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VMware vSphere 4: What's new

New Limits

Some features and values only with Enterprise plus version supported.

Values per ESX

  • only 64bit Hardware supported
  • max 512 CPUS
  • max 64 CPU Cores
  • max 1 TB RAM

Virtual machine values (Hardware version 7)

  • max 8 VCPUS
  • max 255 GB RAM

ESX 4 Service Console

  • Console root file system new on VMDK file
  • IPv6 fully supported
  • SMNP moved to hostd

New features

  • new IP Stack
  • SCSI-3 support
  • support for virtual IDE disks
  • MS Server 2008 Cluster support
  • paravirtual SCSI adapter
  • new guest OS supported (i.e. CentOS 4, Debian 4, MS-DOS, Win 95, OS/2)
  • multiple vCenters can be linked together (see all VC in one GUI)
  • Licenses managed by vCenter (no license server needed anymore)
  • Storage
    • CBT (Change Block Tracking) for more efficient backups, VMware KB entry about CBT
    • Pluggable Storage Architecture (PSA), interface for 3rd party storage (i.e. from NetApp, EMC)
    • more efficient iSCSI implementation, better CHAP options
    • new alarm triggers for storage monitoring
    • better NFS monitoring (ESXtop, VC Storage Views)
    • Volume grow for VMFS (before only extend for datastores)
  • Distributed Resource Scheduler
    • shut down ESX host in order to save energy when resources aren't used
    • start ESX with wake on lan, ilo or IPMI when required
    • interesting for desktop environments
  • Fault Tolerance (FT)
    • run VM on second ESX (shadow) for immediate failover in case of ESX failure
  • Virtual Machine Monitoring
    • automatic restart of VM in case of failure
    • heartbeat over VMware Tools

VMware Converter

  • convert physical to virtual
  • convert virtual to virtual
    • 3.5 to 4.0
    • Hyper-V to WMware
    • vSphere to VMware Workstation
    • VMMware Workstation to vSphere

Automation and Scripting

Standardized ESX Setup

  • Host Profiles
    • Enterprise Plus license required
    • not all settings supported
  • Kickstart automated installation and post install scripts

vSphere Management Assistant (vMA)

  • replacement for service console, separated from ESX
  • consist of a Linux Appliance which can downloaded on the VMware website

vCenter Power CLI

MS PowerShell scriptlets to manage vCenter

vCenter Orchestrator

  • Workflow engine for vCenter: i.e. create new VM's and save process as workflow
  • Now GUI tools available at the moment to use engine (Live Cycle Mgmr uses the service)

vCenter Guided Consolidation

“light” -version of VMware Analyser, analyses physical infrastructure and migrate with converter.


:!: Next version will only support 64bit guest OS (Win2008 64bit R2)

EVC - Enhanced Compatibility Mode

Enables VMotion between ESX hosts with different CPU's:

  • ESX must have the same EVC baseline
  • all new features which are not supported on old gen CPU's are disabled


Network Description
Service Console Administration, communication with VC
VMkernel IP-Storage traffic, VMotion

New Features

  • distributed network switch
    • switch configured on VC level not ESX
    • third party virtual switch (i.e. Cisco Nexus 1000v)
  • network event alarms


Make sure the following directories have theire own mount points and enough disk space:
  • /tmp 6-8 GB
  • /var 6-8 GB (log files under /var/log)
  • /opt (2-4 GB)

The /home directory is optional as you usually don't have any user accounts beside root on the ESX server.

Using Update Manager (VUM)

  • update/upgrade ESX and VM's (i.e. from ESX 3.5 → 4.0 or Hardware v4 → v7)
  • update drivers such and VMware Tools

Upgrade process from 3.5 to 4.0

  1. check requirements
  2. upgrade cCenter Server
  3. install vSphere Client 4.0
  4. upgrade Update Manager 4.0
  5. use Update Mgmr to upgrade ESX/ESXi
  6. upgrade VM's (3 reboots for VM's)
    1. VMware Tools (new drivers made for new hardware)
    2. Hardware


  • not more than 4 VCPUS per physical CPU core
  • 10 - 20 VM's per datastore (depends on VM requirements and storage protocol etc.)
/srv/ · Last modified: 2010/06/23 13:01 (external edit)