Virtualization, in computing, refers to the act of creating a virtual version of something, including but not limited to a virtual computer hardware platform, operating system (OS), storage device, or computer network resources.
VMware vSphere Beta
It's that time again and I highly suggest joining in. Not only will you be a part of a great community learning new products but you'll get the chance to offer your input into the direction.
The target audience are customers who have deployed vSphere 5.5 and 6.0 in a portion of their environment. Participants are expected to:
Online acceptance of the Master Software Beta Test Agreement will be required prior to visiting the Private Beta Community
Install beta software within 3 days of receiving access to the beta product
Provide feedback within the first 4 weeks of the beta program
Submit Support Requests for bugs, issues and feature requests
Complete surveys and beta test assignments
Participate in the private beta discussion forum and conference calls
vSphere Beta Program Overview We are excited to announce the upcoming VMware vSphere Beta Program. This program enables participants to help define the direction of the most widely adopted industry-leading virtualization platform. Folks who want to participate in the program can now indicate their interest by filling out this simple form. The vSphere team will grant access to the program to selected candidates in stages. This vSphere Beta Program leverages a private Beta community to download software and share information. We will provide discussion forums, webinars, and service requests to enable you to share your feedback with us.
You can expect to download, install, and test vSphere Beta software in your environment or get invited to try new features in a VMware hosted environment. All testing is free-form and we encourage you to use our software in ways that interest you. This will provide us with valuable insight into how you use vSphere in real-world conditions and with real-world test cases, enabling us to better align our product with your business needs. shadow-table
Some of the many reasons to participate in this beta opportunity:
Receive early access to the vSphere Beta products
Interact with the vSphere Beta team consisting of Product Managers, Engineers, Technical Support, and Technical Writers
Provide direct input on product functionality, configurability, usability, and performance
Provide feedback influencing future products, training, documentation, and services
Collaborate with other participants, learn about their use cases, and share advice and learnings
VMware this year has decided to make changes to their licensing in order to better address the needs of their customers. These new packages are tailored to the top use cases from VMware customers in both SDDC and Hybrid Cloud.
You should see increased value with more features in the product editions like log insight being included with vSphere now and added portability of your licenses.
New product line up for VMware vSphere and vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM) editions:
vSphere Standard (STD), vSphere Enterprise Plus (ENT+), vSOM Enterprise Plus (ENT+) edition
vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise Plus: License price increase by $150 to $4,395
vCenter Server Standard (STD): Includes limited version of Log Insight at @ $5,995
vCloud Suite (vCS) = vRealize Suite (vRS) + vSphere Enterprise Plus for vCloud Suite:
SDDC Monitoring in all vRS editions
Management beyond vSphere – SDDC, hybrid cloud, supported public clouds and heterogeneous
Aligned to use cases: Intelligent Operations, Automated IT to IaaS, DevOps-Ready IT
Customers with vCS licenses and on active SnS are entitled to all components of vCS 6.0 and 7.0
Minimal impact to license and SnS costs
$500/CPU price increase for vCS STD and ADV and $2,000/CPU price decrease for vCS ENT
VMware vSphere 6.0 is the next major release since 5.5 and with any major release it is packed with new features and enhancements along with increased scalability. This version comes with some big improvements to VSAN which I'll discuss below.
In vsphere 5.5 the maximum supported host memory was 4TB, in 6.0 that jumps up to 12TB. Also, in vSphere 5.5 the maximum supported number of logical (physical) CPUs per host was 320 CPUs, in vSphere 6.0 that is increased to 480 CPUs. The last improvement to the hosts is the maximum number of VMs per host, increasing from 512 in 5.5 to 1000 VMs per host in 6.0 This gives the ability to create some monster VMs.
Fault Tolerance Improvements
Fault Tolerance (FT) was introduced in vSphere 4. FT provides protection of VMs by preventing downtime in case of a host failure. FT has never been greatly used due to its design preventing anyone that required multiple CPUs from utilizing FT. FT now supports more than one vCPU and moves from 1 vCPU to 4 vCPU support.
