It’s here! The much anticipated first major update (U1) to VMware ESX 4.0 and vCenter 4.0 has been released and is now available to download from VMware. The sections below provide a summary of what is new and/or enhanced in this update 1 release for both ESX 4.0 and vCenter 4.0 though, as would be expected, there are a large number of bug fixes and ‘known issues’ which are all outlined in the release documents (links at the bottom of this post) for each product. Definitely worth spending 5 minutes to familiarise yourself with what has been fixed and what is still outstanding.
UPDATE: Since originally posting this I have seen that PowerCLI 4.0 Update 1 has also been released. This update provides more than 60 new commandlets. Check out this link to the VMware PowerCLI page for more details also check out Alan Renouf’s (Virtu-al) excellent site here – it’s a great resource for anything PowerCLI.
VMware ESX 4.0 Update 1:
Apart from the expected various tweaks and bug fixes this ESX 4.0 Update 1 release also comes with a number of enhancements, of particular note VMware View 4.0 and Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 support. From the ESX 4.0 Update 1 release notes which can be found here:
VMware View 4.0 support – This release adds support for VMware View 4.0, a solution built specifically for delivering desktops as a managed service from the protocol to the platform.
Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 support –This release adds support for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 as well as 64-bit Windows 2008 R2 as guest OS platforms. In addition, the vSphere Client is now supported and can be installed on a Windows 7 platform. For a complete list of supported guest operating systems with this release, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.
Enhanced Clustering Support for Microsoft Windows – Microsoft Cluster Server (MSCS) for Windows 2000 and 2003 and Windows Server 2008 Failover Clustering is now supported on an VMware High Availability (HA) and Dynamic Resource Scheduler (DRS) cluster in a limited configuration. HA and DRS functionality can be effectively disabled for individual MSCS virtual machines as opposed to disabling HA and DRS on the entire ESX/ESXi host. Refer to the Setup for Failover Clustering and Microsoft Cluster Service guide for additional configuration guidelines.
Enhanced VMware Paravirtualized SCSI Support – Support for boot disk devices attached to a Paravirtualized SCSI ( PVSCSI) adapter has been added for Windows 2003 and 2008 guest operating systems. Floppy disk images are also available containing the driver for use during the Windows installation by selecting F6 to install additional drivers during setup. Floppy images can be found in the /vmimages/floppies/ folder.
Improved vNetwork Distributed Switch Performance – Several performance and usability issues have been resolved resulting in the following:
- Improved performance when making configuration changes to a vNetwork Distributed Switch (vDS) instance when the ESX/ESXi host is under a heavy load
- Improved performance when adding or removing an ESX/ESXi host to or from a vDS instance
Increase in vCPU per Core Limit – The limit on vCPUs per core has been increased from 20 to 25. This change raises the supported limit only. It does not include any additional performance optimizations. Raising the limit allows users more flexibility to configure systems based on specific workloads and to get the most advantage from increasingly faster processors. The achievable number of vCPUs per core depends on the workload and specifics of the hardware. For more information see the Performance Best Practices for VMware vSphere 4.0 guide.
Enablement of Intel Xeon Processor 3400 Series – Support for the Xeon processor 3400 series has been added. For a complete list of supported third party hardware and devices, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.
VMware vCenter 4.0 Update 1:
The vCenter 4.0 update also comes with a number of enhancements (see below) and bug fixes. Of particular note vCenter 4.0 is now compatible with x32 and x64 versions of Windows 7 meaning that those of you wishing to run vCenter on your Windows 7 machine no longer need to perform the workaround which I wrote about here. The increase in the HA cluster maximum to 160 virtual machines per host in a cluster of 8 hosts or less is also a note-worthy enhancement that no doubt will be welcomed by many.
There is also a nice pre-upgrade checker tool that will allow you to confirm if your environment is ok to be upgraded to update 1 by checking for any potential issues in upgrading the vCenter agents (eg: network and general configuration of the ESX host).
The vCenter 4.0 Update 1 release notes quote the following enhancements:
IBM DB2 Database Support for vCenter Server — This release adds support for IBM DB2 9.5 as the backend database platform for VMware vCenter Server 4.0. The following editions of IBM DB2 are supported:
- IBM DB2 Enterprise 9.5
- IBM DB2 Workgroup 9.5
- IBM DB2 Express 9.5
- IBM DB2 Express-C 9.5
VMware View 4.0 support — This release adds support for VMware View 4.0, a solution built specifically for delivering desktops as a managed service from the protocol to the platform.
Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 support — This release adds support for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 as well as 64-bit Windows 2008 R2 as guest operating system platforms. In addition, the vSphere Client is now supported and can be installed on a Windows 7 platform.
Pre-Upgrade Checker Tool — A standalone pre-upgrade checker tool is now available as part of the vCenter Server installation media that proactively checks ESX hosts for any potential issues that you might encounter while upgrading vCenter agents on these hosts as part of the vCenter Server upgrade process. You can run this tool independently prior to upgrading an existing vCenter Server instance. The tool can help identify any configuration, networking, disk space or other ESX host-related issues that could prevent ESX hosts from being managed by vCenter Server after a successful vCenter Server upgrade.
HA Cluster Configuration Maximum — HA clusters can now support 160 virtual machines per host in HA Cluster of 8 hosts or less. The maximum number of virtual machines per host in cluster sizes of 9 hosts and above is still 40, allowing a maximum of 1280 Virtual Machines per HA cluster.
I’ll be upgrading my VMware ESX and vCenter instances on my lab over the weekend and will report back with any issues though if past updates are anything to go by it should be a smooth trouble free process.