This content is part of the Conference Coverage: VMworld 2021 news and conference coverage

VSphere 7 Update 3 broadens app acceleration, cloud initiatives

VMware announced several initiatives and updates, such as Project Arctic and vSphere 7 Update 3, that broaden the scope of vSphere's app modernization and cloud capabilities.

The newest release of vSphere 7 continues to address common industry issues, including app modernization, cloud flexibility, vendor lock-in and security. These updates include NSX enhancements, such as improved configurations and monitoring insights, and streamlined network setup for Kubernetes clusters with Tanzu.

Also included in the updates and initiatives are Project Artic, a SaaS offering that delivers cloud capabilities to on-premises vSphere deployments; and Project Capitola, which delivers software-defined memory to improve memory resiliency and performance.

In a session called "What's New with vSphere," speaker Himanshu Singh, group manager at VMware, and co-speaker Ken Werneburg, director of technical marketing at VMware, delved into the newest vSphere 7 release and how the product's initiatives and updates better deliver accelerated applications and improve cloud operations.

A look at the newest vSphere initiatives

VMware introduced a host of new initiatives, including Project Artic, Project Capitola and Project Radium, and offered insights on the progress of Tanzu and Project Monterey.

Project Arctic. Project Arctic aims to deliver VMware cloud capacity and cross-cloud services to on-premises vSphere deployments through native integrations of cloud connectivity within vSphere. Project Arctic enables upgrades to an as-a-service model directly from the vCenter console and expands capacity on-demand.

"The need to speed the adoption process of a hybrid cloud solution without the worry of overprovisioning the on-premises infrastructure is the key element that brought the VMware cloud team to start Project Arctic. For sure, the initial setup and the workload placement is the critical part that old and new organizations are facing before they start to gain benefits. This is a great point for brownfield scenarios [when organizations] want to implement a multi-cloud as-a-service model from existing vCenters," said Lino Telera, blogger and influencer for and cloud architect at InfoCert.

Project Capitola. Project Capitola is an implementation of software-defined memory that optimizes memory usage in next-generation applications. Project Capitola seeks to reduce the burden of memory infrastructure operations and unnecessary costs through automatic memory aggregation across scaled memory tiers.

"Capitola is about taking those different [memory] tiers and genuinely automating them in a completely transparent way so that the user doesn't need to go in and do any sort of configuration against it," Werneberg said.

Project Radium. Project Radium builds upon vSphere Bitfusion's GPU pooling and sharing capabilities over a network and extends vSphere Bitfusion's support for not only Nvidia GPUs, but AMD, Graphcore and Intel. Project Radium eliminates software support requirements when users enable these new hardware architectures. Project Radium also supports the attachment of accelerators over a standard, such as Ethernet, without the need to manually change application code.

"The idea is with Radium that we're taking workload types and expanding what we can address. So beyond PyTorch or TensorFlow or things like that, the goal is that we will be able to take any sort of workflow that is looking for some sort of a resource, a remote resource, and we can send it over to a different server that has access to those resources," Werneburg said.

VSphere 7 Update 3

In the vSphere 7 Update 3 release, VMware introduced improvements to lifecycle management and resource management and improved resilience for persistent memory systems. VMware added depot editing to vSphere Lifecycle Manager, which enables users to delete depot projects and offers support for patch and update recalls.

VSphere 7 now supports I/O controllers and disk drive firmware compatibility. This is beneficial for vSAN because it means users can simultaneously patch their hardware and software and specify BIOS versions with declarative images. VSphere 7 Update 3 also enables Lifecycle Manager to manage vSAN witness.

In vSphere 7 Update 2 and earlier, memory statistics often required third-party command line tools for access. VSphere 7 Update 3 now provides these memory statistics directly through vSphere and the UI. This enables users to troubleshoot and monitor memory statistics, such as bottlenecks.

NSX-T updates include the NSX Manager integration directly in the vSphere Client, improved NSX configurations and monitoring insights, use authentication between vSphere and NSX, as well as increased operational efficiency through UI and management.

VMware decided to deprecate the use of SD and USB drives as boot media. This decision limits the number of device writes; anyone attempting to use an SD or UBS as boot media will now receive a boot volume warning in vSphere.

Project Monterey and vSphere 7 with Tanzu remain relevant

VSphere 7 Update 3 offers updates and insights into the progression of Project Monterey and vSphere 7 with Tanzu. Project Monterey uses data processing units (DPUs) to improve Zero Trust security through workload and domain isolation. It also offloads infrastructure operations from the CPU to the DPU to bolster workload performance.

Since Project Monterey's initial announcement at VMworld 2020, VMware has opened up the Project Monterey Early Access program to test the initiative. VMware has also partnered with vendors such as Nvidia, Intel, Pensando and Dell to deliver improved DPUs.

For vSphere with Tanzu, VMware made updates to offer an improved streamlined network setup for Kubernetes clusters. One of those improvements is flexible DHCP support. This enables users to automate the population of IP addresses, DNS and the network time protocol (NTP). VMware also made it easier to deploy and configure those values. If you choose to use static values for management network but use DHCP values for the workload network, you can now do so with vSphere 7 with Tanzu.

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