The Obligatory “VMware vSphere 7 is Now GA” Post (But . . . Sort of Not Really)

The Disclaimer Part

I feel compelled to post . . . something . . . about the vSphere 7 release. I will concede that it is a big deal and, despite my ever-present wanderings away from all things VMware, I am still a vSphere Admin by trade.

But vendor new releases are a special category. They usually imply some level of opinion and require some level of excitement that is mainly reserved for marketing people. Therefore, I mostly avoid opinion pieces and/or new release posts for a few reasons:

  1. Who cares about what this random IT Schmuck (me) says about what we IT Schmucks do? Who am I to think my opinion has any influence? I am not William Lam.
  2. I don’t like being wrong, and when I am, I usually second-guess my life decisions, and then I binge-drink and get existential.
  3. I am an unapologetic pessimist who likes to binge drink and get existential.
  4. I have “been around the block” a few times. It takes a lot to impress me.
  5. I am not a marketing person, nor do I work for a vendor at this point in time.
  6. I don’t take the time to comb through every single new feature, therefore I am not the best-qualified.
  7. New release posts are a dime a dozen.
  8. And finally, if I ever have the opportunity to work for said vendor and my opinion is negative about said vendor (see #3 above), things can get weird.

But I will give you a short take and you can take it for what it’s worth.

The Pontification Part

I have spent the last 12 years as a VMware Admin of some sort and at some level, and that has been very good for me. But I am compelled to say the quiet part out loud:

I am not really excited about vSphere 7.

It’s not VMware’s fault. It’s more because of where I am in my career and my involvement in the far-reaching non-VMware projects where I work. I am at a major turning point in my career, the fourth so far by my count in my 20 years in IT, and I am finding myself drawn . . . to . . . other . . . interests. It’s time to diversify, as it were.

But that’s another blog post.

Don’t get me wrong, considering what changes I have seen in vSphere 7, they are a step in the right direction. I did attend VMworld 2019, so I got a taste of some of them. I’ll make comments about two things I have my eye on, and you can decide for yourself:

Insert Eye Roll Here: Kubernetes

I have been to two VMworlds. If you’ve attended one, you know that there is, “a theme”. That’s how conferences work in general, of course. At VMworld 2019, it was “Kuber-freaking-netes!”, which was comically everywhere, and rightfully so. But it inspired a record-number of “OK, WE GET IT” eyerolls.

As an IT Professional who has some Linux/Open Source creds, and as someone who had had some exposure to Containers and Kubernetes previous to the conference, I could not help but chuckle how, in some circles, VMware was treating K8s like it’s this, “brand new thing” (it’s been around since at least 2014, which in our line of work is an eternity), and that VMware is somehow doing “something revolutionary” with it.

That last “revolutionary” part remains to be seen. Perhaps VMware may find some respect in the scalability and performance arena? I am interested in seeing if ESXi Native Pods live up to the hype. But again, I leave that to the experts and I will have to keep you in the loop on my experiences once I see it for-realsies.

ESXi Configuration and Lifecycle Management

I will admit wholeheartedly that I am a big ESXi nerd, and one of my pain points, for years now, has been the lack of acknowledgement, industry-wide, about ESXi configuration drift being a thing.

To be fair, there are solutions out there, home grown and otherwise. Scheduled Ansible configuration drift management (I am literally working on this right now where I work) is one such solution. vSphere DSC is another. You could also try Host Profiles, but anecdotally, the effectiveness of Host Profiles has been mixed, in my experience.

But (finally!) VMware claims that they will be moving to a Desired State Model (configuration drift notifications included) with vSphere 7.0 Life Cycle Manager, otherwise known as vLCM.

This is a good, long-time-coming sort of feature. However, I have a healthy level of skepticism about it. I have been down this road before. . . . First of all, what does VMware mean by “configuration”? That is a loaded term. Second of all, configuration management itself is rife with what I call the, “but it won’t do that one thing” syndrome, where it remediates 99% of the configuration, but with “that one thing” you are on your own and you are forced to remediate “that one thing” through other means. I guess we’ll see how that pans out as well.

I told you I was an unapologetic pessimist. . . . Now to the binge drinking!

Questions? Hit me up on twitter @RussianLitGuy or email me at bryansullins@thinkingoutcloud.org. I would love to hear from you.

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