The design of FT has changed were the way FT worked in the past you had 2 VMs on separate hosts, one as a primary and the other as the secondary. The VMs relied on shared storage. In vSphere 6.0 this has now changed allowing for each VM to have their own virtual disk that can be located on different storage.
VMware also improved the prior limitations with snapshot support for FT. Having separate disks helped with this issue. Now that there is built in support for snapshotting a FT VM, you can back it up. Prior to this admins found themselves challenged with how to perform agentless backup while maintaining FT for the VMs requiring it. In order to backup the VMs requiring FT prior to 6.0 you had to install a backup agent and backup the vm in a more traditional manner.
vSphere Web Client Improvements
The web client has never been a favorite of admins and with the release of vSphere 6.0 VMware has made some great performance and usability improvements.
Faster Login Times 13x Faster
Faster Right Click Menu 4x Faster
Faster Performance Charts
Recent Tasks Moved to Button
Flattened Right Click Menus
One Click to Navigation
Recent Tasks Moved to Bottom
vCenter Server Appliance Improvements
I have never been a fan of having to burn Microsoft Licenses in order to deploy vCenter or the amount of time it takes to spin up a Windows OS to support it for both the application and SQL database. I loved it when VMware came out with the appliance for an easy ova deployment but the limitations in scalability and support have been the main driving factor for admins to not deploy this in their environments.
now in vSphere 6.0 the VCSA is fully scalable to the same limits that the vCenter Server on Windows scales to. This now means that the VCSA can support 1,000 hosts, 10,000 VMs and now linked mode
VM Improvements in 6.0
Back in vSphere 5.5 a VM could be configured with up to 64 vCPUs and now in 6.0 that maximum has doubled to 128 vSPCUs. That is a crazy amount of vCPU.
Another increase for the VM is around serial ports. VMware saw a need for this and has increased from 4 to 32 ports that can be configured on a single VM. If you don't have a need for them then you can remove the serial ports and parallel ports as needed.
There have been a lot of new enhancements with vMotion technology to increase the range and capabilities of vMotioning a VM. You can now vMotion a VM between different types of virtual switches. VMs can be moved from a Standard vSwitch to a Distributed vSwitch without changing its IP address and without network disruptions.
With the improvements to vMotion you can now vMotion a VM from a host located in one vCenter server to another host on a different vCenter server. There is no need for common shared storage between the the hosts and vCenter servers. This eliminates the traditional distance boundaries of vMotion. You can now move between data centers, regional data centers or continental.
Another improvement to vMotion resides around latency requirements. In vSphere 5.5 the maximum vMotion latency was 10ms. In vSphere 6.0 that has increased to 100ms of latency. This allows for the vMotion of VMs between longer distances.
VMware vMotion also includes its own TCP/IP stack which can cross layer 3 networks.
Single Sign-on Improvements
In vSphere 6.0 VMware introduces a new Platform Services Controller. The controller groups together SSO, Licensing and Certificate authority. You can deploy this as embedded with vCenter server or external so that is completely independent of the vCenter server.
Certificate management has always been a pain for Administrators. With the introduction of VMCA, you can now manage the provisioning and deployment of certificates for you vCenter servers, and ESXi hosts.
Now in its 3rd release as of August of 2015, VSNA 6.1 has already seen adoption across different industries and sizes. This release adds abilities around availability data protection and management.
Virtual SAN Stretched Cluster allows admins to create a stretched cluster between two or more geographically separated data centers.
Another feature of this release is Virtual SAN for Remote Office or Branch Offices. This provides the ability to deploy VSAN clusters for ROBO. You can now deploy large numbers of 2-node VSAN clusters that can be centrally managed from a central data center through one vCenter server.
Some other new features include:
Support for Multiprocessor Fault Tolerance
Support for Windows Server Failover Clustering
Oracle Real Application Cluster (RAC)
VSAN integration for vROPs
Hybrid and All Flash
VMware One Cloud Announced
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger announced a new hybrid cloud strategy today along with a series of product updates, including a new version of vSphere, VSAN, VVOLs, a distribution of OpenStack and integrations of NSX with vCloudAir.
The new vision laid out by VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger is one of a "Seamless and Complete Picture," of Any Device, Any Application and One Cloud.
