vAdmins facing DUAL vSphere upgrades

vSphere 6 gets its first refresh this month, cloud on-ramp coming soon

VMworld 2015 Brace yourself, vAdmins: the first major update for vSphere 6.0 is coming, probably in late September, and a more major update is in the works.

vSphere 6.0 debuted in March 2015 after a lengthy beta process. VMware has this week proclaimed it the most successful vSphere release ever, in terms of take-up rate. But we've been led to understand that much of the adoption was among those who don't use vSphere for much more than vanilla server virtualisation. Bigger users, or those who put vSphere to work in more complex scenarios, have hung back from the point zero release to await a revision that shakes out the bugs that inevitably come with any big new release.

Update 1 for vSphere 6.0 will be just such a release, with one exception: VMware's automated patch-o-tronic code, Update Manager, will become part of the suite.

Beyond that we're told not to expect much more than bug fixes, but the release is expected to encourage larger vSphere users to start their upgrades to version 6.x . One thing that definitely won't make it in is the new HTML 5 web client, which VMware thinks needs a bit more bashing from users to beat it into the appropriate shape.

At VMworld 2015 the company has also outlined a future, more significant, upgrade to vSphere. Code-named Project Skyscraper this update will probably land by the end of 2016 and is squarely aimed at making vSphere an easier on-ramp to cloud services.

Features disclosed at the show include cross-cloud vMotion, a tool that just about teleports workloads from on-premises servers into VMware's vCloud Air public cloud. Users are being promised the ability to move workloads with almost zero disruption. Content Sync is another promised feature and will allow VM templates, ISOs and scripts to appear in vCloud Air.

The Reg's virtualisation desk understands, after informal chats with VMware folk, that SkyScraper will be the company's tool to encourage users who don't go far beyond server virtualisation into the cloud. Such users know about cloud and understand it, but aren't moving. By putting a lift to the top of a skyscraper into vSphere, Virtzilla hopes to get such users a little closer to the cloud so they can see it isn't so scary up there.

VMware needs more of its core users to make the move, because it is suggesting that when the dust settles it will rank alongside AWS, Azure, Google and IBM as one of the world's major cloud providers. Today, VMware says seven per cent of its revenue comes from the cloud, a figure that includes all its software-as-a-service revenue. With AirWatch having offered SaaS from the get-go, that seven per cent is therefore not an entirely convincing indicator the company is making a strong transition to cloud. On the upside, VMware has half a million customers to up-sell. ®

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