Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What’s New in vSphere 5.5

On this article I'll try to collect all important (at least for me) vSphere 5.5 news and improvements announced at VMworld 2013. I wasn't there so I rely on other blog posts and VMware materials.

Julian Wood reported about vCloud Suite 5.5 news announced at VMworld 2013 at

Chris Wahl wrote deep dive blog posts into vSphere 5.5 improvements at

Cormac Hogan listed storage improvements in vSphere 5.5 at

Thanks Julian, Chris, and Cormac for excellent blog posts and keep informed as who was not able to attend VMworld 2013.

BTW: Official VMware What's New paper is at http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vsphere/VMware-vSphere-Platform-Whats-New.pdf 

Here are few citations with my comments from above blog posts. I'll mention just improvements which are important and/or interesting for me. I will concentrate on these topics and in near future I have to find and test more hidden details.
  1. Management: VMware is strongly recommending using a single VM for all vCenter Server core components (SSO, Web Client, Inventory Service and vCenter Server) or to use the appliance rather than splitting things out which just add complexity and makes it harder to upgrade in the future. << "This is excellent approach and I really like it."
  2. Management: The vCenter Appliance has also been beefed up and with its embedded database supports 300 hosts and 3000 VMs or if you use an external Oracle DB the supported hosts and VMs are the same as for Windows. << "Finally"
  3. Storage: vSphere 5.5 now supports VMDK disks larger than 2TB. Disks can be created up to 63.36TB in size on both VMFS and NFS.The max disk size needs to be about 1% less than the datastore file size limit. << "The last vSphere storage limit disappeared however how big datastores we will create?"
  4. Storage: vSphere Flash Read Cache leveraging local SSDs to eliminate read IO operations from datastores and save storage performance (IOPSes) for other purposes (writes, other workloads, etc.)  For more info look at http://wahlnetwork.com/2013/08/26/vsphere-5-5-improvements-part-5-vsphere-flash-read-cache-vflash/ or http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2013/08/26/introduction-to-vsphere-flash-read-cache-aka-vflash/ << "Sounds good but pernixdata.com looks better."
  5. Storage: vSphere vSAN leveraging SSD and SATA server internal disks and form it into shared storage pool. VMware promised it is match better than VSA (VMware Storage Appliance). For more info look at http://wahlnetwork.com/2013/08/26/vsphere-5-5-improvements-part-4-virtual-san-vsan/ << "We will see. have you tested VSA? I still believe real storage is real storage. At least now. However if someone considers vSAN I would recommend to invest into really good server disks and SSDs."
  6. Storage: PDL AutoRemove in vSphere 5.5 automatically removes a device with PDL from the host. PDL stands for Permanent Device Lost and receive it from storage array as a SCSI Sense Code. << "It would be beneficial when some storage admin removes empty LUN. Then nothing should be done on vSphere in case storage send appropriate SCSI Sense Code. MUST BE CAREFULLY TEST IT!!!"
  7. Networking: LACP in 5.5 gives you over 22 load balancing algorithms and you are now able to create 32 LAGs per host so you can bond together all those physical Nics. << "Finally, Nexus 1000v had it already from the beginning."
  8. Networking: Flow based marking and filtering provides granular traffic marking and filtering capabilities from a simple UI integrated with VDS UI. You can provide stateless filtering to secure or control VM or Hypervisor traffic. Any traffic that requires specific QoS treatment on physical networks can now be granularly marked with COS and DSCP marking at the vNIC or Port group level. << "Nice improvement, but I have never had such requirement so far."
  9. High Availability: Someone mentioned to me that VMware announced vSphere 5.5  Multi-processor Fault Tolerance (FTin VMworld 2013.  << "This would be interesting but must be validated as I cannot find any official statement or some blog post about it. It seems to me it was Fault Tolerance tech preview like in VMworld 2012 session I attended last year."
  10. Authentication:  SSO 2.0 is now a multi-master model. Replication between SSO servers is automatic and built-in. SSO is now site aware. The SSO database is completely removed. For more info look at http://wahlnetwork.com/2013/08/26/vsphere-5-5-improvements-part-7-single-sign-on-completely-redesigned/  << "Finally, previous SSO 1.0 was a nightmare!!!"
  11. Disaster Recovery: VMware Replication (VR) now supports more VR Server Appliances responsible for replication, more point in time instances (aka snapshots), the ability to use Storage vMotion on protected VMs, and vSphere Web Client will show you details on your vSphere Replication status when you click on the vCenter object. For more info look at http://wahlnetwork.com/2013/08/26/vsphere-5-5-improvements-part-6-site-recovery-manager-srm-and-vsphere-replication/ << "Cool. Good evolution."

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