VMware announces vSphere 5.5

During the first day of VMworld 2013 in San Francisco VMware announced the release of vSphere 5.5 (the general availability has not yet been disclosed).

The elements introduced with 5.5 (thanks to Marcel van den Berg) are the following:

  • Support for VMDK files of max. 62 TB (was 2TB) filesize for VMFS5 and NFS
  • No change in the pricing of vSphere editions.
  • 4 new features: AppHA, Reliable Memory, Flash Read Cache and Big Data Extensions
  • Latency-sensitivity feature for applications like very high performance computing and stock trading apps
  • vSphere Hypervisor (free) has no physical memory limit anymore (was 32 GB)
  • Max. RAM per host 4 TB (was 2 TB)
  • Virtual CPUs per host 4096 (was 2048)
  • NUMA Nodes per host 16 (was 8 )
  • Logical CPUs per host 320 (was 160)
  • PCI hotplug support for SSD
  • VMFS heap size improvements
  • 16 GB End to end Fibre channel. So 16 GB from host to switch and 16 GB from switch to SAN
  • Support for 40 Gpbs NICs
  • Enhanced IPv6 support
  • Enhancements for CPU C-states. This reduces power consumption.
  • Expanded vGPU support: In vSphere 5.1 VMware only supports NVIDIA GPU. In vSphere 5.5 support for AMD and Intel GPU’s is added. Three rendering modes are supported: automatic, hardware and software.
  • The ability to vMotion a virtual machine between different GPU vendors is also supported. If hardware mode is enabled in the source host and GPU does not exist in the destination host, vMotion will fail and will not attempt a vMotion.
  • added Microsoft Windows Server 2012 guest clustering support
  • AHCI Controller Support which enables Mac OS guests to use IDE CDROM drives. AHCI is an operating mode for SATA.

App HA is one of the most interesting features introduced within this release, allows to monitor specific applications inside guest OS and restart automatically first the service then the whole VM if the monitored service fails.

For now App HA supports the following applications:

  • Microsoft SQL 2005, 2008, 2008R2, 2012
  • Tomcat 6.0, 7.0
  • TC Server Runtime 6.0, 7.0
  • Microsoft IIS 6.0, 7.0, 8.0
  • Apache HTTP Server 1.3, 2.0, 2.2

The SSO component has been also rewritten due to the well known problems in the RSA component embedded in version 5.1 and the vSphere Web Client has been improved, supports all the new features and seems much more responsive.

For the complete list of the new features refer to the official VMware paper.