What is our primary use case?
My primary use case for vSphere 6.7 is that it's used strategically as a management plain for all 2,100 ESXi hosts across our environment.
In terms of mission-critical apps, I couldn't tell you, because I operate the public cloud and we don't really care what our customers use it for.
We do not use VMware Cloud on AWS yet but it is something we are exploring.
How has it helped my organization?
In regards to a performance boost, I don't know at the application level, but I can tell you, purely at the vCenter level, that we have seen improvements in our ability to migrate from Windows to the appliance, now that there is full feature-parity across the stack. We're seeing reduced resource usage from the appliance, it's way more efficient in 6.7. Operations are able to complete faster, so we're happy.
It has streamlined things for us. We've been able to standardize on the newer 6.7. It's definitely given us a path forward, where we might be able to look at expanding into the public cloud, augmenting our on-prem solution now that we have some sort of feature parity.
What is most valuable?
Most valuable features of vSphere 6.7, for us, at the management level would be:
- VCHA is a nice redundancy feature that they added in 6.7.
- I like the quality of life improvements with the VMFS-6 for using auto UNMAP on the data stores.
- We really appreciate the improvements to the Clarity UI where we can manage Update Manager (VUM) and our vSAN stack within the modern interface.
The solution is also very simple and efficient to manage. Features that have made it simple and easy to manage include the newer VAMI for the V-center appliance, it's very easy to see what version we are at, and very easy to upgrade to the next version. The fact that we can now use VCHA at the appliance level just decreases our chance of having an outage, because so many of our customers rely on the API interface for V-center.
What needs improvement?
There are a few things I wanted to see in the next version of vSphere 6.7 which, it turns out, were announced today (at VMworld 2018) so I haven't had time to explore them. But one of the things that was most important to me was the ability to automate or improve deployment of VCHA in an advanced configuration, where it's not hosting itself. I'm looking forward to playing with the new release and seeing where it's at.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The solution has been very stable for us. Since we rolled the 6.7 we have seen consistent uptime.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Being that it's reduced our resource footprint, I think its very scalable.
How are customer service and technical support?
We have had to open up support cases for vSphere 6.7. We have gotten generally good feedback, but it's still fairly new for them, like it is for us. A lot of things work differently in production then they do in the lab or in your QA environments, and they're willing to help however they can to stabilize the product.
As we're a partner, we do get generally good help pretty early on.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I was not using any other solution before vSphere.
I was involved from all the early stages of planning to move to vSphere 6.7.
We were already considering moving to 6.5 and, for us, there were so many added benefits of going to 6.7, and being that it's not a real major bump - it's more like 6.5 "Update 3" with a lot of quality of life improvements - it made it very easy for us to make that decision.
When I'm working with a vendor, some of the most important criteria are
- their release cadence
- how much support they're giving to the product
- what kind of R&D they're investing in
- generally, anecdotally, the response we're getting when we're asking for support.
What was our ROI?
Moving to 6.7, like I said, has standardized a lot of our environment for us so we have definitely seen a reduction in the amount of time we are spending trying to troubleshoot things. It's very consistent. Everything has performed exactly how we expected it to.
What other advice do I have?
We don't use any of the built-in security features but I do appreciate that vSphere 6.7 is inherently more secure in that it's limited, by default, to using TLS 1.2.
I would rate the solution to be a nine (out of ten) but I think they're steadily creeping towards a ten with some of the post-GA releases I've seen.