What’s new in VMware vSphere 6?

Yesterday VMware announced VMware vSphere 6. Here is an overview of the main improvements and new features (over 650 new features and innovations).


  • vSphere Clusters: Up to 64 nodes and 8000 VMs
  • Hosts: 480 physical CPUs, 12 TB RAM, 64 TB datastores, 1000 VMs and 32 serial ports. vGPU Nvidia support
  • VMs: Up to 128 vCPUs and 4 TB vRAM

vCenter Server

  • Platform Services Controller (PSC). The Platform Services Controller (PSC) contains common Infrastructure Services such as:
    • Single Sign-On
    • Licensing
    • Certificate Authority
    • Certificate Store
    • Service (Product) Registration
    • Other future services
    • PSC is a central part that is used for example by vCoud Suite parts such as vCenter, vRealize Operations, etc.). For most environments (8 or less vCenter Servers) a vCenter Server with 1 embedded PSC is sufficient.
  • Enhanced Link Mode (ELM). Enhanced Link Mode (ELM) will support Windows and vCSA deployments and require a Platform Services Controller (PSC).
  •  vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA):
    • ISO file that contains a guided installer
    • Embedded vPostgres database. As external database Oracle is supported.
    • Enhanced Linked mode support
    • VDP support for backup and recovery of the vCSA


  • Storage I/O Control (SIOC).  Per VM storage reservation
  • NFS 4.1 with Kerberos support. NFS client support for NFS 4.1
  • Virtual Volumes (VVols) and Storage Policy-Based Management. Enables VM-aware storage. VVOl is offered by storage vendors such as NetApp, Dell, PureStorage, EMC, Nimblestorage, IBM and Tintri
  • Virtual SAN (VSAN) 6 contains the following improvements:
    • Scalability improvements

    • New On-Disk format for higher performance, efficient and scalable high performance snapshots and clones.
    • All flash support
    • Usability improvements in Web Client such as:
      • Storage consumption information
      • Resync status information
    • Failure Domains. Allow grouping of hosts into different logical failure zones. This ensures replicas from a VM are not provisioned onto the same logical failure zone. Failure Domains are no metro/stretched clusters! Failure Domains is also known as rack awareness.
    • Disks serviceability. Map the location of a magnetic or flash device from the Web Client on failures, SSD, local etc.
    • VSAN is sold as separate product and not included in the license


  • 64 node cluster support and 6000 VMs
  • VMware VM Component Protection (VMCP)
  • vMotion Across vCenter Servers.
  • vMotion across virtual (distributed) switches
    • No need of shared vMotion is needed
  • Long-Distance vMotion up to 100ms RTTs
    • Benefits: Permanent migrations between data centers
    • Disaster avoidance (DA)
    • SRM/DA testing
    • Multi-site load balancing
  • Fault Tolerance (FT) increase support for 1, 2 and 4 vCPU VMs
  • Integration with vCloud Air (replication and backup)
  • vSphere Replication. 5 mins increments (5.5 was 15 minutes) and 2000k replicated VMs per vCenter
  • App HA. Support for more business critical applications


  • Network I/O Control (NIOC). Per VM and Distributed Switch bandwidth reservation


  • vSphere Web Client enhancements such as better performance and tagging improvements.
  • The vSphere Client C# is still available in this release. No new features are in this release. Hardware versions 9 to 11 features are read-only or unavailable in the vSphere Client C#.
  • Multi-Site Content Library. Stores and sync VMs, Templates, OVFs, ISOs and scripts from one central location and sync the content across other vCenter Servers (sites)
  • vSphere 6 has support for Hardware Version 11. Main improvements of Hardware Version 11 are:
    • Maximum video memory up to 2 GB (512 MB in Hardware Version  10)
    • PCI pass-through 16 devices (6 in Hardware Version  10)
    • 32 serial ports (4 in in Hardware Version  10)

When you compare vSphere 5.0, 5.1, 5.5 & 6, vSphere 6 makes a giant leap forward.


VMware vSphere 5.0

VMware vSphere 5.1

VMware vSphere 5.5

VMware vSphere 6.0

VM HW Version

Virtual Hardware 8

Virtual Hardware 9

Virtual Hardware 10

Virtual Hardware 11


32 vCPUs

64 vCPUs

64 vCPUs

128 vCPUs

VM Memory

1 TB

1 TB

1 TB

4 TB

Graphics Support

Software based 3D graphics

Hardware based 3D graphics

Improved 3D graphics Support

WDDM 1.1 GDI graphics acceleration

Cluster Nodes

32 Nodes

32 Nodes

32 Nodes

64 Nodes

Max CPU per Host





Max Mem per Host

2 TB

2 TB

4 TB

12 TB

Max vCPU per FT VM

1 vCPU

1 vCPU

1 vCPU

4 vCPU

vCSA with Embedded

5 hosts and 50 VMs

5 hosts and 50 VMs

300 hosts and 1000 VMs

1000 Hosts and 10000 VMs

Content Library




Content Library introduced with
vSphere 6.0




VSAN 5.5

VSAN 6.0

vMotion Enhancements

vMotion Supported

vMotion without Shared Storage

vMotion without Shard Storage
Long Distance vMotion (10ms RTTs)

vMotion across vCenters vMotion
across Virtual Switches Long
Distance vMotion (100+ms RTTs)

Virtual Volumes (Vvols)




Available with vSphere 6.0

NFS Support

NFS v3

NFS v3

NFS v3

NFS 4.1 Support Multipathing and
Kerberos Authentication

vCenter Single Sign-on


Introduced with 5.1

SSO with Improved architecture

SSO incudes as part of
Platform Services Controller


More information:

Try the new VMware vSphere 6.0 features, go to the VMware Hand on Labs!

Related articles:

The information in this article is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights. This article does not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my employer. It is solely my opinion.


Marco works for ViaData as a Senior Technical Consultant. He has over 15 years experience as a system engineer and consultant, specialized in virtualization. VMware VCP4, VCP5-DC & VCP5-DT. VMware vExpert 2013, 2014,2015 & 2016. Microsoft MCSE & MCITP Enterprise Administrator. Veeam VMSP, VMTSP & VMCE.


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