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Discussion: VMWare vSphere 5.1 - What are the benefits?

After an intense training session with Craig Kilborn (@vmfcraig), the Mirus team are now well versed in the benefits of the latest version of VMWare vSphere 5.1.


VMware vSphere 5.1 introduces many new features and enhancements that further extend the core capabilities of the vSphere platform. The core platform enhancements in vSphere 5.1 include the following:

  • Improved security and auditing by removing reliance on a shared “root” account
  • Improved SNMP monitoring with SNMPv3 authentication and SSL encryption
  • Enhanced vMotion support, enabling virtual machines to be migrated between hosts and clusters that do not have shared storage
  • Support for the latest Intel and AMD CPUs along with support for Microsoft Windows 8
  • Bundling of VMware® vShield Endpoint™ as part of the core vSphere product

Along with the core platform improvements, vSphere 5.1 provides the following several virtual machine–related enhancements:

  • Support for up to 64 vCPUs per virtual machine, doubling the number of support vCPUs from vSphere 5.0
  • Enhanced CPU virtualization, enabling the passing of low-level CPU counters and other physical CPU attributes directly to the virtual machine, where they can be accessed by the guest OS
  • Introduction of virtual machine compatibility, making it easier to identify and track virtual machine capabilities—removes ambiguity regarding virtual machine upgrades and helps eliminate pressure to keep up with an ever-increasing virtual hardware version

For VMware View environments, vSphere 5.1 puts in place the following critical enabling technologies that will beused with future releases of View:

  • Enhanced hardware-accelerated graphics support with virtual GPUs (vGPUs)
  • Guest OS Reclamation, providing the ability to return deallocated storage space inside the guest OS to the storage array

vSphere 5.1 also provides several critical enhancements to VMware vSphere Auto Deploy:

  • Improved scalability of the Auto Deploy server, with support for up to 80 concurrent (re)boots, twice the number of concurrent reboots with vSphere 5.0
  • A new stateless caching mode that enables the Auto Deploy host to reboot in the event of an outage affecting the PXE infrastructure or Auto Deploy server
  • A new stateful install mode that enables the Auto Deploy infrastructure to be used as a provisioning tool to deploy new vSphere hosts

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