What’s New in vSphere 5.0

VMware vSphere 5.0 Release Candidate
Latest Released Version: 5.0.0 | 03/31/11 | 381646

What’s New in vSphere 5.0

With this release, the VMware virtual datacenter operating system continues to transform x86 IT infrastructure into the most efficient, shared, on-demand utility, with built-in availability, scalability, and security services for all applications and simple, proactive automated management. The new and enhanced features in vSphere 5.0 are listed below.
Platform Enhancements
VMware vCenter Server

Platform Enhancements

· Convergence. vSphere 5.0 is the first vSphere release built exclusively on the vSphere ESXi 5.0 hypervisor architecture as the host platform. VMware will not include ESX hypervisor architecture-based releases in this vSphere release or later releases. The vSphere 5.0 management platform, vCenter Server 5.0, provides support for ESXi 5.0 hosts as well as ESX/ESXi 4.x and ESX/ESXi 3.5 hosts.

· VMware vSphere Auto Deploy. Combining the features of host profiles, Image Builder, and PXE, VMware vSphere Auto Deploy simplifies the task of managing ESXi installation and upgrade for hundreds of machines. New hosts are automatically provisioned based on rules defined by the user. Rebuilding a server to a clean slate is as simple as a reboot. To move between ESXi versions, you update a rule using the Auto Deploy PowerCLI and perform a test compliance and repair operation.

· Unified CLI Framework. An expanded and enhanced esxcli framework offers a rich set of consistent and extensible commands, including new commands to facilitate on-host troubleshooting and maintenance. The framework allows consistency of authentication, roles, and auditing, using the same methods as other management frameworks such as vCenter Server and PowerCLI. You can use the esxcli framework both remotely as part of vSphere CLI and locally on the ESXi Shell (formerly Tech Support Mode).

· New Virtual machine capabilities. ESXi 5.0 introduces a new generation of virtual hardware with virtual machine hardware version 8, which includes the following new features:

· 32-way virtual SMP. ESXi 5.0 supports virtual machines with up to 32 virtual CPUs, which lets you run larger CPU-intensive workloads on the VMware ESXi platform.

· 1TB virtual machine RAM. You can assign up to 1TB of RAM to ESXi 5.0 virtual machines.

· Nonhardware accelerated 3D graphics for Windows Aero support. ESXi 5.0 supports 3D graphics to run Windows Aero and Basic 3D applications in virtual machines.

· USB 3.0 device support. ESXi 5.0 features support for USB 3.0 devices in virtual machines with Linux guest operating systems. USB 3.0 devices attached to the client computer running the vSphere Web Client or the vSphere Client can be connected to a virtual machine and accessed within it. USB 3.0 devices connected to the ESXi host are not supported at this time.

· UEFI virtual BIOS. Virtual machines running on ESXi 5.0 can boot from and use the Unified Extended Firmware Interface (UEFI).

· Graphical User Interface to configure multicore virtual CPUs. You can now configure the number of virtual CPU cores per socket in the Virtual Machine Properties view in the vSphere Web Client and the vSphere client. Previously this feature was only configurable through advanced settings.

· Client-connected USB devices. USB devices attached to the client computer running the vSphere Web Client or the vSphere Client can be connected to a virtual machine and accessed within it.

· Smart card reader support for virtual machines. Smart card readers attached to the client computer running the vSphere Web Client or the vSphere Client can be connected to one or more virtual machines and accessed within them. The virtual machine remote console, available in the vSphere Web Client and the vSphere Client, supports connecting smart card readers to multiple virtual machines, which can then be used for smart card authentication to virtual machines.

· Expanded support for VMware Tools versions. VMware Tools from vSphere 4.x is supported in virtual machines running on vSphere 5.0 hosts. Additionally, the version of VMware Tools supplied with vSphere 5.0 is also compatible with ESX/ESXi 4.x.

· Apple Mac OS X Server guest operating system support. VMware vSphere 5.0 adds support for the Apple Mac OS X Server 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) as a guest operating system. Support is restricted to Apple Xserve model Xserve3,1 systems. For additional information, see the vSphere 5.0 RC Release notes.

· Host UEFI boot support.vSphere 5.0 supports booting ESXi hosts from the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). With UEFI you can boot systems from hard drives, CD-ROM drives, or USB media. Booting over the network requires the legacy BIOS firmware and is not available with UEFI.

· Support for up to 512 virtual machines. vSphere 5.0 supports up to 512 virtual machines totaling a maximum of 2048 virtual CPUs per host.

· Support for larger systems. vSphere 5.0 supports systems with up to 160 logical CPUs and up to 2TB RAM.

· Improved SNMP support. vSphere 5.0 adds the capability to convert CIM indications to SNMP traps. Check with your hardware vendor to see whether their CIM provider supports this functionality. In addition, vSphere 5.0 now supports the Host Resources MIB (RFC 2790) and allows for finer control over the types of traps sent by the SNMP agent.


· Storage DRS. This feature delivers the DRS benefits of resource aggregation, automated initial placement, and bottleneck avoidance to storage. You can group and manage similar datastores as a single load-balanced storage resource called a datastore cluster. Storage DRS makes VMDK placement and migration recommendations to avoid I/O and space utilization bottlenecks on the datastores in the cluster.

