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Release the Kraken! vMotion (Huge) Enhancements in vSphere 6

My first contact with vMotion goes back to a demo in 2004. I can still remember how the presenter connected to a Windows VM in RDP, launched a movie, migrated the VM to another host and powered off the 1st ESX…and the movie was still running! :)

VMware vSphere live migration, or vMotion, allows you to move an entire running virtual machine from one physical server to another, without downtime.

VMware vSphere vMotion (Live Migration)

VMware vSphere vMotion is the foundation of many of VMware functionalities (DRS, etc.) and solutions. It evolved a lot during the last decade, starting from a simple Live Migration feature between hosts with shared storage (basic vMotion), followed by Storage vMotion (VI 3.5) and multi-nic vMotion (vSphere 5.0) and finally vMotion without shared storage in vSphere 5.5. With vSphere 6, the range of possibilities will be extended (again!) with an improved version of vMotion.

Indeed, VMware announced huge enhancements for application mobility yesterday (during the keynote of the 2nd day of VMworld 2014 US), including:

  • cross-vCenter vMotion

  • cross-vSwitch vMotion (VSS to VSS, VSS to VDS, VDS to VDS)

  • routed vMotion

  • increased Metro vMotion capabilities (up to 100ms)

Cross-vCenter vMotion

vSphere environments are typically organized into datacenters and clusters. The datacenter object is the highest building block of a vCenter hierarchy, and the highest-level logical boundary representing a vMotion domain. Architects and engineers had to respect these vMotion domains to design their infrastructures.

But wait! With vSphere 6, you will be able to migrate a Virtual Machine between vCenter servers. This new workflow will allow you to change compute, network, storage and managementsimultaneously! The process will even maintain virtual machine historical data (events, alarms, performance counters, etc.) and vCenter related properties (DRS groups, HA settings, etc.).

vSphere 6 vMotion enhancements: cross-vCenter vMotion

Routed vMotion

Routed vMotion is of course not the real name of this ability, but clear enough to be understood. Until now, Layer 2 adjacency was required for vMotion.

Note: subtlety lies in the fact that vMotion over Layer 3 worked but was not supported by VMware. :)

So, routed vMotion? Yes, it works. No, it wasn’t supported…until vSphere 6! :)

Increased Metro vMotion capabilities

In vSphere 4.1, vMotion was supported only when the latency between the source and destination ESXi/ESX hosts was less than 5 ms RTT. Metro vMotion was introduced in vSphere 5.0: the maximum supported round trip time latency between two hosts was extended 10ms with vSphere Enterprise Plus license.

In vSphere 6, long-distance vMotion will be possible with up to 100 ms RTT between two hosts, allowing cross-continental migrations.

You can sign up for the public beta of vSphere 6 on the vSphere Beta Program page.



Staff II Technical Product Manager, technologist with 18+ years of Networking and Security experience in Data Center, Public Cloud & Virtualization (VMs and Containers). He is a double VCDX (DCV and NV, #120), VCDX panelist, frequent VMUG/VMworld speaker and contributor to the community via this blog or social media (follow him on Twitter @woueb).