VMware Infrastructure 3 Release Notes

ESX Server 3i version 3.5 Installable | 1/10/2008 | Build 70348

VirtualCenter 2.5 | 12/10/2007 | Build 64201

Last Document Update: 03/03/2008

Check frequently for additions and updates to these release notes.

What's in the Release Notes

This version of the release notes covers VMware ESX Server 3i Installable. The release notes cover the following topics:

Recent Updates

ESX Server 3i Installable has been reissued with two important changes:
  • EULA Update—The reissued version of ESX Server 3i Installable incorporates an updated, corrected version of the EULA.
  • Licensing Fix—The reissued version of ESX Server 3i Installable lets you apply appropriate host-based licenses to servers that have more han two CPUs.

What's New

With this release of VMware Infrastructure 3, VMware innovations reinforce three driving factors of virtualization adoption that continue to make VMware Infrastructure the virtualization platform of choice for datacenters of all sizes and across all industries:

Introducing VMware ESX Server 3i

This release introduces VMware ESX Server 3i, the industry's first ultra-thin hypervisor. With this ultra-thin architecture, ESX Server 3i provides unprecedented levels of security, reliability, and manageability.

ESX Server 3i provides all the benefits and features of VMware ESX Server hypervisor including:

  • Increases security with a small, virtualization-centric package that minimizes attack surface area and requires minimal patching
  • Provides full integration with VirtualCenter 2.5
  • Integrates with hardware to ensure compatibility, certification, and optimized configurations
  • Enables standards-based management of the underlying hardware
  • Works in conjunction with VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) to achieve plug-and-play capacity scaling for your datacenter.

ESX Server 3i Installable is supported only on Dell 2950 (full support) and on HP DL380 G5 (experimental support).

Effective Datacenter Management

  • Remote Command Line Interface—Remote Command-line interfaces (Remote CLIs) are available as part of the Remote CLI appliance or as an installable package for Linux or Microsoft Windows.
  • Guided Consolidation—Guided Consolidation, an enhancement to VMware VirtualCenter, guides new virtualization users through the consolidation process in a wizard-based, tutorial-like fashion. Guided Consolidation leverages capacity planning capabilities to discover physical systems and analyze them. Integrated conversion functionality transforms these physical systems into virtual machines and intelligently places them on the most appropriate VMware ESX Server hosts.
  • VMware Converter Enterprise integration—VirtualCenter 2.5 provides support for integrated Physical-to-Virtual (P2V) and Virtual-to-Virtual (V2V) migrations. This supports scheduled and scripted conversions, Microsoft Windows Vista conversions, and restoration of virtual disk images that are backed up using VCB, from within the VI Client.
  • VMware Distributed Power Management (experimental)—VMware DPM reduces power consumption by intelligently balancing a datacenter's workload. VMware DPM, which is part of DRS, automatically powers off servers whose resources are not immediately required and returns power to these servers when the demand for compute resources increases again.
  • Image Customization for 64-bit guest operating systems—Image customization allows administrators to customize the identity and network settings of a virtual machine's guest operating system during virtual machine deployment from templates.
  • Provisioning across datacenters—VirtualCenter 2.5 allows you to provision virtual machines across datacenters. As a result, VMware Infrastructure administrators can now clone a virtual machine on one datacenter to another datacenter.
  • Batch installation of VMware Tools—VirtualCenter 2.5 provides support for batch installations of VMware Tools so that VMware Tools can now be updated for selected groups of virtual machines.
  • Datastore browser—This release of VMware Infrastructure 3 supports file sharing across ESX Server hosts (ESX Server 3.5 or ESX Server 3i) managed by the same VirtualCenter Server.
  • Open Virtual Machine Format (OVF)—The Open Virtual Machine Format (OVF) is a virtual machine distribution format that supports sharing of virtual machines between products and organizations. VMware Infrastructure Client version 2.5 allows you to import and generate virtual machines in OVF format through the File > Virtual Appliance > Import and File > Virtual Appliance > Export menu items.
  • NEW: Lab Manager 2.5.2 Support—ESX Server 3i version 3.5 Installable hosts are not supported in Lab Manager 2.5.2.

Mainframe-Class Reliability and Availability

  • VMware Storage VMotion—Storage VMotion allows IT administrators to minimize service disruption due to planned storage downtime previously incurred for rebalancing or retiring storage arrays. Storage VMotion simplifies array migration and upgrade tasks and reduces I/O bottlenecks by moving virtual machines to the best available storage resource in your environment.
  • VMware Update Manager—Update Manager automates patch and update management for ESX Server hosts and select Microsoft and Linux virtual machines.
  • VMware High Availability enhancements (experimental)—VMware High Availability (VMware HA) provides experimental support for monitoring individual virtual machine failures. VMware HA can now be set up to either restart the failed virtual machine or send a notification to the administrator.

    Support for VMware HA is experimental for ESX Server 3i. For more information on enabling and testing the VMware HA feature with ESX Server 3i, see VMware HA on ESX Server 3i.

  • VMware VMotion with local swap files—VMware Infrastructure 3 now allows swap files to be stored on local storage while still facilitating VMotion migrations for these virtual machines.
  • VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) enhancements—The VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) framework has the following enhancements:

    • iSCSI Storage—The VCB framework now supports backing up of virtual machines directly from iSCSI storage. Previously, the VCB proxy was only supported with Fibre Channel SAN storage.
    • Integration in Converter—VMware Converter has the ability to restore virtual machine image backups created through the VCB framework. Now that Converter is integrated into VirtualCenter 2.5, you can perform image restores directly through the VI Client.

    For details on many improvements and enhancements that this release of Consolidated Backup offers, see the VMware Consolidated Backup 1.1 Release Notes.

