VMware vSphere 7.0 Update 2 and more Released

VMware has released vCenter 7.0 update 2, ESXi 7.0 update 2 and vSphere replication 8.4.0.

This release introduces some interesting new feature, linke vSphere native Key Provider, optimization for AMD EPYC CPUs and much more, see the VMware blog about the release here.

For vSAN there is now HCI Mesh compute clusters do not need any vSAN licensing, see the VMware blog about the vSAN 7.0 Update 2 here.

NOTES: be aware that updating to ESXi 7.0 update 2 with vLCM patch baselines can result in a error, see the VMware KB.

Note 3-12-2021: The KB has been updated, and the ESXi 7.0 Update 2 patch has been removed, and a fixed version is created. See also this VMware KB.

vCenter 7.0 update 2

What’s new:

  • vSphere Native Key Provider, see more here
  • In-product feedback: vCenter Server 7.0 Update 2 introduces an in-product feedback option in the vSphere Client to enable you provide real-time rating and comments on key VMware vSphere workflows and features.
  • New CLI deployment of vCenter Server: With vCenter Server 7.0 Update 2, by using the vCSA_with_cluster_on_ESXi.json template, you can bootstrap a single node vSAN cluster and enable vSphere Lifecycle Manager cluster image management when deploying vCenter Server on an ESXi host. For more information, see JSON Templates for CLI Deployment of the vCenter Server Appliance.
  • Parallel remediation on hosts in clusters that you manage with vSphere Lifecycle Manager baselines: With vCenter Server 7.0 Update 2, to reduce the time needed for patching or upgrading the ESXi hosts in your environment, you can enable vSphere Lifecycle Manager to remediate in parallel the hosts within a cluster by using baselines. You can remediate in parallel only ESXi hosts that are already in maintenance mode. You cannot remediate in parallel hosts in a vSAN cluster. For more information, see Remediating ESXi Hosts Against vSphere Lifecycle Manager Baselines and Baseline Groups.
  • Improved vSphere Lifecycle Manager error messages: vCenter Server 7.0 Update 2 introduces improved error messages that help you better understand the root cause for issues such as skipped nodes during upgrades and updates, or hardware compatibility, or ESXi installation and update as part of the Lifecycle Manager operations.
  • Scaled VMware vSphere vMotion operations: Starting with vCenter Server 7.0 Update 2, vSphere vMotion automatically adapts to make full use of high speed networks such as 25 GbE, 40 GbE and 100 GbE with a single vMotion VMkernel interface, up from maximum 10 GbE in previous releases. For more information, see Networking Best Practices for vSphere vMotion and the vMotion Improvements in vSphere 7 blog.
  • Increased scalability with vSphere Lifecycle Manager: With vCenter Server 7.0 Update 2, scalability for vSphere Lifecycle Manager operations with ESXi hosts and clusters is up to 400 supported ESXi hosts managed by a vSphere Lifecycle Manager Image from 280.
  • Upgrade and migration from NSX-T-managed Virtual Distributed Switches to vSphere Distributed Switches: By using vSphere Lifecycle Manager baselines, you can upgrade your system to vSphere 7.0 Update 2 and simultaneously migrate from NSX-T-managed Virtual Distributed Switches to vSphere Distributed Switches for clusters enabled with VMware NSX-T Data Center. For more information, see Using vSphere Lifecycle Manager to Migrate an NSX-T Virtual Distributed Switch to a vSphere Distributed Switch.
  • Create new clusters by importing the desired software specification from a single reference host: With vCenter Server 7.0 Update 2, you can save time and effort to ensure that you have all necessary components and images available in the vSphere Lifecycle Manager depot before creating a new cluster by importing the desired software specification from a single reference host. You do not compose or validate a new image, because during image import, vSphere Lifecycle Manager extracts in the vCenter Server instance where you create the cluster the software specification from the reference host, as well as the software depot associated with the image. You can import an image from an ESXi host that is in the same or a different vCenter Server instance. You can also import an image from an ESXi host that is not managed by vCenter Server, move the reference host to the cluster or use the image on the host and seed it to the new cluster without moving the host. For more information, see Create a Cluster That Uses a Single Image by Importing an Image from a Host.
  • Enable vSphere with Tanzu on a cluster managed by the vSphere Lifecycle Manager: As a vSphere administrator, you can enable vSphere with Tanzu on vSphere clusters that you manage with a single VMware vSphere Lifecycle Manager image. You can then use the Supervisor Cluster while it is managed by vSphere Lifecycle Manager. For more information, see Working with vSphere Lifecycle Manager.
  • vSphere Lifecycle Manager fast upgrades: Starting with vSphere 7.0 Update 2, you can configure vSphere Lifecycle Manager to suspend virtual machines to memory instead of migrating them, powering them off, or suspending them to disk. For more information, see Configuring vSphere Lifecycle Manager for Fast Upgrades.
  • Confidential vSphere Pods on a Supervisor Cluster in vSphere with Tanzu: Starting with vSphere 7.0 Update 2, you can run confidential vSphere Pods, keeping guest OS memory encrypted and protected against access from the hypervisor, on a Supervisor Cluster in vSphere with Tanzu. You can configure confidential vSphere Pods by adding Secure Encrypted Virtualization-Encrypted State (SEV-ES) as an extra security enhancement. For more information, see Deploy a Confidential vSphere Pod.

