vSphere 5 Fab 2

Well, the announcement came and went for vSphere 5.0 yesterday and a lot of new technology and new capability was put out there. You may have also heard of the new licensing scheme, but I’m not going to cover that yet as I want to take more time to evaluate how it will impact me (but I’m currently in stage 2 of The Five Stages of VMware Licensing Grief). Here are some quick hits of 2 the new tech that will primarily affect me, small shop in a small EDU:

New vMotion (aka Storage DRS goodness)

svMotion has a new copy mechanism that now allows for migrating storage for guests that have snapshots or have linked clones. A Mirror Drive was also created on the destination datastore that holds all the changes during a copy so when the copy is done, the changes are synced from the Mirror Drives rather than having to make several passes back to the original datastore. This should decrease svMotion times by quite a bit.

Expanding on the amazing DRS feature for VM/host load balancing, storage DRS brings the same capability to storage. Although this is all wrapped up in the new and improved Storage vMotion, it could stand alone as quite the feature. As introduced with vSphere 4.1, if your storage vendor of choice support VAAI (storage acceleration APIs), this all happens on the SAN rather than over the network, bringing joy to your network admins.


Lots of new features here. 

  • 1MB block size – gone are the 1, 2, 4 and 8M block sizes
  • 60TB datastores. Yes, 60. Yes, Terabytes
  • Sub-blocks down to 8k from 64k. Smaller files stay small
  • Speaking of smaller files, files smaller than 1k are now kept in the file descriptor location until they’re bigger than 1k
  • 100,000 file limit up from 30,000
  • ATS (part of the locking feature of VAAI) improvements. Should lend itself to more VMs per datastore

VMFS-3 file systems can be upgrades straight to VMFS-5 while the VMs are still running. VMware is calling this an “online & non-disruptive upgrade operation”.

A couple hold over limitations for a VMFS-5 datastore:

  • 2TB file size limit for a single VMDK and non-passthru RDM drives (passthru RDM can be the full 60TB)
  • Max LUNS is still 256 per host (I personally could never see hitting this, but I’m sure larger implementations can)

More vSphere 5 posts will be coming, but these are the 2 things that got me the most excited.

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