Wednesday, 28 September 2011

What's New in the vSphere 5 Client GUI & Notes on Differences Between ESXi 4.1 and ESXi 5.0

Contents of this post:
1) What's new in the vSphere 5 Client GUI
2) Killing a Stuck VM in ESXi 5.0
3) Changes/Improved capabilites of ESXi 5.0 over ESXi 4.1
4) Some Additional Storage vMotion features in vSphere 5
5) VMFS-5

1) What's new in the vSphere 5 Client GUI

Home > Inventory

'Datastores' has been replaced by 'Datastores and Datastore Clusters'


Home > Administration

'Licensing Reporting Manager' has gone
'vCenter Solutions Manager' and 'Storage Providers' has come in


Home > Management

'VM Storage Profiles' has come in


Home > Inventory > Hosts and Clusters

Datacenter object additional options:
'New Datastore Cluster...'
'New vNetwork Distributed Switch...' has been renamed to 'New vSphere Distributed Switch...'
'Migrate Virtual Machine Networking...'

Guest machine object additional options:
'VM Storage Profile'

2) Killing a Stuck VM in ESXi 5.0


via an SSH connection to the ESXi 5.0 host
# esxcli vm process list
# esxcli vm process kill -t soft -w <World ID of the Virtual Machine to kill>

3) Changes/Improved capabilites of ESXi 5.0 over ESXi 4.1

*Source: http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/esxi-and-esx/compare.html (also interesting to see the comparison of ESXi 5.0 against other vendors type 1 hypervisor offerings)

'Advanced Troubleshooting: 'Tech Support Mode' has become the 'ESXi Shell'
SNMP: Limited support in ESXi 4.1 now has full support in ESXi 5.0
Serial Port Connectivity: Supported
Rapid deployment and central management of hosts via Auto Deploy: Supported
Custom image creation and management: Supported
Secure syslog: Supported
Management interface firewall: Supported

4) Some Additional Storage vMotion features in vSphere 5


Storage vMotion will work with Virtual Machines that have snapshots/linked clones.
Storage vMotion allows VMware to implement a new balancing technique for VMs based on storage usage and load – this feature is called Storage DRS.

5) VMFS-5

VMFS3 volumes can be upgraded to VMFS5 volumes via the online & non-disruptive 'Upgrade to VMFS-5' feature in the vSphere 5 Client GUI
*Recommended to create a new VMFS-5 filesystem rather than upgrading – if have the luxury of time to perform the Storage vMotion operations

The maximum size of a VMDK on VMFS-5 is still 2TB -512 bytes.
The maximum size of a non-passthru (virtual) RDM on VMFS-5 is still 2TB -512 bytes.
The maximum number of LUNs that are supported on an ESXi 5.0 host is still 256

VMFS-5 Enhancements over VMFS-3

Unified 1MB File Block Size – very large files can be created on VMFS-5 using 1MB file blocks.
Large Single Extent Volumes – with VMFS-5 the limit has been increased from 2TB to 60TB.
Smaller Sub-Block – this is now 8KB rather than the 64KB
Small File Support.
Increased File Count – VMFS-5 introduces support for greater than 100,000 files, a three-fold increase on the number of files supported on VMFS-3, which was ~ 30,000.
ATS Enhancement – this Hardware Acceleration primitive, Atomic Test & Set (ATS), is now used throughout VMFS-5 for file locking. ATS is part of the VAAI (vSphere Storage APIs for Array Integration.) This enhancement improves the file locking performance over previous versions of VMFS.

VMFS-3 to VMFS-5 Upgrades

Upgraded VMFS-5 can use the new 1KB small-files feature.
Upgraded VMFS-5 can be grown to ~ 60TB, same as a newly created VMFS-5.
Upgraded VMFS-5 has all the VAAI ATS improvements that a newly created VMFS-5 has.

Differences between newly created and upgraded VMFS-5 datastores:

VMFS-5 upgraded from VMFS-3 continues to use the previous file block size which may be larger than the unified 1MB file block size.
VMFS-5 upgraded from VMFS-3 continues to use 64KB sub-blocks and not new 8K sub-blocks.
VMFS-5 upgraded from VMFS-3 continues to have a file limit of 30720 rather than new file limit of > 100000 for newly created VMFS-5.
VMFS-5 upgraded from VMFS-3 continues to use MBR (Master Boot Record) partition type; when the VMFS-5 volume is grown above 2TB, it automatically & seamlessly switches from MBR to GPT (GUID Partition Table) with no impact to the running VMs.
VMFS-5 upgraded from VMFS-3 continue to have its partition starting on sector 128; newly created VMFS5 partitions will have their partition starting at sector 2048.

RDM - Raw Device Mappings

There is now support for passthru RDMs to be ~ 60TB in size.
Non-passthru RDMs are still limited to 2TB - 512 bytes.
Both upgraded VMFS-5 & newly created VMFS-5 support the larger passthru RDM.


Additional sources:

*Excellent post by MauroBonder in reply to posted question 'Difference between ESXi 4.1 and ESXi 5 http://communities.vmware.com/message/1820995

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