With PowerEdge & vSphere 7, it’s full speed ahead on your journey to the modern hybrid cloud
When VMware announced Project Pacific at VMworld last fall, Kit Colbert, Chief Technology Officer of Cloud Platform at VMware, described it as “the biggest evolution of vSphere in easily the last decade.” Now that it’s here, we see that it lives up to the hype. vSphere 7 is truly a game-changer, bringing native support for Kubernetes into vSphere so organizations can run containers and virtual machines on the same platform.
Not to mention, in addition to the new Kubernetes capabilities, vSphere 7 includes many other compelling features to improve administration, resource management, and security.
vSphere 7 is offered in two editions, Standard and Enterprise Plus, while vSphere with Kubernetes is currently available through VMware Cloud Foundation with Tanzu. Whether you are just starting with virtualization, already using containers, or looking to improve utilization of your GPUs, vSphere 7 and Dell EMC PowerEdge can help your organization improve productivity and maximize its potential on your journey the hybrid cloud.
vSphere 7 on PowerEdge Servers
vSphere 7 is now available factory-installed on PowerEdge servers, which means Dell customers can benefit from purchasing their hardware and software customized together. Not only does this provide you with top-level service and support from one single vendor (Dell has over 1,800 VMware-certified support professionals, with virtually all calls handled without escalation to VMware), but running vSphere on PowerEdge means that you can take advantage of our systems management software plug-in, Open Manage Integration for VMware vCenter (OMIVV), which recently added several compelling new features with the launch of version 5.1. Additionally, customers ordering 1 and 2-socket PowerEdge servers can now get vSphere 7 Standard pre-installed and pre-activated, saving up to 40 minutes in deployment time per server.¹
Simplified Management Using Open Manage Integration for VMware vCenter (OMIVV)
Dell EMC OMIVV is a plug-in that helps bridge the physical and virtual gap by automating and consolidating key PowerEdge server management tasks within VMware vCenter. OMIVV reduces complexity and helps minimize errors for tasks like new ESXi deployments and firmware updates. Using a single OMIVV plug-in, you can manage up to 15 vCenters and 2,000 servers, schedule up to 15 parallel cluster aware firmware updates, and create VMware ESXi deployment jobs in just a few clicks.
The newest release of OMIVV, version 5.1, includes several key enhancements including:
- Firmware updates managed from vCenter – Ability to deploy BIOS and firmware updates from within vCenter, including leveraging DRS for cluster-aware updates
- Physical and virtual server health in one place – physical server inventory, monitoring, and alerting directly within vCenter
- Speed up new server deployment – Templates for easy server configuration and hypervisor deployment on a new system without PXE boot, drop it into a cluster and linking to vCenter Host Profiles
- vSphere 7 support with vSphere Lifecycle Manager – OMIVV 5.1 can support new vSphere 7 clusters with vSphere Lifecycle Manager, allowing a consolidated scheduler of ESXi image and drivers updates alongside a firmware baseline; OMIVV 5.1 also still administrates legacy ESXi clusters (6.0 U3 and higher) along with the new 7.0 hosts using the standard firmware update process
What’s New in vSphere 7 on PowerEdge?
There are several new or enhanced features in vSphere 7, including:
VMware Lifecycle Manager: One of the most compelling new features of vSphere 7 is VMware Lifecycle Manager (vLCM), a unified software and firmware lifecycle management scheduled within vCenter. It greatly simplifies the management process, offering one solution to configure, patch, or upgrade ESXi clusters. You can set software and firmware baselines, then easily monitor and schedule updates from within vCenter. The pre-check function allows you to preview updates and look for potential conflicts before starting the update process and reduces pre-upgrade planning time. It’s scalable to even the largest deployments and provides a consistent experience. In addition, VMware added vCenter Server profiles to provide desired state configuration management.
At the current time, most global x86 server manufacturers do not offer vLCM, so this is a key advantage to running vSphere on PowerEdge.
To see vLCM in action, check out this 4-minute demo from VMware using vLCM on PowerEdge:
vSphere Trust Authority –Security is always a top priority, whether you’re running in your datacenter or in a cloud. vSphere 7 introduces remote validation for sensitive workloads using vSphere Trust Authority. You can better secure infrastructure, data, and access with a comprehensive, built-in architecture and a simple, policy-driven model. In addition, vSphere 7 provides secure vCenter Server authentication using external Identity Federation.
vSphere Bitfusion – Shortly after the initial vSphere release, VMware announced vSphere Bitfusion, which leverages accelerators such as GPUs for AI/ML workloads in VMs or containers. This vSphere feature enables users to disaggregate and attach GPU resources to any VMs or containers dynamically based on business needs. The core benefits are the ability to consolidate resources and then increase efficiency through the sharing of GPUs. Bitfusion will be available as an add-on feature to vSphere Enterprise Plus.
Mike Adams, VMware Senior Director Cloud Platform Business Unit, does a great job explaining vSphere and Bitfusion in this lightboard video. We also highlighted Bitfusion in a Crowd Chat event last month: Enabling Real AI with Dell; Learn how Dell Technologies is making AI Real for customers through partnerships with VMware (if you missed it, you can catch the replay here). We are excited to add this partnership, so stay tuned for more updates on PowerEdge and vSphere Bitfusion in the months ahead.
vSphere with Kubernetes
Bridge the gap between Developers and IT
Finally, organizations no longer need to have multiple separate systems for their VMs and containers. vSphere 7 enables the DevOps model with infrastructure access for developers through Kubernetes APIs. vSphere with Kubernetes is currently available only with VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) 4. VCF consists of two families of services, Tanzu Runtime Service, which allows developers to build applications with freedom using the upstream conformant Kubernetes distributions, and Hybrid Infrastructure Services, which allows developers to manage consistent, compliant and conformant Kubernetes clusters. Powered by innovations in vSphere 7 with Kubernetes, these services enable a self-service experience through Kubernetes APIs.
A True Game-Changer
It’s not often that something new comes along and significantly impacts the way organizations manage their operations. In fact, we can probably all recall examples of products that did NOT live up their hype (when was the last time you drove your Edsel wearing your Google Glass and drinking a New Coke?). But in this case, vSphere 7 truly does create a game changer, establishing vSphere as THE platform for modern applications and delivering Kubernetes at scale. When paired with PowerEdge servers, organizations can customize their infrastructure to improve administration, simplify their resource management, enhance security, increase GPU utilization and manage more easily manage Kubernetes clusters. With the right solutions and partners in place, you can move forward with confidence no matter what stage of the journey you are in.
For more details on the above new features, as well as additional enhancements in vSphere 7 you can view the full list of new vSphere 7 features or compare versions 6.5, 6.7 and 7.
For more information on how PowerEdge and VMware products and solutions can help your organization visit our Solutions Page.
¹ Only applicable to new customers and based on internal VMware comparison of the typical vSphere installation and activation process as compared to the situation when vSphere is preinstalled and pre-activated at the factory. Typical installation and activation requires nine steps, while the pre-activated and preinstalled process requires three steps.