VMworld: What’s new in vSphere 5.5 Storage

Twitter: #VSVC5005; Kyle Gleed, VMware; Cormac Hogan, VMware

This session was a bit of a bust. The first 20 minutes storage wasn’t even mention; it was a recap of vSphere 5.5 platform features. The next 20 minutes was a super high level storage feature overview, and the session ended 20 minutes early. It really didn’t say much more than keynote sessions. The session title was misleading and I would have skipped it if I had known the agenda. But for what it’s worth, here are my session notes.


  • vSphere 5.5 Platform Features
  • vCenter 5.5 Server Features
  • vSphere 5.5 Storage Features

vSphere 5.5 Platform Features

  • Scalability – Doubled several config maximums, HW version 10
  • Hardware version 10: LSI SAS for Solaris 11, new SATA controller, AHCI support, support latest CPU architectures
  • vGPU Support: Expanded to support AMD (including NVIDIA). vMotion between GPU vendors
  • Hot-Pluggable SSD PCIe Devices – Supports orderly and surprise hot-plug operations
  • Reliable Memory – Runs ESXi kernel in the more reliable memory areas (as surfaced by the HW server vendor)
  • CPU C-States – Deep C-states in default balanced policy;

vCenter Server Features

  • Completely new SSO service
  • Supports one-way, and two-way trusts
  • Built-in HA (multi-master)
  • Continued support for local authentication (in all scenarios)
  • No database needed
  • Web client: Supports OS X (VM console, OVF templates, attach client devices)

vCenter Application HA

  • Protects apps running inside the VM
  • Automates recovery from host failure, guest OS crash, app failure
  • Supports: Tomcat 6/7; IIS 6.0-8.0; SQL 2005-2012, and others
  • HA is now aware of DRS affinity rules


  • 62TB VMDK maximum size
  • Large VMDKs do NOT support: Online/hot extension, VSAN, FT, VI client, MBR partitions disks
  • MSCS: Supports 2012, iSCSI, FC, FCoE, and round-robin multipathing

PDL AutoRemove

  • PDL (permanent device loss) – bases on SCSI sense codes
  • PDL autoRemove removes devices that PDL from the array
  • I/Os are now not sent to dead devices


  • New simpler VAAI/UNMAP command via ESXCLI
  • Still not automated (maybe in the future)

VMFS Heap Improvements

  • Issues when 30TB of open storage per ESXi host in the past
  • Can now address the full 64TB of a VMFS

vSphere Flash Read Cache

  • Read-only cache, write through
  • Pool resources, then carve up on a per-VM basis
  • Only one flash resource per vSphere host
  • New Filesystem called VFFS
  • Can also be used for host swap cache
  • On a per-VM basis you configure cache reservation and block size


  • Policy driven per-VM SLA
  • vSphere & vCenter Integration
  • Scale-out storage
  • Built-in resiliency
  • SSD caching
  • converged compute & storage
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