Compare vSphere Features and Capabilities across Releases

If you’re not on the latest version of vSphere, see which features have changed with each version.

Comparing vSphere 5.x Releases

The following table highlights the new features/capabilities provided with each 5.x release.

  VMware vSphere 5.0 VMware vSphere 5.1 VMware vSphere 5.5
ESXi
  • Compatibility 5.0 (aka Virtual Hardware 8)
    • 32 vCPUs / 1TB RAM
    • Software based 3D graphics
    • USB 3.0 and EFI BIOS Support
  • Swap to SSD
  • Unified CLI (ESXCLI)
  • ESXi Shell and ESXi Firewall
  • vSphere Auto Deploy
  • Image Builder CLI

 

  • Compatibility 5.1 (Virtual Hardware 9)
    • 64 vCPUs / 1TB RAM
    • Hardware based 3D graphics
    • Hardware Assisted Virtualization
    • Virtualized CPU Performance Counters
  • Assign Full Admin Privileges to Named Users
  • Auto Deploy Stateless Caching and Stateful Installs

 

  • Compatibility 5.5 (Virtual Hardware 10)
    • Improved 3D graphics Support
    • AHCI Controller Support
  • Host Configuration Maximums Doubled for CPU, Memory, NUMA Nodes, and vCPU
  • Support for Hot-Pluggable PCI-e SSD
  • Support for CPU C-States
  • Reliable Memory Technology

 

vCenter Server

  • Web Client Technology
  • vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA)
  • vCenter Heartbeat Enhancements

 

  • vCenter Single Sign-On
  • Inventory Service Tagging
  • New vSphere Web Client
  • Ability to vMotion with out Shared Storage
  • Database Performance Improvements

 

  • Single Sign-On
    • Improved Architecture
    • Native Active Directory Support
  • vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA)
    • 300 hosts/1000 VM with embedded DB
  • vSphere App HA

 

Storage

  • VMFS 5
  • Storage DRS
  • Profile Driven Storage
  • vSphere APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA)
  • Enhanced VAAI Primitives:
    • Enhanced T10 Compliancy
    • Thin provisioned storage arrays
    • Hardware acceleration on NAS
  • Storage I/O Control (SIOC) compatibility with NFS
  • Storage vMotion support for snapshots and linked clones
  • Support for Software FCoE Driver
  • vSphere Replication (SRM only)

 

  • VMFS 5 File Share Limit increased to 32
  • Space Efficient Sparse Virtual Disks (SE Sparse)
  • All Paths Down (APD) and Permanent Device Loss (PDL) handling
  • Boot from software FCoE
  • Support for iSCSI Jumbo Frames
  • VAAI NAS Linked Clone Support
  • SIOC “Stats Only” Mode
  • Storage DRS Linked Clone support and Datastore Correlation
  • Up to 4 Parallel Storage vMotion Operations
  • SSD Monitoring with Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting (SMART)
  • vSphere Replication

 

  • 62TB VMDK
  • 16Gbps End-to-End FC Support
  • PDL Auto Remove
  • Improved VAAI UNMAP (now with ESXCLI)
  • VMFS Heap Improvements
  • vFlash Read Cache (VFRC)
  • MSFT Clustering support for FCoE and iSCSI
  • Rename VM files on Storage vMotion
  • vSphere Replication, Storage vMotion and Storage DRS interoperability
  • Compatible with Virtual SAN (VSAN)
  • vSphere Replication
    • Multi-site topology
    • Storage vMotion Support
    • Multiple Point-In-Time (MTIP) snapshots

 

Network

  • Netflow
  • PortMirror
  • Network I/O Control (NIOC) Enhancements:
    • User Defined Network Resource Pools
    • vSphere Replication Traffic Type
    • Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) support
    • IEEE 802.1p Tagging
  • Virtual Distributed Switch (VDS)
    Network Health check, Config
    Backup and Restore and
    Management Network Rollback
    and Recovery
  • Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) Support
  • New Bridge Protocol Data Unit (BPDU) Filter
  • Port Mirroring (RSPAN / ERSPAN)
  • NetFlow version 10
    • Single Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV)
  • Improved LACP Support
    • Up to 64 LAGs
    • 32 Hashing Algorithms
    • Improved Workflows
  • Traffic Filtering (Port Group Level)
    • Filter on MAC, Type, or Protocol
    • Filter both Ingress and Egress
  • Differentiated Service code Point (DSCP) Tagging
  • SR-IOV
    • Communicate Port Group Properties
  • Host-Level Packet Capture Tool (tcpdump)
    • 40Gb NIC Support