual machines per host, and 64 nodes per cluster.

  • Multi-Processor Fault Tolerance: Expanded support for software-based fault tolerance for workloads with up to 4 virtual CPUs.

  • Long-Distance vMotion: Perform non-disruptive live migration of workloads over distances of up to 150ms RTT. The 10x increase in RTT offered in Long-Distance vMotion now makes it possible for data centers physically located in New York and London to migrate live workloads between one another.

  • Transform Storage for your Virtual Machines: vSphere Virtual Volumes enables your external storage arrays to become VM-aware. Storage policy-based management (SPBM) allows common management across storage tiers and dynamic storage class of service automation. Together they enable exact combinations of data services (snapshots, clones, remote replication, deduplication, etc.) to be instantiated more efficiently on a per VM basis.

  • Content Library: Get simple and effective management for content including virtual machine templates, ISO images and script with a centralized repository. With Content Library, it is now possible to store and manage content from a central location and share through a publish/subscribe model.

  • Log Insight (lite version now available with vCenter Server): Delivers real-time log management for VMware environments, with machine learning-based intelligent grouping, high performance search and better troubleshooting. vRealize Log Insight for vCenter Server enables up to 25 monitored entities (vCenter Server, ESXi hosts and Virtual Machines).

  • Operation Management (available as part of vSphere with Operations Management): Provides critical operational enhancements in performance monitoring and capacity management. Through a unified console, customers can maintain a universal view of their virtual environment, monitor its performance and optimize utilization resources. Customers can deliver improved SLAs, achieve infrastructure and application availability, and increase IT resource utilization. On average, customers see tremendous benefits: 36% reduction in application downtime, 30% increase in hardware savings and 26% decrease in time spent on troubleshooting issues.

  • Certificate Authority: This new component provides the ability to provision and manage security certificates across your entire vSphere environment. It automates the generation and maintenance of vSphere infrastructure certificates and can deploy certificates in customized configurations to meet the security requirements of most enterprises. The VMware Certificate Authority includes the VMware Endpoint Certificate Store (VECS) which serves as an enhanced repository for certificates, private keys, and other certificate information.

Compare vSphere Features and Capabilities across Releases

If you’re not on the latest version of vSphere, see which features have changed with each version.

Comparison between editions

Comparing vSphere 5.x to vSphere 6.0

See the highlights the new features/capabilities provided with each release in this PDF.

Learn more

UPGRADE

Understanding the vSphere Upgrade Path

The upgrade of your environment to VMware vSphere 6.0 is performed in a phased manner. The components that are upgraded in earlier phases are fully compatible with components whose upgrades have not yet occurred.

Understanding the vSphere Upgrade Path

Phase 1: Perform the upgrade of the vCenter Server along with vCenter Update Manager

Before starting this phase, make note of any other VMware solutions associated with your environment, such as vCloud Director (vCD) and Site Recovery Manager (SRM), and use the VMware Product Interoperability Matrix to determine which versions of these solutions are compatible with vCenter Server 6.0. In-place upgrades to vCenter 6.0 are supported from vCenter versions 5.0 and above. Alternatively, you can choose to do a clean installation of vCenter 6.0.

 

Additional Resources:

Phase 2: Upgrade your vSphere hosts to vSphere 6.0

This may be done in a rolling manner, with individual hosts in a cluster successively updated after virtual machines are migrated using vSphere vMotion to the other running hosts. By doing so, you can upgrade your vSphere hosts while avoiding virtual machine downtime. In-place host upgrades to ESXi version 6.0 are supported from vSphere hosts running ESXi 5.0, 5.1 and 5.5. Optionally, you may choose to do a clean installation of vSphere 6.0. Upgrade methods for upgrading your vSphere hosts include using the ESXi Installer, the ESXCLI command from within the ESXi Shell, vSphere Update Manager and Auto Deploy.

 

Additional Resources (Still valid for vSphere 6):

Phase 3: Complete the upgrade of your virtual machines by first upgrading VMware Tools, then optionally upgrading the virtual hardware

vSphere 6.0 provides an extended support matrix that allows older versions of VMware Tools and older virtual hardware versions to continue to run in a supported configuration on newer versions of ESXi. This extended support matrix facilitates vSphere upgrades by allowing you to upgrade your vCenter Server and ESXi hosts right away followed by a phased upgrade of your virtual machines over time. vSphere 6.0 supports running virtual machines with VMware Tools version 4.x, 5.x and 6.0 as well as Virtual Hardware versions 4, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.

 

Virtual machines need to be powered off to be upgraded, so you should plan appropriate outage windows for this step. You can perform an orchestrated upgrade of virtual machines with vSphere Update Manager, which allows you to upgrade VMware Tools and virtual hardware at the same time.

 

Additional Resources (Still valid for vSphere 6):

VMware Tools Upgrade Flowchart:

Virtual machines running newer versions of VMware Tools are supported on older ESXi 5.x hosts. Refer to the vSphere compatibility matrix for more information.

 

Virtual Hardware Upgrade Flowchart:

Newer virtual hardware versions are not backward compatible with older ESX/ESXi hosts. Care should be taken to only upgrade virtual hardware after all vSphere hosts have been upgraded to ESXi 6.0. Refer to the vSphere compatibility matrix for more information.

Phase 4: Upgrade Datastores to VMFS version 5 (if not done already)

The final step is to upgrade your datastores to vSphere VMFS version 5. This can be done with live virtual machines running on the datastores and do not require any virtual machine downtime. vSphere 6.0 fully supports datastores with VMFS version 3, so the datastore upgrade may be scheduled at a time that’s convenient for you.

