VMware

What's New in VMware vSphere 4.0

VMware® is renaming its flagship VMware Infrastructure product to VMware vSphere™. VMware vSphere 4.0 is the next major version of VMware Infrastructure 3.

VMware vSphere™, the industry's first cloud operating system, leverages the power of virtualization to transform datacenters into dramatically simplified cloud-computing infrastructures. With VMware vSphere, IT organizations can use internal and external resources to deliver the next generation of flexible and reliable IT, securely and with low risk.

Building on the proven power of the VMware Infrastructure platform, which is used by more than 130,000 customers, VMware vSphere dramatically reduces capital and operating costs and increases control over delivery of IT services, while preserving the flexibility to choose between any type of operating system, application, and hardware.

The new and enhanced features that vSphere 4.0 offers are listed below and grouped by their main benefits:

Simplified Management

  • vCenter Server 4.0 — vCenter Server 4.0 simplifies management for large environments, improves performance management, reduces storage management costs, and reduces the complexity involved with setup and ongoing management of virtual environments. vCenter Server 4.0 simplifies management for large environments with one-time setup and configuration, search-based navigation, and a single-pane-of-glass view for multiple vCenter Servers. In addition, vCenter Servers can be interconnected in Linked Mode. See vSphere Basic System Administration.
  • Host Profiles — Host profiles simplify host configuration management through user-defined configuration policies. You can use profile policies to eliminate per-host, manual, or UI-based host configuration and efficiently maintain configuration consistency and correctness across the entire datacenter. Host profile policies can capture the blueprint of a known, validated golden configuration and use this to configure networking, storage settings, security settings, and so on for multiple hosts. Host profile policies also monitor compliance to standard host configuration settings across the datacenter. Policies simplify host configuration management in small and large environments, especially in scale-out deployments. See the ESX Configuration Guide and the ESXi Configuration Guide.
  • vCenter Server Linked Mode — vCenter Server systems can be interconnected in Linked Mode, which allows administrators to share roles and licenses across multiple connected vCenter Servers. Administrators can get an overview of their entire inventory by launching a single vSphere Client session. The vSphere Client also supports a granular search interface that searches all objects across multiple vCenter Server systems. See vSphere Basic System Administration.
  • vApps — vApps simplify the deployment and ongoing management of an n-tier application in multiple virtual machines by encapsulating the n-tier application into a single vApp entity. vApps encapsulate not only virtual machines but also their interdependencies and resource allocations, which allows for single-step power operations, cloning, deployment, and monitoring of the entire application. vCenter Server now supports creating and running vApps, as well as importing and exporting them in compliance with Open Virtualization Format (OVF) 1.0 standard. See vSphere Basic System Administration.
  • Centralized Licensing — In vSphere 4.0, license reporting and management are centralized. If you upgrade all of your hosts, you no longer need a license server or host license files. All product and feature licenses are encapsulated in 25-character license keys that you can manage and monitor from vCenter Server 4.0. See the ESX and vCenter Server Installation Guide, the ESXi Installable and vCenter Server Setup Guide, and the ESXi Embedded and vCenter Server Setup Guide.
  • Performance Charts Enhancements — Performance charts are now enhanced to provide a single view of all performance metrics, such as CPU, memory, disk, and network without navigating through multiple charts. In addition, the performance charts include the following improvements:
    • Aggregated charts show high-level summaries of resource distribution, which helps you identify the top consumers.
    • Thumbnail views of virtual machines, hosts, resource pools, clusters, and datastores allow easy navigation to the individual charts.
    • Drill-down capability across multiple levels in the inventory helps you to isolate the root-cause of performance problems quickly.
    • Detailed storage views show usage by file type and point out unused capacity.
    See the Performance Charts Online Help and vSphere Basic System Administration.
  • Events and Alarms Enhancements — Expanded support for vCenter Server alarms on managed entities, such as datastores and clusters, provides better monitoring of infrastructure resources. Low level hardware and host events are now displayed in the vSphere Client to quickly identify and isolate faults. Alarms can now be set to trigger on events and notify you when critical error conditions occur. In addition, alarms are triggered only when they satisfy certain time conditions to minimize the number of false triggers. See vSphere Basic System Administration.
  • Enhanced ESX Error Reporting — vSphere 4.0 gives you the ability to report per-host network, storage and VMFS issues to the vSphere Client in the Events tab. Each error event also provides a link to a specific Knowledge Base article that explains the event and provides detailed remediation steps to resolve the error. vSphere 4.0 also has the ability to set specific alarms for such events, with the help of the Events and Alarms feature. See vSphere Basic System Administration.
  • Virtual Machine Performance Counters Integration into Perfmon — vSphere 4.0 introduces the integration of virtual machine performance counters such as CPU and memory into Perfmon for Microsoft Windows guest operating systems when VMware Tools is installed. With this feature, virtual machine owners can do accurate performance analysis within the guest operating system. See the vSphere Client Online Help.
  • Granular Permissions for Network and Datastores — vCenter Server 4.0 supports permissions at the datastore and network level. Administrators can grant or deny access to a datastore or network for a specific set of users. See vSphere Basic System Administration.
  • Storage Awareness Enhancements — VMware gives you increased visibility into vSphere 4.0 interaction with shared storage through customizable reports and topology maps. This release provides control over environment space usage by using per-virtual machine, per-datastore, and other reports. You can examine physical configuration issues using topology maps in the Storage view tab of vSphere Client. See vSphere Basic System Administration.
  • Centralized Datastore Management — Using the Datastores view in the vSphere Client, you can now create, configure, and secure datastores, as well as use folders to manage them as organizational structures. See the ESX Configuration Guide, the ESXi Configuration Guide, and vSphere Basic System Administration.
  • vSphere Command-Line Interface — The vSphere Command-Line Interface (vSphere CLI) included with this release can be used with ESX/ESXi and vCenter Server 4.0 systems and can also be used with ESX/ESXi versions 3.5 Update 2 and later. The vSphere CLI has a significant number of new commands, including vicfg-dns, vicfg-ntp, vicfg-user, vmware-cmd, and vicfg-iscsi. See the vSphere CLI product page for more information on the vSphere CLI.
  • vSphere Management Assistant — The vSphere Management Assistant (vMA) is a virtual machine which includes vSphere Command-Line Interface and other prepackaged software that developers and administrators can use to run agents and scripts to manage ESX and ESXi systems. Functions of vMA include noninteractive login, which allows you to use vSphere CLI without entering passwords on command lines and to collect log files from ESX and ESXi servers. See the vMA home page for more information on vMA.
  • vSphere Host Update Utility — Upgrade ESX hosts (versions 3.0 and later) to ESX 4.0 remotely by using the vSphere Host Update Utility. The intuitive user interface provides real-time status of a remote upgrade and allows you to specify custom post-upgrade scripts. New features include rollbacks after failed upgrades (under supported scenarios). This rollback feature allows you to easily manage smaller environments. See the vSphere Upgrade Guide.
  • Resource Usage Statistics — vCenter Server now displays detailed CPU and memory usage statistics at both the virtual machine and resource pool aggregation levels in a cluster. Statistics include CPU usage and demand, and private, shared, ballooned, and swapped memory usage breakdown. See the vSphere Resource Management Guide.
  • Guided Consolidation Enhancements — The Guided Consolidation service is now a modular plug-in to vCenter Server. This service can be installed on a different system than vCenter Server, allowing vCenter Server to perform optimally with lower overheads around consolidation operations. Guided Consolidation is also able to discover and analyze systems that run non-English versions of Windows. Guided Consolidation can concurrently analyze and make consolidation recommendations for up to 100 physical machines at a given time. See vSphere Basic System Administration.
  • Service Management of vCenter Server Components and Plug-ins — vCenter Server features a service management console that displays the health of the components of vCenter Server and its associated extensions. Based on the health status, administrators can quickly identify and correct failures in the management infrastructure. See vSphere Basic System Administration.
  • Automation and Orchestration with vCenter Orchestrator — vCenter Orchestrator is a powerful workflow engine that automates tasks for VMware vSphere and allows orchestration between multiple solutions. With VMware vCenter Orchestrator, you can capture best practices and turn them into workflows. This process ensures consistency, standardization, and achieve overall compliance with existing IT policies. vCenter Orchestrator provides a library of extensible workflows that allow you to create and execute automated, configurable processes to manage your infrastructure. Orchestrator exposes every operation in the vCenter Server API, so that you can integrate all these operations into your automated processes. Orchestrator also allows you to integrate with other management and administration solutions through its open plug-in architecture. See the VMware vCenter Orchestrator 4.0 Release Notes.

