vSphere 6.5 – What’s new in networking  

vSphere 6.5 – What’s new in networking  

 

In this article I will try to review all new network features.

1. vmknic gateway

  • Each VMKERNEL port can have its own Gateway.
  • This will make it easy for vSphere features to function seamlessly.
  • This eliminates the need for adding and maintaining static routes.

network1

Before vSphere 6.5 there was only one default gateway allowed for all VMKernel ports in an ESXi host. vSphere features such as DRS , iSCSI, vMotion, etc. leverage  that use VMKERNEL ports are constrained by this limitation. Many of the VMKERNEL ports were not routable without the use of static routes unless they belonged to a subnet other than the one with the default gateway. These static routes had to be manually created and were hard to maintain.

vSphere 6.5 provides the capability to have separate  default Gateways for every VMKernel port. This simplifies management of VMKernel ports and eliminates the need for static routes.

Prior to vSphere 6.5, VMware services like DRS, iSCSI, vMotion & provisioning leverage a single gateway. This has been an impediment as one needed to  add static routes on all hosts to get around the problem. Managing these routes could be cumbersome process and not scalable.

vSphere 6.5 provides capabilities, where different services use different default gateways. It will make it easy for end users to consume these feature without the need to add static routes. vSphere 6.5 completely eliminates the need for static routes for all VMKernel based services making it simpler and more scalable.

 

2.SR-IOV provisioning:

VM provisioning workflow prior to vSphere 6.5, for SR-IOV devices required the user to manually assign the SR-IOV NIC.  This resulted in VM provisioning operations being inflexible and not amenable to automation at scale. In vSphere 6.5 SR-IOV devices can be added to virtual machines like any other device making it easier to manage and automate.

 

3.Support for ERSPAN:

ERSPAN mirrors traffic on one or more “source” ports and delivers the mirrored traffic to one or more “destination” ports on another switch. vSphere 6.5 includes support for the ERSPAN protocol.

network2

 

4.Improvements in DATAPATH:

 vSphere 6.5 has data path improvements to handle heavy load. In order to process large numbers of packets, CPU needs to be performing optimally, in 6.5 ESXi hosts leverage CPU resources in order to maximize the packet rate of VMs.

network3

Where are the improvements being made ?

  1. VMXNET 3 optimization
    1. Using copy TX for small messages size (<=256B)
    2. Optimized usage of pinned memory
  2. Physical NIC improvements
    1. Native driver support for Intel cards (removes overhead of translating from VMkernel to VMKLinux data structures)
  3. CPU Scheduling Improvements
    1. Up to 8 separate threads can be created per vNIC
      • To enable on VM level add:

ethernetX.ctxPerDev = “3” to vmx file

 

Summary:

  • Optimizing code to improve efficiency
  • Allowing the ability to increase thread count for networking
  • Introducing support for more native drivers (Intel)
  • VMXNET3 enhancements

 

One thought on “vSphere 6.5 – What’s new in networking  

  1. While the vSphere Client doesn t yet have full feature parity the team have prioritized many of the day to day tasks of administrators and continue to seek feedback on what’s missing that will enable customers to use it full time.

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