vSphere Update Manager (VUM) vs VxRail Manager

In VMware vSphere 6.7 Update 1, VMware has added some new enhancements to vSphere Update Manager (VUM). There have been some good enhancements around VUM gaining the ability to update firmware used by VSAN. Some people think this is starting to blur the line between what you can do with VUM and VxRail Manager’s own update functionality. But there is still a big difference between updating vSAN with VUM and what the updates through VxRail Manager brings.

Today, when you wish to upgrade a vSAN environment, VUM will take care of this for you by doing a rolling upgrade of each of the hosts in the cluster, placing them into maintenance mode, updating them, rebooting them and then taking that host back out of maintenance mode. 6.7U1 builds on this by including firmware level updates of the storage controllers into the VUM workflows. Initially this will be limited to only a subset of storage controllers on the compatibility list, but the objective will be to grow this as much as possible so that all updates of your vSAN hyper-converged infrastructure will be orchestrated via VUM.

The reality of the situation is that even though VUM offers a lot of value with this new update, there are still some areas it falls short of VxRail manager.

  • VxRail Manager still provides leaps and bound more automation in holistic LCM that is not included with the VUM enhancements.
  • VxRail Manager covers all of the HW and SW inclusive in VxRail.
  • VUM only handles the VMware SW versioning and one HW component (the HBA330 Controller)
  • VxRail Manager takes a brand new cluster and automates the entire installation process, including cluster creation task included in Cluster QS.

At the end of the day, VUM will still requires the customer to get all the correct firmware, software and drivers for their version and there’s no validation or pre-checks it does. VxRail does the end to end validation itself, and makes sure that all the components are at the supported/proper versions.  Also, VUM with Dell PowerEdge vSAN ready nodes will only update the HBA firmware.  It will not touch the NICs, BOSS card, BIOS, iDRAC, etc. I am looking forward to any enhancements to VUM that come in the future. It has a lot of potential.

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