See the full release notes here.

ESXi 7.0 update 2

What’s new:

  • ESXi 7.0 Update 2 supports vSphere Quick Boot on the following servers:
    • Dell Inc.
      • PowerEdge M830
      • PowerEdge R830
    • HPE
      • ProLiant XL675d Gen10 Plus
    • Lenovo
      • ThinkSystem SR 635
      • ThinkSystem SR 655
  • Some ESXi configuration files become read-only: As of ESXi 7.0 Update 2, configuration formerly stored in the files /etc/keymap, /etc/vmware/welcome, /etc/sfcb/sfcb.cfg, /etc/vmware/snmp.xml, /etc/vmware/logfilters, /etc/vmsyslog.conf, and /etc/vmsyslog.conf.d/*.conf files, now resides in the ConfigStore database. You can modify this configuration only by using ESXCLI commands, and not by editing files. For more information, see VMware knowledge base articles 82637 and 82638.
  • VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes statistics for better debugging: With ESXi 7.0 Update 2, you can track performance statistics for vSphere Virtual Volumes to quickly identify issues such as latency in third-party VASA provider responses. By using a set of commands, you can get statistics for all VASA providers in your system, or for a specified namespace or entity in the given namespace, or enable statistics tracking for the complete namespace. For more information, see Collecting Statistical Information for vVols.
  • NVIDIA Ampere Ğ°rchitecture support: vSphere 7.0 Update 2 adds support for the NVIDIA Ampere architecture that enables you to perform high end AI/ML training, and ML inference workloads, by using the accelerated capacity of the A100 GPU. In addition, vSphere 7.0 Update 2 improves GPU sharing and utilization by supporting the Multi-Instance GPU (MIG) technology. With vSphere 7.0 Update 2, you also see enhanced performance of device-to-device communication, building on the existing NVIDIA GPUDirect functionality, by enabling Address Translation Services (ATS) and Access Control Services (ACS) at the PCIe bus layer in the ESXi kernel.
  • Support for Mellanox ConnectX-6 200G NICs: ESXi 7.0 Update 2 supports Mellanox Technologies MT28908 Family (ConnectX-6) and Mellanox Technologies MT2892 Family (ConnectX-6 Dx) 200G NICs.
  • Performance improvements for AMD Zen CPUs: With ESXi 7.0 Update 2, out-of-the-box optimizations can increase AMD Zen CPU performance by up to 30% in various benchmarks. The updated ESXi scheduler takes full advantage of the AMD NUMA architecture to make the most appropriate placement decisions for virtual machines and containers. AMD Zen CPU optimizations allow a higher number of VMs or container deployments with better performance.
  • Reduced compute and I/O latency, and jitter for latency sensitive workloads: Latency sensitive workloads, such as in financial and telecom applications, can see significant performance benefit from I/O latency and jitter optimizations in ESXi 7.0 Update 2. The optimizations reduce interference and jitter sources to provide a consistent runtime environment. With ESXi 7.0 Update 2, you can also see higher speed in interrupt delivery for passthrough devices.
  • Confidential vSphere Pods on a Supervisor Cluster in vSphere with Tanzu: Starting with vSphere 7.0 Update 2, you can run confidential vSphere Pods, keeping guest OS memory encrypted and protected against access from the hypervisor, on a Supervisor Cluster in vSphere with Tanzu. You can configure confidential vSphere Pods by adding Secure Encrypted Virtualization-Encrypted State (SEV-ES) as an extra security enhancement. For more information, see Deploy a Confidential vSphere Pod.
  • vSphere Lifecycle Manager fast upgrades: Starting with vSphere 7.0 Update 2, you can significantly reduce upgrade time and system downtime, and minimize system boot time, by suspending virtual machines to memory and using the Quick Boot functionality. You can configure vSphere Lifecycle Manager to suspend virtual machines to memory instead of migrating them, powering them off, or suspending them to disk when you update an ESXi host. For more information, see Configuring vSphere Lifecycle Manager for Fast Upgrades.
  • Encrypted Fault Tolerance log traffic: Starting with vSphere 7.0 Update 2, you can encrypt Fault Tolerance log traffic to get enhanced security. vSphere Fault Tolerance performs frequent checks between the primary and secondary VMs to enable quick resumption from the last successful checkpoint. The checkpoint contains the VM state that has been modified since the previous checkpoint. Encrypting the log traffic prevents malicious access or network attacks.

See the full release notes here.

vSphere replication 8.4.0

What’s new:

  • Reprotect optimization when vSphere Replication is used with Site Recovery Manager. Checksum is no longer used for reprotect run soon after a planned migration. Instead, changes are tracked at the site of the recovered VM and only those changes are replicated when reprotect is run.
  • New config service/management UI.
  • Support for vSphere Native Key Provider – VRMS Appliance Management Interface.
  • Support for virtual NVMe controller.
  • Ability to select multiple VMs to move between vSphere Replication servers and to reconfigure replications.
  • vSphere Replication 8.4 continues to release accessibility enhancements based on VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) tests

See the full release notes here.

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