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vSphere 6.5 goes GA, gains surprise powers to predict the future

Virtzilla's Predictive Distributed Resource Scheduler squeezed into final release

VMware's quietly revealed that vSphere 6.5 is now generally available and therefore on-sale to world+dog.

VSphere 6.5's had a long gestation. The Register understands an early version of the upgrade was used to run infrastructure for VMworld Europe 2015. A beta commenced in February 2016 and the update was then formally announced at VMworld Europe 2016. In the last week, rumours circulated that the new release might be delayed, leading VMware to remind its community not to leak images or other information about the happy day on which vSphere 6.5 would emerge.

We now know that November 15th was the day of release, and that VMware snuck in vSphere Predictive Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) which it had previously offered as a preview without suggesting it would become part of the next vSphere release. The DRS works with vRealize Operations to figure out whether VMs are likely to need additional resources, then automates allocation of those resources before a VM wobbles.

When praising vSphere 6.5 at last week's vForum event in Sydney, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger mentioned user interface enhancements as the first on his list of noteworthy changes and quipped he is often asked if VMware employs user experience engineers. He assured the crowd VMware does have such folks on staff. vSphere 6.5 also adds encryption of VMs, a feature The Register's virtualisation desk this week learned will be helped along by Australian outfit QuintessenceLabs whose qClient Software Development Kit (SDK) adds key management functionality to the new release.

The third key enhancement Gelsinger name-checked is the integration of containers, making vSphere applicable to more tasks.

VMware has also told The Register this release is not a major advance, in part because vSphere users are not asking for great leaps forward.

These days, vSphere is more important in the context of VMware's Cloud Foundation, the bundle with Virtual SAN and NSX aimed at offering rapid rollouts of private clouds with easy extension into hybrid clouds run by VMware's big cloud partners like IBM and Amazon Web Services.

The release is still a significant milestone for VMware, as it's the first big vSphere enhancement in more than 18 months.

VMware's also announced a new release of its Identity Manager and vRealize Automation 6.2.5 this week. Both add a few minor features and address the Dirty COW Linux vulnerability. ®

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