VMware spoke with their customers and found that they are looking for three key areas when it comes to IT:
VMware is uniquely positioned to assist customers with these areas, enter the One Cloud architecture, based on best-in-bread products in compute, storage and networking virtualization.
With a foundation of vSphere 6.0 and new features including One Management, whether on premise or off, NSX built into vCloudAir, VSAN, and VVOLs the architecture is designed to bring a unified cloud. CEO Pat Gelsinger states that "customers increasingly need a software-defined infrastructure to enable the level of speed, agility and flexibility to respond to the challenges of IT."
VMware vSphere 6.0 VMware is raising the bar again with more than 650 new features in vSphere 6.0. Some of the newly announced features include:
New Enhancements in 2D and 3D graphics for VDI with the ability to deploy 500 VMs 13X faster than the previous version of vSphere 5.5.
Scale and Performance enhancements to support application scale-out like Hadoop, Platform as a Service and new vCloud Native applications.
Availability is increased through Zero Downtime migration features for long distance vMotion migrations (100ms roundtrip which use to be 10ms) and continuos availability through FT for larger vms, supporting up 4 vCPUs.
Improvements to the vSphere Web Client with over 100 enhancements.
Integration with OpenStack which is now included for Enterprise Plus customers.
VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) 6.0 will support 1000 hosts and 10,000 powered on VMs.
VMware VSAN With significant improvements in scale and functionality new features in VSAN include:
All Flash architecture introduced enabling quadruple its performance to 90k IOPs per node with low latency.
Addition of enterprise class snapshotting and instant cloning.
Fault Domains (Rack Awareness) means that the name node knows where each data node server is and in which rack. This ensures that you can write data to 3 different data nodes that are not on the same physical rack, which helps prevent data loss due to data node and rack failure.
VVOLs vSphere Virtual Volumes enable native virtual machine awareness on third-party storage systems along with VMware's Instant Clone technology for cloning and provisioning thousands of virtual machines to make a new virtual infrastructure.
Heterogeneous storage infrastructure.
Policy-driven control plane.
OpenStack OpenStack distribution will enable smaller IT departments with "little or no OpenStack or Linux experience" to deploy an OpenStack cloud within minutes.
Available for free to Enterprise Plus customers.
Production grade OpenStack with vendor neutral APIs.
VMware NSX NSX will enable customers to achieve unprecedented security and isolation in a cloud with new features and enhancements.
New enhancements for Network Security Groups and Isolation.
Scalability up to 200 endpoints.
VMware's Any Device, Any Application and One Cloud approach lets customers utilize multiple clouds to securely accelerate IT while managing through a single environment.
What's New In Horizon 6
Announced back in September of 2014, VMware Horizon View 6 has over 100 new features like integration with Citrix XenApp and SAN Acceleration to name a few. I will focus on five major enhancements in this blog. You can download the FAQ's from VMware Here.
Cloud POD Architecture
RDS Hosted Applications
vCenter Operations Manager for Horizon View 6 (vCOPS)
Horizon 6 Architecture Overview
Cloud POD Architecture VMware Horizon Cloud POD Architecture in Horizon 6 allows for virtual desktops to be deployed across multiple sites and managed globally through a single entitlement layer. This brings central management to multiple PODs.
Some of the enhancements with Cloud POD Architecture:
Deployments across multiple datacenters.
Single namespace for end users.
Global entitlement layer to manage users.
RDS Hosted Applications One of the many new capabilities that is available is application remoting of RDS hosted apps and extended capabilities for RDS based desktops.
VMware worked with Microsoft to develop their own protocol which enables them to integrate VMware graphics and protocol stacks such as Blast with PCoIP with RDS. These new features work with Windows and Non-Windows devices such as Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8 desktops, laptops and thin clients, iOS and Android tablets and Mac OSX.
Virtual SAN for Horizon View Desktops VMware Virtual SAN, a new software-defined storage tier, pools compute and direct-attached storage resources and clusters server disks and flash to create resilient shared storage.
VSAN support was added to Horizon View in version 5.3 available as a separate product. Now in Enterprise and Advanced licensing of Horizon View 6, VSAN is included.
