For those of you who may have missed it, vSphere 6.5U1 was released very recently. This new release of vSphere also brought along a new release of vSAN, version 6.6.1. Included in this release are a few really nice features that did not make it into the major 6.6 release of vSAN that we had earlier this year. However some of these features are quite significant, especially as we work to make HCI (hyper-converged infrastructure) more and more easy to deploy, configure and manage.
Integration with VUM, VMware Update Manager
vSAN 6.6.1 is fully integrated with VUM to provide a powerful new update process that makes sure your vSAN cluster is up to date. Using information from the VMware Compatibility Guide (VCG) [also known as the Hardware Compatibility Guide (HCL)], as well details about the underlying hardware, VUM provides appropriate build recommendations for updates, including drivers versions and patch updates. The recommended builds ensures the hardware compatibility of your vSAN deployment is maintained.
vSAN Performance Diagnostics
Another new feature included with vSAN 6.6.1 is the performance diagnostics tool. The new tool is designed to examine the results of a performance benchmark (e.g. HCIbench, Proactive Tests) that have previously been run on your vSAN configuration, and provides guidance on how the performance of the benchmark might be improved. The feature offers advice such as increasing a stripe width, adding more VMs or bringing more disk groups into use to improve performance. The feature needs the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) to be enabled, as well as the vSAN Performance Service. Once these have been configured, and the diagnostic information has been gathered for approx. 1 hour, benchmark results can then be examined to see if the maximum number of IOPS, maximum throughtput or minimum latency has been achieved. If not, guidance is provided on how best to achieve these objectives in a benchmark run.
A new VMware KB article, 2148770, describes the different checks and tests, and the possible guidance.
Improved vCenter and unicast behaviour for cluster membership
With vSAN 6.6 and the introduction of unicast communication, vCenter is now the “source of truth” for cluster membership. However, if vCenter is down and changes are then made to the cluster, when vCenter recovers, it may reset those cluster changes. In vSAN 6.6.1, there is a new property for vSAN called “configuration generation”. This addresses the issue of tracking vSAN membership and will avoid the previously described situation.
New health checks for Update Manager (VUM)
The health check has been updated to include checks for new features, such as VUM.
Improvements in device serviceability
Although this might seem a small item to add to the list, I know of a number of customers who have been waiting on this behaviour. With 6.6.1, we now have the ability to blink the LEDs on devices that are on HP Gen9 controllers in pass-thru mode. This will make the identification of devices much simpler in the very large vSAN deployments.