VMware vSphere 5.1 Update 1..is it for you?

VMware vSphere 5.1 update 1 is probably one of the most recently anticipated updates of the VMware stack and it has finally hit the streets. For those of you following the release of vSphere 5.1, you have seen the GA release last fall, followed by 5.1.0a then a couple of months later 5.1.0b, all addressing bugs and ironing out critical installation issues.

VMware vSphere 5.1 Update 1 has a laundry list of improvements, support for new Microsoft products, and a lot of bug fixes. If you are still on vSphere 5.0 or tried 5.1 in the past and ran into problems, you definitely need to check out vSphere 5.1 Update 1. If you want a complete vSphere 5.1 installation guide, check out my 15-part blog series here. I will be updating it in the near future for Update 1. If you are running vSphere 5.1, there are a number of security vulnerabilities addressed in the update so start planning your upgrade.

VMware Known Issues with vSphere 5.1 Update 1

Today VMware posted a new KB warning about a vSphere 5.1 Update 1 bug, which may affect customers. The problem prevents you from logging into the vSphere Web Client using an AD account, if you AD account is a member of approximately 19 or more domain groups and the SSO service is configured with multiple domains. The KB states until a hotfix is released, DO NOT upgrade to vSphere 5.1 Update 1. In many enterprise environments a vSphere administrator may be in dozens of groups, depending on how access is controlled within the domain. Fewer customers will probably have SSO configured for multiple domains, so the impact of this issue is probably limited to larger enterprises. Additional issues include:

  • If you are using the vSphere Storage Appliance, you MUST upgrade to vSA 5.1.3 after you upgrade the rest of your infrastructure to vSphere 5.1 Update 1. vSA 5.1.1 is NOT compatible with vSphere 5.1 Update 1.
  • You can NOT use the simple installer to upgrade from prior 5.1 versions to 5.1 Update 1. You must utilize the individual installers.
  • Windows Server 2012 failover clusters are NOT supported on ESXi 5.1 Update 1. The cluster validation wizard gets stuck in an endless loop and you are unable for form the cluster.

What got updated in vCloud Suite 5.1 Update 1?

  • ESXi 5.1 Update 1 Build 1065491
  • vCenter Server 5.1 Update 1 Build 1065152
  • vSphere Data Protection
  • vSphere Replication 5.1.1
  • vSphere Storage Appliance 5.1.3
  • vCenter Orchestrator Appliance 5.1.1
  • vCloud Director 5.1.2
  • vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.1.1
  • vSphere 5.1 Update 1 Virtual Disk Development Kit
  • vSphere CLI 5.1 Update 1
  • VMware Converter Standalone 5.1 (Download here)
  • VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat 6.5 Update 1
  • VMware vSphere Management Assistant ( – April 4, 2013)
  • HP Custom Image for ESXi 5.1.0 Update 1 Install CD

You can find all of these downloads in the usual place, My VMware. You can download the updated documentation archive ZIP bundle here. The full documentation page is here.

vCenter Server 5.1 Update Release Notes

vCenter 5.1 Update 1 is more than just bug and security fixes, it incorporates a number of newly supported operating systems and database back-ends. You can find the full release notes here. Below is just a tiny faction of the new features and bugfixes.

What’s New?

  • vCenter Server can be installed on Windows Server 2012
  • vCenter can use Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2
  • Guest operating customization support for Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Ubuntu 12.04 and RHEL 5.9
  • Removed vRAM usage limit of 192GB on vSphere Essentials and Essentials Plus

Resolved Issues

A lot of bug fixes are included, but a few highlights include:

  • Better error reporting when accidentally updating the Admin or STS service with incorrect protocol parameters. It will now tell you what you botched up.
  • Number of security patches including Java, tcServer, vCSA remote code vulnerability
  • Upgrade issues from 5.1.0a to 5.1.0b

VMware ESXi 5.1 Update 1 Release Notes

  • Mirrors the new guest OS support in vCenter 5.1 Update 1. Full 200+ page OS compatibility matrix is here.
  • Contains several security patches (glibc, libxslt, libxml2)
  • Resolved: Long running vMotion operations might result in unicast flooding
  • Windows Server 2012 failover clustering is not supported

You can find the ESXi 5.1 Update 1 full release notes here.

vCloud Director 5.1.2 Release Notes

Like vCenter 5.1 Update 1, vCloud Director has some new features and many resolved issues. Full release notes is here. The full vCloud Director 5.1.2 documentation set is here.

What’s new?

  • Ability to delegate creating, reverting, and removing snapshots
  • You can install vCloud Director on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3
  • You can install vClould Director using Microsoft SQL Server 2012 databases
  • Supports customization of Windows Server 2012 guest operating systems

Resolved Issues

  • Security vulnerabilities addressed by updating Java to 1.6.0_37
  • Multiple bug fixes, see full release notes

vCenter Converter Standalone 5.1 Release Notes

The new version of Converter has added a number of great new features and broader operating system support. You can find the full release notes here.

  • Supports VM hardware version 9
  • Guest operating system support for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
  • Guest operating system support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6
  • Support for machine sources that use GPT partition tables
  • Support for systems that use UEFI
  • Support for EXT4 file system

vCenter Server Heartbeat 6.5 Update 1 Release Notes

No major changes here, but incremental support for the latest VMware products. Full release notes are here.

  • Support for vCenter 5.1 Update 1
  • Support for View Composer 5.2

vSphere Data Protection 5.1.20 Release Notes

More than just bug fixes, VMware added many new features to this build. Full release notes are here. A subset of the new features:

  • Integration with vCenter alarms and alerts notification system
  • Ability to clone backup jobs
  • New filters to restore tab
  • Expands capacity up to 8TB per appliance
  • Supports the ability to expand existing datastores
  • Supports guest-level backups of Microsoft SQL Servers
  • Supports guest-level backups of Microsoft Exchange Servers

vSphere Storage Appliance 5.1.2 Release Notes

Like vSphere Data Protection, the vSphere Storage Appliance has many new features. The full release notes are here.

  • Support multiple VSA clusters managed by a single vCenter Instance (about time)
  • Ability to run vCenter Server on a subnet different from the VSA cluster
  • Support for running the VSA on one of the ESXi hosts in the VSA cluster
  • Ability to install the VSA on an existing ESXi host that has running VMs
  • Ability to increase the storage capacity of a VSA cluster
  • Up to 24TB of storage per node
  • Multiple RAID types (RAID 5, RAID 6, RAID 10)


vSphere 5.1 Update 1 will be a welcomed upgrade to customers already running vSphere 5.1. After a rocky start of vSphere 5.1 GA, VMware has clearly been working on stability, bug fixes, and supporting the latest Microsoft operating systems and SQL databases. The vCloud Suite is ever expanding, so when you go to download all the components you will see over two dozen downloads you can choose from. If you’ve been hesitant to move up to vSphere 5.1, give 5.1 Update 1 a whirl in your lab and see if it’s stable enough for you.

vSphere 5.1 Suite

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April 29, 2013 7:30 am

Hi Derek,

About the issue with the users with over 19 AD groups, do you know if that only concerns upgraded instances or a fresh install install of 5.1 U1 should not have this issue?


April 30, 2013 5:28 pm

Great synopsis!! Thank you.

Could you please confirm if VMware fixed SQL authentication requirements to allow only windows authentication?


May 2, 2013 2:21 am

Looking forward to your updated 15-part article covering 5.1 U1. I followed your original series and was very pleased when it was all finished. It will be good to have the latest version!

May 22, 2013 12:09 am

View 5.2 IS compatible with vSphere 5.1u1