VMware has finally released the first update to vSphere almost 6 months after the initial release of vSphere in May 2009. Version 4.0 Update 1 delivers many fixes to bugs and issues as well as support for new features, products and operating systems. Perhaps the biggest updates in this release are support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 as guest operating systems as well as support for the newly released VMware View 4.0.
This release is significant in the fact that is the first update to vSphere which should appease all those who were waiting to upgrade to vSphere for fear of bugs and issues that can be present in the first major release of any software application. There are at least 50 patches that have been issued since vSphere was released that have been rolled into this update, which should lead to increased stability and less headaches for administrators.
This release includes updates to ESX, ESXi, vCenter Server as well as to VMware Data Recovery which has been updated from version 1.0.2 to 1.1. Enhancements to ESX(i) and vCenter Server include the following:
- 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.
- 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 a 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.
- 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.
- Enablement of Intel Xeon Processor 3400 Series – Support for the Xeon processor 3400 series has been added.
VMware Data Recovery has the following enhancements, most notably better support for file level restores of Windows VMs. Previously in VDR 1.0, file level restore was considered experimental and was done using a command line utility. In VDR 1.1 there is a new Windows file-level restore client to make restores much easier using a GUI interface instead. You can read more about the new FLR capabilities in the VDR 1.1 Administration Guide.
- File Level Restore Functionality is Officially Supported – File Level Restore (FLR) provides a way to access individual files within restore points for Windows virtual machines. In previous versions of Data Recovery, FLR was provided as an experimental feature. File Level Restore feature is now officially supported.
- Integrity Check Stability and Performance Improved – The integrity check process is faster and more stable. Note that integrity checks are computationally intensive processes and can take significant periods of time. The exact amount of time integrity checks take varies based on of the size of the deduplication store. Even with these enhancements, integrity checks that take several hours are not unexpected.
- Integrity Checks Provides Improved Progress Information – When an integrity check is running, a progress indicator is displayed. This progress indicator has been improved, although it does not provide the optimal level of detail.
- Enhanced CIFS Shares Support
As usual read the release notes before upgrading and make sure you follow the standard upgrade order of: vCenter Server>Hosts>Virtual Machines.