Whats new in VMware Fault Tolerance 6.0

VMware Fault Tolerance (FT) in vSphere 5.5 is one of those features you would love to use but because of its vCPU limitation it was not really helping to protect the Mission Critical applications so for many its left behind. With vSphere 6.0, VMware broken the limitation of a single vCPU for Fault Tolerance, a FT VM now Supports upto 4 vCPUs and 64 GB of RAM. With vSMP support, FT can be used to protect your mission critical applications. Along with the vSMP FT support, let’s take a look at what’s new in vSphere 6.0 Fault Tolerance(FT).
vSphere 6.0 - FT_1

Benefits of Fault Tolerance

  • Continuous Availability with Zero downtime and Zero data loss
  • NO TCP connections loss during failover
  • Fault Tolerance is completely transparent to Guest OS.
  • FT doesn’t depend on Guest OS and application
  • Instantaneous failover from Primary VM to Secondary VM in case of ESXi host failure

What’s New in vSphere 6.0 Fault Tolerance

  • FT support upto 4 vCPUs and 64 GB RAM
  • Fast Check-Pointing, a new Scalable technology is introduced to keep primary and secondary in Sync by replacing “Record-Replay”
  • vSphere 6.0, Supports vMotion of both Primary and Secondary Virtual Machine
  • With vSphere 6.0, You will be able to backup your virtual machines. FT supports for vStorage APIs for Data Protection (VADP) and it also supports all leading VADP solutions in Market like Symantec, EMC, HP ,etc.
  • With vSphere 6.0, FT Supports all Virtual Disk Type like EZT, Thick or Thin Provisioned disks. It supports only Eager Zeroed Thick with vSphere 5.5 and earlier versions
  • Snapshot of FT configured Virtual Machines are supported with vSphere 6.0
  • New version of FT keeps the Separate copies of VM files like .VMX, .VMDk files to protect primary VM from both Host and Storage failures. You are allowed to keep both Primary and Secondary VM files on different datastore.

Difference between vSphere 5.5 and vSphere 6.0 Fault Tolerance (FT)

Difefrence between FT 5.5 amd 6.0
One thing to be aware of with VMware FT is that this feature does not monitor the application its still only virtual machine protection so you still need to think about the application and how it will be protected.

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What new features are in vSphere 6.0

Well there has been some public information out there for some time on some of the new features that will or maybe in vSphere 6.0, mainly information that has come from VMworld 2014 and some from the beta which although public did have some NDA with it. As VMware announce the new release below are some of the new features that made the cut into the new version.
vSphere Platform (including ESXi)

  • Increase in vSphere Host Configuration Maximums
    • 480 Physical CPUs per Host
    • Up to 12 TB of Physical Memory
    • Up to 1000 VMs per Host
    • Up to 6000 VMs per Cluster
  • Virtual Hardware v11
    • 128 vCPUs per VM
    • 4 TB RAM per VM
    • Hot-add RAM now vNUMA aware
    • Serial and parallel port enhancements
      • A virtual machine can now have a maximum of 32 serial ports
      • Serial and parallel ports can now be removed
  • ESXi Account & Password Management
    • New ESXCLI commands to add/modify/remove local user accounts
    • Configurable account lockout policies
    • Password complexity setting via VIM API & vCenter Host Advanced System Settings
  • Improved Auditability of ESXi Admin Actions
    • Prior to vSphere 6.0, actions taken through vCenter by any user would show up as ‘vpxuser’ in ESXi logs.
    • In vSphere 6.0 actions taking through vCenter will show the actual username in the ESXi logs
  • Enhanced Microsoft Clustering (MSCS) Support
    • Support for Windows 2012 R2 and SQL 2012
    • Failover Clustering and AlwaysOn Availability Groups
    • IPv6 Support
    • PVSCSI & SCSI controller support
    • vMotion Support
      • Clustering across physical hosts with Physical Compatibility Mode RDMs (Raw Device Mapping)
      • Supported on Windows 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, and 2012 R2

vCenter 6.0

  • Scalability Improvements
    • 1000 Hosts per vCenter
    • 10,000 VMs per vCenter
    • 64 Hosts per cluster (including VSAN!)
    • 6000 VMs per cluster
    • Linked Mode no longer requires MS ADAM
  • New Simplified Architecture with Platform Services Controller
    • Centralizes common services
    • Embedded or Centralized deployment models
  • Content Library
    • Repository for vApps, VM templates, and ISOs
    • Publisher/Subscriber model with two replication models
    • Allow content to be stored in one location and replicated out to “Subscriber” vCenters
  • Certificate Management
    • Certificate management for ESXi hosts & vCenter
    • New VMware Endpoint Certificate Service (VECS)
    • New VMware Certificate Authority
  • New vMotion Capabilities
    • Cross vSwitch vMotion
    • Cross vCenter vMotion
    • Long Distance vMotion
    • vMotion across L3 boundaries

Storage & Availability

  • VMware Virtual Volumes (VVOLS)
    • Logical extension of virtualization into the storage world
    • Policy based management of storage on per-VM basis
    • Offloaded data services
    • Eliminates LUN management
  • Storage Policy-Based Management
    • Leverages VASA API to intelligently map storage to policies and capabilities
    • Polices are assigned to VMs and ensure storage performance & availability
  • Fault Tolerance
    • Multi-vCPU FT for up to 4 vCPUs
    • Enhanced virtual disk format support (thin & thick disks)
    • Ability to hot configure FT
    • Greatly increased FT host compatibility
    • Backup support with snapshots through VADP
    • Now uses copies of VMDKs for added storage redundancy (allowed to be on separate datastores)
  • vSphere Replication
    • End-to-end network compression
    • Network traffic isolation
    • Linux file system quiescing
    • Fast full sync
    • Move replicas without full sync
    • IPv6 support
  • vSphere Data Protection
    • VDP Advanced has been rolled into VDP and is no longer available for purchase (the features of VDP-A are now available for free to Essentials Plus and higher editions of vSphere!)
    • Protects up to 800 VMs per vCenter
    • Up to 20 VDP appliances per vCenter
    • Replicate backup data between VDP & EMC Avamar
    • EMC Data Domain support with DD Boost
    • Automated backup verification

So there you have it – a pretty long list of updates for vSphere 6.0. One thing that I was surprised to see that that vSphere Application HA has been removed in vSphere 6.0 due to a lack of demand for the feature, oddly its not something we have seen at Symantec and still our user base grows quarter by quarter and Symantec ApplicationHA goes on..

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