· Policy-driven storage delivery. This solution allows you to have greater control and insight into characteristics of your storage resources. It also enables virtual machine storage provisioning to become independent of specific storage available in the environment. You can define virtual machine placement rules in terms of storage characteristics and monitor a virtual machine’s storage placement based on these administrator-defined rules. The solution delivers these benefits by taking advantage of the following items:

· Integrating with Storage APIs – Storage Awareness to deliver storage characterization supplied by storage vendors.

· Enabling the vSphere administrator to tag storage based on customer-specific descriptions.

· Using storage characterizations to create virtual machine placement rules in the form of storage profiles.

· Providing easy means to check a virtual machine’s compliance against these rules.

As a result, managing storage usage and choice in vSphere deployments has become more efficient and user-friendly.

· VMFS5. VMFS5 is a new version of vSphere Virtual Machine File System that offers improved scalability and performance.

· Accelerator. An accelerator has been delivered for specific use with View (VDI) workloads. With this option configured in ESXi, a read cache is constructed in memory that is optimized for recognizing, handling, and deduplicating VDI client images. The cache is managed from within the View Composer and delivers a significant reduction, as high as 90% by early estimates, in IOPS from each ESXi host to the storage platform holding client images. This reduction in IOPS enables large scaling of the number of clients in case multiple I/O storms, typical in large VDI deployments, occur.

· iSCSI UI support. Usability improvements in this release include the ability to configure dependent hardware iSCSI and software iSCSI adapters along with the network configurations and port binding in a single dialog box using the vSphere Client. Full SDK access is also available for these configurations.

· Storage I/O Control NFS support. vSphere 5.0 extends Storage I/O Control (SIOC) to provide cluster-wide I/O shares and limits for NFS datastores.

· Storage APIs – Array Integration: Thin Provisioning. Offers an ability to reclaim blocks of a thin provisioned LUN on the array when a virtual disk is deleted.

· Swap to SSD. vSphere 5.0 provides new forms of SSD handling and optimization. The VMkernel automatically recognizes and tags SSD devices that are local to ESXi or are on the network. In addition, the VMkernel scheduler is modified to allow ESXi swap to extend to local or network SSD devices, which enables memory overcommitment and minimizes performance impact.

· 2TB+ LUN support. vSphere 5.0 provides support for 2TB+ VMFS datastores.

· Storage vMotion snapshot support. Allows Storage vMotion of a virtual machine in snapshot mode with associated snapshots. You can better manage storage capacity and performance by leveraging flexibility of migrating a virtual machine along with its snapshots to a different datastore.


· Enhanced Network I/O Control. vSphere 5.0 builds on network I/O control to allow user-defined network resource pools, enabling multi-tenancy deployment, and to bridge virtual and physical infrastructure QoS with per resource pool 802.1 tagging.

· vNetwork Distributed Switch Improvements. vSphere 5.0 provides improved visibility into virtual machine traffic through Netflow and enhances monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities through SPAN and LLDP.

· ESXi Firewall. The ESXi 5.0 management interface is protected by a service-oriented and stateless firewall, which you can configure using the vSphere Client or at the command line with esxcli interfaces. A new firewall engine eliminates the use of iptables and rule sets define port rules for each service. For remote hosts, you can specify the IP addresses or range of IP addresses that are allowed to access each service.

VMware vCenter Server

· Next-generation browser-based vSphere Client. A browser-based, fully-extensible, platform-independent implementation of the vSphere Client based on Adobe Flex. The vSphere 5.0 release includes both the new browser-based client and the Windows-based client available in prior releases. In this release, the browser-based client includes a subset of the functionality available in the Windows-based client, primarily related to inventory display and virtual machine deployment and configuration.

· vCenter Server Appliance. A vCenter Server implementation running on a pre-configured Linux-based virtual appliance. This appliance significantly reduces the time required to deploy vCenter Server and associated services and provides a low-cost alternative to the traditional Windows-based vCenter Server.

· Inventory Extensibility. VMware customers and partners can extend vCenter Server in multiple ways, including the inventory, graphical user interface, and agents. vCenter Server includes a manager to monitor the extensions. By deploying extensions created by VMware partners, you can use vCenter Server as a unified console to manage your virtualized datacenter.

· Solution Installation and Management. The vCenter Solutions Manager provides a consistent interface to configure and monitor vCenter-integrated solutions developed by VMware and third parties. It provides a simpler installation, configuration, and monitoring interface for managing solutions. Using the new vSphere ESX Agent Manager, you can deploy, update, and monitor vSphere agents on ESXi hosts. vSphere agents inter-operate efficiently with other vSphere features such as maintenance mode and distributed power management.

· Enhanced logging support. vSphere 5.0 adds several enhancements to system message logging. All log messages are now generated by syslog, and messages can now be logged on either local and/or one or more remote log servers. A given server can log messages from more than one host. Log messages can be remotely logged using either the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or TCP connections. The vSphere syslog listener is available as an optional plug-in to vCenter on Windows; in the vCenter Virtual Appliance (VCVA), logging is accomplished using the native syslog-ng facility. With vSphere 5.0, log messages from different sources can be configured to go into different logs for more convenience. Configuration of message logging can also be accomplished using ESXCLI in addition to the vSphere client.


· Fault Domain Manager — VMware High Availability has been transformed into a cloud-optimized availability platform. With Fault Domain Manager, VMware HA is more reliable in operation, more scalable in its ability to protect virtual machines, and can provide better uptime than before. All hosts in the cluster can now be primary nodes while the cluster also uses shared storage as a channel for host heartbeat detection. This enables VMware HA to react accurately and efficiently to host failures, allowing customers to grow their vSphere cluster.


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