Application Catalog The Application Catalog offers a unified workspace for applications. One portal to for all applications. This allows you to present VDI Desktops, RDSH Desktops/Apps as well as all your SaaS apps, Citrix XenApp published applications, locally ThinApps, Office 365 and other apps all within a single workspace. This can be tailored to a client device so you get a tablet experience on a tablet.
VMware announced Citrix XenApp integration into Horizon Workspace at VMworld 2012 and is finally delivering. You can logon to Horizon Workspace once which will in turn connect to your Citrix XenApp infrastructure and display published desktops and applications you are entitled to.
The application catalog also has multi-forest Active Directory support and can be easily customized by changing logos, login prompt, application launchers, backgrounds etc.
vCOPS for Horizon View vCenter Operations Manager now comes with a single integrated console for both servers and desktops, etc. You can drill down into the process level for key performance metrics and resource consumption.
Horizon 6 has three new editions available:
Horizon View Standard Edition: Delivers simple, high-performance VDI-based virtual desktops with a great user experience
Horizon Advanced Edition: Offers the lowest cost solution for virtual desktop and application management, optimized storage with VMware Virtual SAN, image management and a unified workspace that supports hosted desktops and applications.
Horizon Enterprise Edition: Delivers a cloud-ready solution for virtual desktops and applications with advanced cloud automation and management capabilities for hybrid cloud flexibility.
Summary from VMware on Horizon View 6
vCenter Chargeback Manager - End of Availability
VMware has announced the End of Availability of all versions of VMware® vCenter™ Chargeback Manager™ for non-Service Provider customers, effective of June 10, 2014.
All support and maintenance for the removed versions of vCenter Chargeback Manager will be unaffected and will continue as per VMware Life Cycle Support Policy through the published support period, June 30, 2015. Existing customers can continue to use vCenter Chargeback Manager beyond the End of Availability and receive customer support until June 30, 2015.
There is no change for VMware Service Provider Program (VSPP) Partners. Please refer to the next VSPP newsletter on May 20th for more information.
VMware is announcing the End of Availability (EoA) of all VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat versions effective June 2, 2014. As a result, all versions of vCenter Server Heartbeat will be removed from the VMware price list on June 2, 2014. After this date, you will no longer be able to purchase these products.
All support and maintenance for the removed versions will be unaffected and will continue on per VMware Life Cycle policy through the published support period until September 19, 2018.
Users are not required to take any immediate action. This notification in no ways impacts customer’s ability to use VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat past June 2, 2014. Customers receive perpetual licenses when purchasing VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat and this entitles them to continued use of the licenses despite the end of availability or end of support.
On December 10, 2013 VMware announced vCloud Automation Center 6.0, the latest release of vCloud Automation. This release includes some nice improvements. This is from the what's new white paper.
Unified Service Catalog for Infrastructure, Desktop, and Application Services –
vCloud now offers a single catalog for publishing and consuming application services. Users can browse the same catalog to request and provision single or multi-node applications.
Catalog requests are now governed by a more flexible and powerful policy engine. Approval polices can be based on request criteria, support multiple levels of approvers and be enforced both before and after services are provisioned.
Enhancements to Application Deployment and Updates (formerly "Application Director") –
Users can request applications from the Service Catalog and monitor their overall deployment status.
Application enhancements: Users can now roll back failed updates to restore the system. They can also significantly reduce the time to update an application by reusing update profiles that store frequently used update scripts and properties. This enables the promotion of changes across Deployment Environments to facilitate Release Automation, and scale-in of clustered applications to save unused resources.
External services: Users can reduce time to deliver workload by connecting to an external or existing service such as a load balancer, an existing database with pre-configured schema, SaaS applications such as Salesforce, an LDAP server, an SSO server and so on.
Policy-based provisioning: Administrators can enforce policies across different deployment environments by blacklisting application services or enforcing mandatory services. They can also facilitate policy-based provisioning by setting number of Total Instances (VMs) limits across all nodes in a deployment. Compliance View shows policy violations against currently active and effective policies on deployments and application updates.
