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VMware plans to give vSphere power to automatically patch everything running in a VM

But first, you get a taste of it with host lifecycle management, and more waiting for K8s integration

VMware plans to give its flagship vSphere product the power to patch all the software inside a virtual machine.

But first you get vSphere 7, which goes on sale today.

VMware has made much of the fact that vSphere now treats both VMs and Kubernetes clusters as first-class citizens. But vanilla vSphere 7 doesn't include that integration. To access K8s, you need Cloud Foundation, VMware's bundle of virtualised compute, storage and networking. And the version of Cloud Foundation that handles K8s is due on 1 May.

The rationale for the split is that if you're building modern apps, you want and need everything to be virtualised and automated.

For those of you content to keep running simpler private or public clouds focused on compute virtualization, vanilla vSphere is for you.

Version 7 is still a big upgrade. Krish Prasad, senior vice president and general manager of VMware's cloud business, reckons there's plenty in it for vAdmins.

In a conversation with The Register, he talked up lifecycle management for vSphere and the hosts that run it. vSphere 7 can therefore non-disruptively update itself and ensure that hosts run your preferred software and firmware.

"This release is focused on our own software, and drivers, firmware and so on," Prasad said. "The next step will be workload level. Software inside the VM – that will happen as part of our roadmap."

Which will be rather handy, especially if VMware can make workload-level changes while a VM is dormant.

vSphere 7 also uses the hardware-root-of-trust tech offered by AMD and Intel to give extra security comfort. Better GPU handling is another new addition because VMware recognises that accelerators are increasingly mainstream. A new Distributed Resource Scheduler will keep an eye on your fleet of hosts and if it can find resources better suited to your apps will help to move them there.

The upgrade path to the new version is a straight shot for users of vSphere 6.5 and 6.7, but not supported from vSphere 5.5 and 6.0. Both of those old versions currently receive VMware's lowest form of support – Technical Guidance – but even that ends on 19 September 2020 and 12 March 2022 respectively.

vSphere 6.5 and 6.7 are fully supported until 15 November 2021.

So there's an upgrade in your future, vAdmins. Hopefully the potent new patching features are available by the time you make your move. ®

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