During VMworld 2013, VMware annouced that ESXi 5.5 would be coming. Here are some of he updates that are going to be included in the update:
Summary of new features and capabilities available in vSphere 5.5
- Doubled Host-Level Configuration Maximums – vSphere 5.5 is capable of hosting any size workload; a fact that is punctuated by the doubling of several host-level configuration maximums. The maximum number of logical CPUs has doubled from 160 to 320, the number of NUMA nodes doubled from 8 to 16, the number of virtual CPUs has doubled from 2048 to 4096, and the amount of RAM has also doubled from 2TB to 4TB. There is virtually no workload that is too big for vSphere 5.5!
- Hot-pluggable PCIe SSD Devices – vSphere 5.5 provides the ability to perform hot-add and remove of SSD devices to/from a vSphere 5.5 host. With the increased adoption of SSD, having the ability to perform both orderly as well as unplanned SSD hot-add/remove operations is essential to protecting against downtime and improving host resiliency.
- Improved Power Management – ESXi 5.5 provides additional power savings by leveraging CPU deep process power states (C-states). By leveraging the deeper CPU sleep states ESXi can minimizes the amount of power consumed by idle CPUs during periods of inactivity. Along with the improved power savings comes additional performance boost on Intel chipsets as turbo mode frequencies can be reached more quickly when CPU cores are in a deep C-State.
- Virtual Machine Compatibility ESXi 5.5 (aka Virtual Hardware 10) – ESXi 5.5 provides a new Virtual Machine Compatibility level that includes support for a new virtual-SATA Advance Host Controller Interface (AHCI) with support for up to 120 virtual disk and CD-ROM devices per virtual machine. This new controller is of particular benefit when virtualizing Mac OS X as it allows you to present a SCSI based CD-ROM device to the guest.
- VM Latency Sensitivity – included with the new virtual machine compatibility level comes a new “Latency Sensitivity” setting that can be tuned to help reduce virtual machine latency. When the Latency sensitivity is set to high the hypervisor will try to reduce latency in the virtual machine by reserving memory, dedicating CPU cores and disabling network features that are prone to high latency.
- Expanded vGPU Support – vSphere 5.5 extends VMware’s hardware-accelerated virtual 3D graphics support (vSGA) to include GPUs from AMD. The multi-vendor approach provides customers with more flexibility in the data center for Horizon View virtual desktop workloads. In addition 5.5 enhances the “Automatic” rendering by enabling the migration of virtual machines with 3D graphics enabled between hosts running GPUs from different hardware vendors as well as between hosts that are limited to software backed graphics rendering.
- Graphics Acceleration for Linux Guests – vShere 5.5 also provides out of the box graphics acceleration for modern GNU/Linux distributions that include VMware’s guest driver stack, which was developed by VMware and made available to all Linux vendors at no additional cost.
- vCenter Single Sign-On (SSO) – in vSphere 5.5 SSO comes with many improvements. There is no longer an external database required for the SSO server, which together with the vastly improved installation experience helps to simplify the deployment of SSO for both new installations as well as upgrades from earlier versions. This latest release of SSO provides enhanced active directory integration to include support for multiple forest as well as one-way and two-way trusts. In addition, a new multi-master architecture provides built in availability that helps not only improve resiliency for the authentication service, but also helps to simplify the overall SSO architecture.
- vSphere Web Client – the web client in vSphere 5.5 also comes with several notable enhancements. The web client is now supported on Mac OS X, to include the ability to access virtual machine consoles, attach client devices and deploy OVF templates. In addition there have been several usability improvements to include support for drag and drop operations, improved filters to help refine search criteria and make it easy to find objects, and the introduction of a new “Recent Items” icon that makes it easier to navigate between commonly used views.
- vCenter Server Appliance – with vSphere 5.5 the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) now uses a reengineered, embedded vPostgres database that offers improved scalability. I wasn’t able to officially confirm the max number of hosts and VMs that will be supported with the embedded DB. They are targeting 100 hosts and 3,000 VMs but we’ll need to wait until 5.5 releases to confirm these numbers. However, regardless what the final numbers are, with this improved scalability the VCSA is a very attractive alternative for folks who may be looking to move a way from a Windows based vCenter.
For a complete list please visit the VMware post here.