Puppet integration: In this release, support for reuse of Puppet content to build application blueprints in Application Director allows application architects to accomplish the following goals:
Model multi-tier applications using Puppet modules.
Mix-and-match Puppet and non-Puppet content in application blueprints.
Import both Puppet Open Source and Puppet Enterprise Modules
Manage the application update life cycle while maintaining multi-node dependencies, property bindings, and diverse content types.
Leverage vCloud Automation Center Service Catalog to publish and request Puppet applications.
Extensibility to any IT Service –
In addition to out-of-the-box services, customers can now more easily extend vCloud Automation Center to publish any kind of IT service to the common service catalog. Whether it's storage-as-a-service, backup-as-a-service, or something as simple as letting users add capacity to their e-mail account, the new Advanced Service Designer lets service architects design rich user forms and provisioning workflows in a matter of minutes.
Like out-of-the-box services, custom services leverage the same entitlement and approval policy engine, enabling organizations to enforce a consistent governance layer.
Integration with IT Business Management Standard Edition –
Provides visibility into the cost and usage of on-premise virtual infrastructure and public cloud infrastructure, including benchmarking capabilities.
Supports "what-if" cost analysis to determine the best infrastructure type and placement options
Includes capacity, cost, and budget analysis capabilities for proactive planning
Improvements in Infrastructure as a Service –
Support for VMware vCloud Hybrid Service: vCloud Automation Center now provides the ability to provision and perform basic administrative tasks on virtual machines deployed in vCloud Hybrid Services.
Support for OpenStack: In addition to vSphere, vCloud Director, Amazon Web Services, Hyper-V, Kernel-based Virtual Machine, Citrix XenServer, and various physical server management interfaces, vCloud Automation Center now provides support for provisioning and performing administrative actions on machines managed by OpenStack.
Supports RedHat OpenStack 3.0 (Grizzly)
Supports static IP and floating IP
Supports attach to VNC console
Support for Linux kickstart and WIMimage
Log in to vSphere machines from the service catalog: After a vSphere virtual machine is provisioned, a user can now access it via the VMware Remote Console.
Continued integration with vCNS: In previous versions, vCloud Automation Center provided support for placement in existing VXLANs, load balancers and security groups. This release adds support for the dynamic creation of isolated and routed networks and load balancers.
Support for vSAN as a datastore: vCloud Automation Center now supports storage clusters and allows the selection of a vSAN as a data store for a reservation.
Enhanced vSphere support:
vCloud Automation Center supports Storage DRS (SDRS): SDRS clusters and volumes are discovered as individual storage paths.
vCloud Automation Center supports storage clusters and recognizes a Storage DRS-enabled storage cluster as a datastore.
vCloud Automation Center automatically consumes the changes at the next data collection as datastores are added or removed from the storage cluster.
vCloud Automation Center supports Storage DRS automated mode.
vCloud Automation Center allows the selection of a cluster, standalone datastore, or a cluster member (datastore from a cluster) in the same reservation. All selections have the same priority and are accessed via round-robin.
Improved Administration Capabilities –
Support for LDAP services: In addition to Microsoft Active Directory, vCloud Automation Center now provides support for LDAP-based directory services.
Improvements in multi-tenancy: vCloud Automation Center administrators can easily create multiple tenants with dedicated directory services, service catalog, and portal branding.
New verb-oriented RESTFUL APIs (BETA): New programmatic interfaces provide a more secure and easier way for external systems to interact with the vCloud Automation Center service catalog and cover operations such SSO authentication, submitting a service request, approving a request, listing provisioned items, and so on. These APIs are available for BETA testing and are expected to evolve in the next vCloud Automation Center release. Older vCloud Automation Center 5.x APIs are still available and have received minor updates for feature enhancements.
What's new in vSphere 5.5
On August 26 at VMworld 2013 VMware announced vSphere 5.5, the latest release of VMware's industry-leading virtualization platform. This latest release includes a lot of improvements and many new features and capabilities. This is from the what's new paper.
