The release of vSphere 7 Update 2 introduces significant improvements to the vSphere Lifecycle Manager.
Below are some of the notable improvements-
- vSphere with Tanzu on a vLCM enabled Cluster
- Hitachi HCI Support
- Bootstrap a vSAN cluster with vLCM
- Host Seeding
- Quick Boot and Suspend-To-Memory
vSphere with Tanzu on a vLCM enabled Cluster
Starting from vSphere 7 Update 2, You can enable vSphere with Tanzu on a vLCM enabled cluster. With this, the Workload Control Plane (WCP) leverages vLCM to manage the lifecycle of the supervisor cluster.
When you enable vSphere with Tanzu on a vLCM enabled cluster, the vSphere Lifecycle Manager installs the Spherelet vSphere Installation Bundle (VIB) on every ESXi host in the cluster. The vLCM desired image is also updated with the Kubernetes version that ships with vCenter Server.
You can update the latest version of vSphere with Tanzu, including the vSphere infrastructure supporting vSphere with Tanzu clusters, the Kubernetes versions, and the Kubernetes CLI Tools for vSphere on a vLCM enabled cluster.
Add a New Host to a Supervisor Cluster
When you add a new Host to a supervisor cluster with vLCM enabled, the vLCM installs the Spherelet VIB and the supported VIBs on the host. Once the installation completes, the vSphere with Tanzu configures the Spherelet process so that the newly added host can now run containers natively on the ESXi host.
For more information, please visit the detailed documentation here.
Hitachi HCI Support
The vSphere Lifecycle Manager has an important component known as the Hardware Support Manager(HSM). HSM allows different vendors to integrate with vLCM to support the hardware firmware and driver upgrades via vLCM desired image.
Starting from vSphere7 Update 2, We are introducing vLCM support for the Hitachi UCP ready nodes model, which allows Hitachi customers to leverage one-click lifecycle management of both ESXi and Hardware components. Please check out the details here.
Bootstrap a vSAN cluster
A new vCenter CLI Installer template, ‘embedded_vcsa_onESXI’, has been introduced starting from vSphere 7 Update 2. This template allows you to bootstrap a vSAN cluster with a single ESXi host and also gives you an option to enable vLCM. This is a great way to QuickStart the vSAN cluster with a single ESXi node and provides you an option to manage the cluster with a single vLCM desired image.
You can now reference an ESXi host to extract the vLCM desired image. The reference ESXi host can be part of the same vCenter or a different vCenter Server. You can also reference a standalone ESXi host to extract the vLCM desired image.
This feature can be handy for an Air-Gap environment where customers do not have access to VMware image depot, can refer an existing host to fetch the image specifications such as base Image and vendor add-on.
Quick Boot and Suspend-To-Memory
During the upgrade, significant time is spent on live migrating the virtual machines. Starting from vSphere 7 Update 2, We offer you a choice to suspend the VM states into the ESXi memory during upgrade/remediation. Please note that this feature is dependent on the quick boot option and only applicable for vLCM enabled clusters, which use the desired state image per cluster.
It is also important to understand that the suspend-To-Memory option incurs downtime during the upgrade process. You can leverage this feature in an environment where vMotion is not feasible, or workload can be offline during the upgrade process.
To conclude, the recent improvements further simplifies the overall lifecycle management of the vSphere environment. The addition of vSphere with Tanzu further extends vLCM capabilities to manage the lifecycle aspects of a supervisor cluster without any hassle. Small but significant improvements such as Host seeding and Quick boot solve some of the operational issues arising out of the infrastructure constraints.
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