Platform for any Operating System, Application, or Hardware

  • Management of up to 200 hosts and 2000 virtual machines—VirtualCenter 2.5 can manage many more hosts and virtual machines than previous releases, scaling the manageability of the virtual datacenter to up to 200 hosts and 2000 virtual machines.
  • Large memory support for both ESX Server hosts and virtual machines—ESX Server 3.5 supports 256GB of physical memory and virtual machines with 64GB of RAM.
  • ESX Server host support for up to 32 logical processors— ESX Server 3.5 fully supports systems with up to 32 logical processors. Systems with up to 64 logical processors are supported experimentally.
  • SATA support—ESX Server 3.5 supports selected SATA devices connected to dual SAS/SATA controllers.
  • 10 Gigabit Ethernet support—Neterion and NetXen 10GigE NIC cards are supported in ESX Server 3.5.
  • N-Port ID Virtualization (NPIV) support—ESX Server 3.5 introduces support for NPIV for Fibre Channel SANs. Each virtual machine can now have its own World Wide Port Name (WWPN).
  • Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP) support—This release of VMware Infrastructure 3 incorporates support for CDP to help IT administrators better troubleshoot and monitor Cisco-based environments from within VirtualCenter 2.5 and the VI Client. CDP allows VMware Infrastructure administrators to know which Cisco switch port is connected to each virtual switch uplink (that is, each physical NIC).
  • NEW: Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) support for virtual machines—ESX Server 3i version 3.5 supports virtual machines configured for IPv6.
  • Paravirtualized guest operating system support with VMI 3.0—ESX Server 3.5 supports paravirtualized guest operating systems that conform to the VMware Virtual Machine Interface (VMI) 3.0. VMI is an open paravirtualization interface developed by VMware in collaboration with the Linux community (VMI was integrated into the mainline Linux kernel in version 2.6.22).
  • Large page size—In ESX Server 3.5, the VMkernel can now allocate 2MB pages to the guest operating system.
  • Enhanced VMXNET—Enhanced VMXNET is the next version of VMware's paravirtualized virtual networking device for guest operating systems. Enhanced VMXNET includes several new networking I/O performance improvements including support for TCP Segmentation Offload (TSO) and jumbo frames.
  • TCP Segmentation Offload (TSO)—TCP Segmentation Offload (TSO) improves networking I/O performance by reducing the CPU overhead involved with sending large amounts of TCP traffic.
  • Jumbo frames—Jumbo frames allow ESX Server 3i to send larger frames out onto the physical network. The network must support jumbo frames (end-to-end) for jumbo frames to be effective.
  • Round-robin load balancing (experimental)—ESX Server 3.5 enhances native load balancing by providing experimental support for round-robin load balancing of HBAs.

Details of What's New and Improved in VMware Infrastructure 3 version 3.5

See the Details of What's New and Improved in VMware Infrastructure 3 version 3.5 page. This page lists improvements to VMware Infrastructure and contains information on planning your migration to this release from previous releases of VMware Infrastructure 3.

Prior Releases of VMware Infrastructure 3

Features and known issues from prior releases of VMware Infrastructure 3, which include VirtualCenter 2.x releases, are described in the release notes for each release. To view release notes for prior releases of VMware Infrastructure 3 components, click one of the following links:

Internationalization Considerations

Components of VMware Infrastructure 3, including VirtualCenter Server, ESX Server, Converter Enterprise, and Update Manager, do not accept non-ASCII input. For more information, see the Internationalization Issues listed in the Known Issues for this release.

Before You Begin

ESX Server, VirtualCenter, and VI Client Compatibility

The ESX Server, VirtualCenter, and VI Client Compatibility Matrixes guide provides details on the compatibility of current and previous versions of VMware Infrastructure 3 components, including ESX Server, VirtualCenter, and the VI Client.


Installation Notes for This Release

See the ESX Server Compatibility Guides before installing this software. It is important to verify that your server, I/O, storage, guest operating system, management agent, and backup software needs are compatible. These guides also address minimum requirements and scaling limits associated with this release.

MODIFIED: To view a guide, click one of the following links:

Read the ESX Server 3i Installable Setup Guide for step-by-step guidance on installing and configuring ESX Server and VirtualCenter.

The following documents can help you with post-installation tasks:

Upgrading or Migrating to VMware Infrastructure 3 version 3.5

This release supports migration of virtual machines from ESX Server 2.x (and later versions including ESX Server 3.0.x) to ESX Server 3i. This release also supports upgrading from VirtualCenter 1.x and later versions (including VirtualCenter 2.0.x) to VirtualCenter 2.5. Review the detailed upgrade and migration instructions and guidelines that are provided in the Upgrade Guide.

Microsoft Cluster Service (MSCS) is not supported in this release of ESX Server 3i.

Lab Manager 2.5.1 does not support ESX Server 3.5.

VMware Infrastructure SDK 2.5

This release of the VMware Infrastructure SDK leverages new features available in ESX Server 3i, ESX Server 3.5, and VirtualCenter 2.5. It can also be used with ESX Server 3.0.x and VirtualCenter 2.0.x. For more information, or to download VI SDK 2.5, see the VMware Infrastructure SDK 2.5 documentation.

Known Issues

For any known issue that has a Knowledge Base article link, you can click the link or use this path to access the article:


Known Issues are grouped as follows:

Installation Issues Upgrade Issues Licensing Issues Networking Issues Storage Issues Backup Issues Server Configuration Issues VirtualCenter and VI Client Issues Virtual Machine Management Issues Migrating with VMotion Issues Guest Operating System Issues Supported Hardware Issues Internationalization Issues Miscellaneous Issues