Doubled Host-Level Configuration Maximums– vSphere 5.5 is capable of hosting any size workload; a fact that is punctuated by the doubling of several host-level configuration maximums. The maximum number of logical CPUs has doubled from 160 to 320, the number of NUMA nodes doubled from 8 to 16, the number of virtual CPUs has doubled from 2048 to 4096, and the amount of RAM has also doubled from 2TB to 4TB. There is virtually no workload that is too big for vSphere 5.5!
Hot-pluggable PCIe SSD Devices – vSphere 5.5 provides the ability to perform hot-add and remove of SSD devices to/from a vSphere 5.5 host. With the increased adoption of SSD, having the ability to perform both orderly as well as unplanned SSD hot-add/remove operations is essential to protecting against downtime and improving host resiliency.
Improved Power Management – ESXi 5.5 provides additional power savings by leveraging CPU deep process power states (C-states). By leveraging the deeper CPU sleep states ESXi can minimizes the amount of power consumed by idle CPUs during periods of inactivity. Along with the improved power savings comes additional performance boost on Intel chipsets as turbo mode frequencies can be reached more quickly when CPU cores are in a deep C-State.
Virtual Machine Compatibility ESXi 5.5 (aka Virtual Hardware 10) – ESXi 5.5 provides a new Virtual Machine Compatibility level that includes support for a new virtual-SATA Advance Host Controller Interface (AHCI) with support for up to 120 virtual disk and CD-ROM devices per virtual machine. This new controller is of particular benefit when virtualizing Mac OS X as it allows you to present a SCSI based CD-ROM device to the guest.
VM Latency Sensitivity – included with the new virtual machine compatibility level comes a new “Latency Sensitivity” setting that can be tuned to help reduce virtual machine latency. When the Latency sensitivity is set to high the hypervisor will try to reduce latency in the virtual machine by reserving memory, dedicating CPU cores and disabling network features that are prone to high latency.
Expanded vGPU Support– vSphere 5.5 extends VMware’s hardware-accelerated virtual 3D graphics support (vSGA) to include GPUs from AMD. The multi-vendor approach provides customers with more flexibility in the data center for Horizon View virtual desktop workloads. In addition 5.5 enhances the “Automatic” rendering by enabling the migration of virtual machines with 3D graphics enabled between hosts running GPUs from different hardware vendors as well as between hosts that are limited to software backed graphics rendering.
Graphics Acceleration for Linux Guests– vShere 5.5 also provides out of the box graphics acceleration for modern GNU/Linux distributions that include VMware’s guest driver stack, which was developed by VMware and made available to all Linux vendors at no additional cost.
vCenter Single Sign-On (SSO)– in vSphere 5.5 SSO comes with many improvements. There is no longer an external database required for the SSO server, which together with the vastly improved installation experience helps to simplify the deployment of SSO for both new installations as well as upgrades from earlier versions. This latest release of SSO provides enhanced active directory integration to include support for multiple forest as well as one-way and two-way trusts. In addition, a new multi-master architecture provides built in availability that helps not only improve resiliency for the authentication service, but also helps to simplify the overall SSO architecture.
vSphere Web Client – the web client in vSphere 5.5 also comes with several notable enhancements. The web client is now supported on Mac OS X, to include the ability to access virtual machine consoles, attach client devices and deploy OVF templates. In addition there have been several usability improvements to include support for drag and drop operations, improved filters to help refine search criteria and make it easy to find objects, and the introduction of a new “Recent Items” icon that makes it easier to navigate between commonly used views.
vCenter Server Appliance– with vSphere 5.5 the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) now uses a reengineered, embedded vPostgres database that offers improved scalability. I wasn’t able to officially confirm the max number of hosts and VMs that will be supported with the embedded DB. They are targeting 100 hosts and 3,000 VMs but we’ll need to wait until 5.5 releases to confirm these numbers. However, regardless what the final numbers are, with this improved scalability the VCSA is a very attractive alternative for folks who may be looking to move a way from a Windows based vCenter.
vSphere App HA– App HA brings application awareness to vSphere HA helping to further improve application uptime. vSphere App HA works together with VMware vFabric Hyperic Server to monitor application services running inside the virtual machine, and when issues are detected perform restart actions as defined by the administrator in the vSphere App HA Policy.
vSphere HA Compatibility with DRS Anti-Affinity Rules –vSphere HA will now honor DRS anti-affinity rules when restarting virtual machines. If you have anti-affinity rules defined in DRS that keep selected virtual machines on separate hosts, VMware HA will now honor those rules when restarting virtual machines following a host failure.
vSphere Big Data Extensions(BDE) – Big Data Extensions is a new addition to the VMware vSphere Enterprise and Enterprise Plus editions. BDE is a vSphere plug-in that enables administrators to deploy and manage Hadoop clusters on vSphere using the vSphere web client.
