VMware Infrastructure 3 Update 1, made available on April 10 2008, introduces some core updates to ESX Server 3.5, VirtualCenter 2.5, and the VMware Infrastructure Management Installer. The biggest reason to upgrade, however, is the inclusion of Storage VMotion.
Among the core features now available with ESX 3.5 Update 1 are the addition of the Intel 82598 10 GB Ethernet controller, support of Jumbo Frames and NetQueue, additional Microsoft Clustering Services (MSCS) support, additional backup product and management agent support, additional guest operating systems, and additional server models.
I’ve been working with ESX 3.5 Update 1 for a few weeks, and the installation and behavior are indistinguishable from both ESX 3.5’s base release and ESX 3.02, with the exception of context sensitive tasks or options.
When I test upgrades, I make a point to test the upgrade in an environment with dissimilar ESX host server releases. For example, most of my hosts are ESX 3.02. When I upgrade the first one to ESX 3.5, I want to make sure that nothing goes wrong. I want to know that I’ll be able to sustain a mixed environment with all functionality. When I migrate running virtual machines through host-based VMotion to the ESX 3.5 host, and the reverse, I want to make sure to the best of my ability that nothing will fail. I also want to ensure that all of the VMware DRS and VMware High Availability rules are still enforceable with the mixed-host inventory.
Outlining a functionality matrix and the verification of the behavior is key to having no surprises during a live upgrade. Testing the update to VirtualCenter is a little more difficult but I am setting up a test environment soon to ensure that everything functions as expected in my environment. Overall, the fixes and new features make ESX 3.5 Update 1 an attractive upgrade for systems that are not there already.