VMware vSphere 5.0 Announced!

In case you were living under a rock today, or don’t have lots of RSS subscriptions for virtualization blogs, you may not have heard that VMware announced their vSphere 5.0 product today. Although not shipping until late in Q3 of 2011, the cat is now out of the bag and technical details are abundant. This is a huge release with hundreds of new features and tweaks, so I’m sure the blogosphere will be crammed with great details over the coming months.

VMware had an online virtual product release with several webinars, live Twitter feeds and live Q&A. So in a series of posts I’ll just cover some of the very high level new features, so you get a feel of the magnitude of the updates and hopefully get you interested in reading more on your own.

A few of the major feature enhancements include:

  • Exclusive use of the ESXi hypervisor. No more ESX.
  • Auto Deploy. Uses host profiles to provide stateless computers with no local storage. Enables you to rapidly provision new servers and centralize patch management. No no longer really patch servers, you reboot the server and it will download a whole new image.
  • Storage DRS. Tiered storage based on performance characteristics. Load balance VMs based on I/O profile and align with SLAs. You can put a datastore in maintenance mode and all VMs will be vMotioned to other datastores.
  • Added support for NFS storage I/O control (previously limited to block storage)
  • Per-VM network I/O controls, to help eliminiate noisy neighbors.
  • VMs can now support 3D graphics
  • Supports client-connected USB devices
  • Support for USB 3.0
  • Supports smartcard readers
  • Mac OS X server support
  • Hardware VM version has been increased to v8.0 and EFI virtual BIOS
  • VM limits increased to 32 vCPUs, 1TB RAM, support 1,000,000 IOPS, >36Gb/s network throughput
  • Brand new HA architecture. Supports larger clusters, simplified setup, and more reliable.
  • vCenter appliance running on Linux. Only supports Oracle DBs. Didn’t VMware learn from vCloud? Not as full featured as the Windows version.
  • Brand new web client to manage vSphere from anywhere.
  • Networking supports Netflow, SPAN support and LLDP
  • ESXi now has a built-in firewall
  • VMFS version increased to 5.0 (online non-disruptive update from prior versions)
  • VMFS support for datastores up to 64TB without using extents
  • VAAI v2
  • Software FCoE initiator
  • vMotion support for higher latency links (up to 10ms)
  • Dropped the “Advanced” licensing SKU
  • Licensing is now based on CPU sockets AND vRAM (see my licensing post here). No more core/memory limitations.
  • vCenter Heartbeat 6.4 supports SQL Server 2008 R2 and vCenter plug-in for monitoring.
  • New vSphere Storage Appliance

Nearly each feature could have a dedicated blog post about it, so this is just a small snapshot of some features. Other products like SRM and vShield have also undergone major updates. Stay tuned for a lot more post about new features.

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