Support for 62TB VMDK – vSphere 5.5 increases the maximum size of a virtual machine disk file (VMDK) to 62TB (note the maximum VMFS volume size is 64TB where the max VMDK file size is 62TB). The maximum size for a Raw Device Mapping (RDM) has also been increased to 62TB.
Microsoft Cluster Server (MCSC) Updates – MSCS clusters running on vSphere 5.5 now support Microsoft Windows 2012, round-robin path policy for shared storage, and iSCSI and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) for shared storage.
16Gb End-to-End Support – In vsphere 5.5 16Gb end-to-end FC support is now available. Both the HBAs and array controllers can run at 16Gb as long as the FC switch between the initiator and target supports it.
Auto Remove of Devices on PDL – This feature automatically removes a device from a host when it enters a Permanent Device Loss (PDL) state. Each vSphere host is limited to 255 disk devices, removing devices that are in a PDL state prevents failed devices from occupying a device slot.
VAAI UNMAP Improvements – vSphere 5.5 provides and new “esxcli storage vmfs unmap” command with the ability to specify the reclaim size in blocks, opposed to just a percentage, along with the ability to reclaim space in increments rather than all at once.
VMFS Heap Improvements – vSphere 5.5 introduces a much improved heap eviction process, which eliminates the need for large heap sizes. With vSphere 5.5 a maximum of 256MB of heap is needed to enable vSphere hosts to access the entire address space of a 64TB VMFS.
vSphere Flash Read Cache– a new flash-based storage solution that enables the pooling of multiple flash-based devices into a single consumable vSphere construct called a vSphere Flash Resource, which can be used to enhance virtual machine performance by accelerating read-intensive workloads.
Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) Enhancements – with the vSphere Distributed Switch in vSphere 5.5 LACP now supports 22 new hashing algorithms, support for up to 64 Link Aggregation Groups (LAGs), and new workflows to help configure LACP across large numbers of hosts.
Traffic Filtering Enhancements– the vSphere Distributed Switch now supports packet classification and filtering based on MAC SA and DA qualifiers, traffic type qualifiers (i.e. vMotion, Management, FT), and IP qualifiers (i.e. protocol, IP SA, IP DA, and port number).
Quality of Service Tagging– vSphere 5.5 adds support for Differentiated Service Code Point (DCSP) marking. DSCP marking support enables users to insert tags in the IP header which helps in layer 3 environments where physical routers function better with an IP header tag than with an Ethernet header tag.
Single-Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV) Enhancements– vSphere 5.5 provides improved workflows for configuring SR-IOV as well as the ability to propagate port group properties to up to the virtual functions.
Enhanced Host-Level Packet Capture– vSphere 5.5 provides an enhanced host-level packet capture tool that is equivalent to the command-line tcpdump tool available on the Linux platform.
40GB NIC Support– vSphere 5.5 provides support for 40GB NICs. In 5.5 the functionality is limited to the Mellanox ConnectX-3 VPI adapters configured in Ethernet mode.
vSphere Data Protection (VDP) – VDP has also been updated in 5.5 with several great improvements to include the ability to replicate backup data to EMC Avamar, direct-to-host emergency restore, the ability to backup and restore of individual .vmdk files, more granular scheduling for backup and replication jobs, and the ability to mount existing VDP backup data partitions when deploying a new VDP appliance.
vCenter Server Update 1 Released
On March 11, 2014 VMware announced vSphere 5.5 Update 1. Release notes can be found here!
vCloud® Hybrid Service™ vSphere® Client Plug-in, is now available in vSphere Web Client
vCenter Server is now supported on Windows Server 2012 R2