Archive for August, 2013

vSphere 5.5 new features and enhancements

August 29th, 2013 No comments

As usual, it is VMWorld in the US . . and I am not there.

but for my own notes (more than anyone else’s), I figured I’d run through the new features – and post them on here as a reference.


VMware vSphere® 5.5 introduces many new features and enhancements to further extend the core capabilities
of the vSphere platform. This paper will discuss features and capabilities of the vSphere platform,
including vSphere ESXi Hypervisor™, VMware vSphere High Availability (vSphere HA), virtual machines,
VMware vCenter Server™, storage networking and vSphere Big Data Extensions.

vSphere ESXi Hypervisor Enhancements
––Hot-Pluggable SSD PCI Express (PCIe) Devices –

This is a great addition (one of my favourites) – and should a great benefit in VDI type environments
––Support for Reliable Memory Technology –

Nice concept, using CPU to “grade” memory and commit important VMkernel and other critical component instructions. Essentially meansing that worst case, bad memory should affect VMs only and not bring the whole ESXI to its knees
––Enhancements for CPU C-States –

Effectively reduced means that CPUs are running at a lower frequency and voltage, meaning they are generally running more efficiently and cooler, potentially allowing for inherent increased performance, because turbo mode frequencies on Intel can be reached quicker on cool CPUs.
Virtual Machine Enhancements
––Virtual Machine Compatibility with VMware ESXi™ 5.5 –

new features such as LSI SAS support
for Oracle Solaris 11 OS, enablement for new CPU architectures, and a new advanced host controller interface
––Expanded vGPU Support-

With vSphere 5.5, vGPU support has been expanded to include both Intel- and AMD-based GPUs hardware-accelerated 3D graphics—virtual
graphics processing unit (vGPU).

––Graphic Acceleration for Linux Guests –

With the new guest driver, modern Linux distributions are enabled to support technologies such as
the following:
• OpenGL 2.1
• DRM kernel mode setting
• Xrandr
• XRender

VMware vCenter Server Enhancements
––VMware® vCenter™ Single Sign-On

vCenter Single Sign-On
vCenter Single Sign-On server 5.5, the authentication services of the vSphere management platform, can now
be configured to connect to its Microsoft SQL Server database without requiring the customary user IDs and
passwords, as found in previous versions.


––VMware vSphere Web Client

The Web Client is becoming the defacto  method of accessing and managing your environment. Tied with SSO,it means you should be able to manage your envuironment from ANY machine on your network – and hopefully from any platform (tablets, PCs, phones?)

––VMware vCenter Server Appliance™

Appliance now uses a reengineered, embedded vPostgres database that can now support as many as 500
vSphere hosts or 5,000 virtual machines.

––vSphere App HA

This new feature works in conjunction with vSphere HA host monitoring and virtual machine
monitoring to further improve application uptime. vSphere App HA can be configured to restart an application
service when an issue is detected. It is possible to protect several commonly used, off-the-shelf applications.
vSphere HA can also reset the virtual machine if the application fails to restart.

––vSphere HA and VMware vSphere Distributed Resource Scheduler™ (vSphere DRS)

To address the need for maintaining placement of virtual machines on separate hosts—without
vSphere vMotion migration—after a host failure, vSphere HA in vSphere 5.5 has been enhanced to conform
with virtual machine–virtual machine antiaffinity rules. Application availability is maintained by controlling
the placement of virtual machines recovered by vSphere HA without migration. This capability is configured
as an advanced option in vSphere 5.5.

––vSphere Big Data Extensions

BDE performs the following functions on the virtual Hadoop clusters it manages:
• Creates, deletes, starts, stops and resizes clusters
• Controls resource usage of Hadoop clusters
• Specifies physical server topology information
• Manages the Hadoop distributions available to BDE users
• Automatically scales clusters based on available resources and in response to other workloads on the
vSphere cluster


• vSphere Storage Enhancements
––Support for 62TB VMDK

The previous limit
was 2TB—512 bytes. The new limit is 62TB.

––MSCS Updates

Historically, shared storage was supported in MSCS environments only if the protocol used was Fibre Channel
(FC). With the vSphere 5.5 release, this restriction has been relaxed to include support for FCoE and iSCSI. – FINALLY!!!

––16GB E2E support

In vSphere 5.5, VMware introduces 16Gb end-to-end FC support. Both the HBAs and array controllers can run at
16Gb as long as the FC switch between the initiator and target supports it.

––PDL AutoRemove

With vSphere 5.5, a new feature called PDL
AutoRemove is introduced. This feature automatically removes a device from a host when it enters a PDL state.

––vSphere Flash Read Cache

vSphere Flash Read Cache enables the pooling of multiple Flash-based devices into a single consumable
vSphere construct called vSphere Flash Resource, which is consumed and managed in the same way as CPU
and memory are done today in vSphere.
The vSphere Flash Read Cache infrastructure is responsible for integrating the vSphere hosts’ locally attached
Flash-based devices into the vSphere storage stack. This integration delivers a Flash management platform that
enables the pooling of Flash-based devices into a vSphere Flash Resource.

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