When upgrading VMFS 3 volumes to VMFS 5, the upgraded VMFS-5 volume retains the partition characteristics of the original VMFS-3 datastore. For large VMFS volumes on shared storage consider creating a new VMFS 5 volume and using Storage vMotion to migrate the data.

 

Additional Resources:

Phase 5: Install vRealize Log Insight for vCenter Server and vRealize Operations

The final step is to install additional management solutions that integrate with vCenter Server and provide capabilities for monitoring and planning. Consult the product documentation for vRealize Log Insight and vRealize Operations to see how to deploy these products.

 

Additional Resources:

LICENSING

Upgrading VMware vSphere License Keys

You must obtain new licenses to deploy VMware vSphere 6.0. Existing VMware vSphere 4.x and vSphere 5.x licenses will not work on vSphere 6.0.

 

Upgrade Eligibility

Licenses will be upgraded to the new version according to these rules:

  • Only licenses, or portion of licenses, that have active support and subscription contracts as of the day when VMware vSphere 6.0 becomes generally available (in the following known as "the GA date") will be eligible for upgrade. If a subscription has expired or will expire prior to the GA date you will retain access to any existing VMware vSphere licenses, but you will not be eligible to upgrade to VMware vSphere 6.0 license keys.
  • If your support and subscription has expired prior to the GA date you can choose to reinstate it later. If you do so, you will be eligible to upgrade to VMware vSphere 6 licenses at that time.


How to Get Your vSphere 6.0 Licenses

To upgrade a product to the new version:

  • Log into My VMware using your VMware.com account credentials.
  • Go to Accounts > License Keys. Alternatively, when you receive an alert for subscription upgrade, click Upgrade Licenses in the alert. This takes you to the License Keys page. If the alert is not appearing in the Alerts Overview, click View all Alerts to see the complete list of alerts.
  • Select Upgrade License Keys from the “I want to” dropdown. Note: If no folders or products appear, you may not have permissions to upgrade license keys on any of the folders or there may not be any license keys available for upgrade.
  • Select the folders you have access to from the folder list. All products that you are entitled to upgrade display. When you select the product you want to upgrade, you see all of the licenses for that particular product.
  • To filter the data, expand the filter and input the order number, contract number, license key, or other search criteria, and click Apply Filter. The related product that is eligible for upgrade displays in the results.
  • Enter the quantity of licenses to upgrade. You can select all or a few licenses. This number should be one or more and up to the total number of upgradeable license keys.

The system deactivates your current license for you. The new licenses are delivered in the same folder as the original license key. If any quantities of the current key remain un-upgraded, new licenses keys are generated for the remaining portion of the current product and be displayed in the confirmation process.

 

The ability to upgrade a license key depends on:

  • The permissions associated with the folder where the license key sits.
  • Eligibility of license entitlement for subscription upgrade (associated to the license key).
  • The date the new product version becomes available.

If you cannot upgrade, contact the Super User associated with that particular account or VMware Support.

 

Expected Timeframe to Receive Your vSphere License Keys

Upgrades will be available on the portal shortly after VMware vSphere 6.0 becomes generally available. All license keys with active support and subscription contracts with an end date on or after General Availability are eligible for an upgrade.

 

Preparing for Your License Upgrade

To ensure a problem-free license upgrade, VMware requests your cooperation in verifying that your license and subscription data are correct. Please take the time to review your account and contact Support if the information is not consistent with your expectation. If corrections are needed it is preferable to make them prior to the delivery of your VMware vSphere 6.0 licenses.

 

1. Review Your Support Contracts

Go to Support Contract History under Account after logging into My VMware and, using the same login, review your support contracts. Review the status and end-dates of all contracts that contain vSphere 5.x and vCenter 5.x components. If some contracts are expired or have an end-date before the General Availability (GA) date for vSphere 6.0, you will not be eligible to upgrade your licenses to VMware vSphere 6.0 for the quantities on those contracts. To request a renewal or reinstatement of contracts, use the Request Quote button in the Support Contract Details page.

vpshere Support Contract Screenshot

2. Verify Your Role

Go to Account > User & Permissions after logging into My VMware and verify your permission on each of the folders.

The ability to upgrade a license key depends on:

  • The permissions associated with the folder where the license key sits.
  • Eligibility of license entitlement for subscription upgrade (associated to the license key).
  • The date the new product version becomes available.

On the date a new version of a product becomes available, you will receive an alert that you are entitled to the new version of your current product. (see Upgrade Eligibility above). The Super User of the account has the ability to grant and remove permissions on the folder.

User and permissions screenshot

Version Downgrade

 

Downgrading from vSphere 6.0 to a previous version of vSphere 5.x

  • Log into My VMware using your VMware.com account credentials.
  • Go to Accounts > LicenseKeys.
  • Select Downgrade License Keysfrom the “I want to” dropdown. Note: If no folders or products appear, youmay not have permissions to downgrade license keys on any of the foldersor there may not be any license keys available for downgrade.
  • Select the folders you haveaccess to from the folder list. All products that you are entitled to downgrade display. When you select the product you want to downgrade, yousee all of the licenses for that particular product.
  • To filter the data, expandthe filter and input the order number, contract number, license key, orother search criteria, and click Apply Filter. The related product that iseligible for downgrade displays in the results.

Enter the quantity of licenses you want to downgrade. You can select all or a few licenses. This number should be one or more and up to the total number of license keys that are eligible for downgrade.  

 

Further Licensing Questions

For additional questions related to licensing, contact Support.