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What’s New in vSphere 7

While there are many new and updated features of vSphere 7, perhaps the most impactful for customers long-term will be the changes to the product updating capabilities, specifically vCenter Server Update Planner as well as Lifecycle Manager.


 

Hello, my name is Shawn Bolan and I am a Technical Trainer with New Horizons in Omaha, NE.  Today I would like to share with you a few interesting details about the recent launch of VMware vSphere 7.

In April 2020, VMware announced the general availability of VMware vSphere 7, the latest version of their flagship virtualization product.  VMware customers had been anxiously awaiting the release of vSphere 7, the subsequent rollout and adoption by the customer has certainly been fantastic.

While there are many new and updated features of vSphere 7, perhaps the most impactful for customers long-term will be the changes to the product updating capabilities, specifically vCenter Server Update Planner as well as Lifecycle Manager.

In a blog post dated April 23, 2020, VMware announced results from a survey of vSphere 7 beta program participants.  Among the results was a survey question, “What is the top feature worth upgrading for?”.  The survey responses were overwhelmingly positive for vCenter Server Update Planner and Lifecycle Manager!

vsphere new horizons

What is vCenter Server Update Planner?  Update Planner is a part of the greater Lifecycle Manager product, the key to understanding the functionality of the product is in the word “Planner”.  Update Planner facilitates planning for a vCenter Server upgrade by querying online interoperability matrices to report which products within your vSphere environment meet the minimum software and hardware requirements for a successful upgrade of vCenter Server.  

Very often, one of the most labor-intensive parts of performing an upgrade of vCenter Server is to determine the product interoperability of the planner version of vCenter Server with all of the various products and services that integrate with vCenter such as ESXi hosts, vRealize products, NSX, etc.  Quite simply, Update Planner fully automates that step for the administrator!

vSphere Lifecycle Manager the next generation of the venerable vSphere Update Manager (VUM) product.  VUM has been the go-to product for applying updates (patches) to ESXi hosts, potentially upgrading ESXi hosts as well as updating VM virtual hardware versions and updating VMware Tools for VMs.

Lifecycle Manager retains the capabilities of VUM with respect to update virtual hardware and VMware Tools, however, the approach Lifecycle Manager takes to updating ESXi hosts is where the truly revolutionary changes can be found.

VUM approached updating ESXi hosts in a very traditional manner by facilitating the download and bundling of updates or patches (into baselines) and then delivering those baselines to ESXi hosts which then installed the updates.

Lifecycle Manager revolutionizes the traditional updating approach by targeting hosts with a new updated OS image vs. simply installing updates.  In addition to this fundamental change to the updating process, Lifecycle Manager also operates at the cluster level by targeting a cluster of ESXi hosts to run at the same image level, thus ensuring consistency between all hosts in the cluster.

If those fundamental changes we not enough, administrators can choose to include with the updated ESXi image vendor-specific add-ons as well as driver and firmware updates!  In this respect, Lifecycle Manager radically simplifies the ESXi host update process by being a ‘one-stop shop’ for keeping hosts up to date!

vsphere new horizons

If you would like to learn more about vCenter Update Planner as well as vSphere Lifecycle Manager, contact your local New Horizons Account Executive and inquire about the VMware vSphere Install, Configure, Manage class for vSphere 7.  This 5-day class is a comprehensive look at the vSphere 7 platform including many of the updated and changed features.
 

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