VMware vSphere 5.5 Physical Host Maximums

vSphere 5.5 MaximumsThe release of VMware vSphere 5.5 has seen a number of enhancements to the underlying hypervisor (ESXi), and as with every major release of vSphere there is an increase in it’s capabilities around CPU, Disk and/or memory.

Probably the most significant in the VMware vSphere 5.5 release is the increase in VMDK file size that can be created and used, from 2TB (vSphere 5.1) to a massive 62TB!  That is quite a jump, and will definitely come as good news to businesses dealing with large amounts of data that have a requirement to have it mounted on a single volume.  Though you’d want to make sure you have an effective working backup and recovery strategy in place. 😉

The following is a quick-glance table that outlines some of the new VMware vSphere 5.5 per physical host (ie: not per virtual machine (VM)) maximum configurations.

Per Physical ESXi Host VMware vSphere 5.1 VMware vSphere 5.5
Logical CPU 160 320
Virtual CPU 2048 4096
NUMA Nodes 8 16
RAM (Memory) 2TB 4TB* (16TB experimental only support)
VMDK Size 2TB 62TB
vSphere Hypervisor RAM (Memory) – Free Version 32GB Unlimited

For SMBs and vSphere home lab users who run the free vSphere Hypervisor, the release of 5.5 removes the 32GB physical memory limit which means (budget permitting) you could start looking at using a single ESXi/Hypervisor solution using a server crammed full of memory, and of course an appropriately sized CPU and disk subsystem to match. Though I personally think that if you are spending that sort of money on memory you’d likely be wanting to nest your ESXi/Hypervisor hosts and use the highly useful functionality found with having a vCenter Server install, eg: DRS, HA, vMotion, etc.


  1. Philip says

    Simon, do you know if there is a CPU limitation for the VMware vSphere 5.5 Free Version?
    I’d like to use a motherboard with 2 CPU sockets.


    • says

      Hi Philip,

      I haven’t had time to double check in my lab yet, though if the previous versions of the ESXi Hypervisor are anything to go by then there aren’t any physical CPU restrictions with the free version. I guess what VMware are now banking on is that the value-add functionality found with vCenter Server (eg: vMotion, DRS, etc) will be the incentive to upgrade to a paid-for version, even in an SMB type environment.

      Hope this helps,


      • Philip says

        I installed VMware ESXi 5.5.0 free edition inside a VM (Workstation 7) and succeeded to enter the license key.
        It gives a “Licensed for 2 physical CPUs (unlimited cores per CPU)”.
        That definitely will work on my motherboard with 2 CPUs.


  2. Alok says

    What is the maximum physical RAM a host can use running 5.5,also does it differ from license to license I mean is there a difference from essential and essential plus an enterpise to enterprise plus ,does the max memory amount change if the license changes

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