Application Services

Availability

  • Fault Tolerance — VMware Fault Tolerance (FT) provides zero downtime and zero data loss availability for all virtual machines during server hardware failures. Enabling FT for a specific virtual machine allows a secondary copy of that virtual machine to run in lockstep synchronization on another ESX host. This setup allows instantaneous, stateful failover between the two virtual machines, and eliminates disruption due to hardware failures on either host. See the vSphere Availability Guide.
  • Storage VMotion Enhancements — Storage VMotion can now be administered through vCenter Server and works across NFS, Fibre Channel, and iSCSI storage networking protocols. Resource consumption is minimized as Storage VMotion significantly diminishes memory and CPU requirements while taking advantage of a new and more efficient block copy mechanism in VMkernel. Virtual disk formats can also be converted during a Storage VMotion session. An example migration between datastores can convert thick formats to thin virtual disk format. Storage VMotion of virtual machines that are running in snapshot mode is not supported in this release. Snapshots must be committed prior to executing the Storage VMotion session. See vSphere Basic System Administration.
  • VMware Data Recovery — VMware Data Recovery is the first line of defense for protecting your virtual environment. VMware Data Recovery is fully integrated with VMware vCenter Server to enable centralized and efficient management of backup jobs. VMware Data Recovery leverages virtual machine snapshots to make a precise copy in a short amount of time, and it includes data deduplication to save on disk storage that is consumed by backups. The product makes efficient use of ever-decreasing backup windows, while leveraging the performance and cost efficiencies of disk based storage and data deduplication. See the VMware Data Recovery Administrator's Guide.
  • Enhanced VMotion Compatibility — Enhanced VMotion Compatibility (EVC) automatically configures servers whose CPUs feature Intel FlexMigration and AMD-V Extended Migration technologies to be VMotion-compatible with servers that use older CPUs. See vSphere Basic System Administration.
  • VMware HA Improved Admission Control — Admission Control is improved to provide more flexible configuration options to reserve failover capacity. See the vSphere Availability Guide.
  • VMware HA Maintenance Mode — VMware HA now supports Maintenance mode that suspends failover actions during maintenance operations. See the vSphere Availability Guide.
  • High Availability Clustering with Windows Server 2000, 2003, 2008 — vSphere 4.0 supports Microsoft Cluster Service (MSCS) with Windows 2000 and Windows 2003, and Failover Clustering for Windows 2008. Clustering is supported with both 32-bit and 64-bit guests. Boot from SAN virtual machines is supported as well. Majority Node Set clusters with application-level replication (for example, Exchange 2007 Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR)) are now supported. For details regarding MSCS support, including important restrictions, see Setup for Failover Clustering and Microsoft Cluster Service. For information concerning supported storage arrays, see the vSphere Compatibility Matrixes.

Security

  • VMware vShield Zones — vShield Zones enhances the privacy and confidentiality of virtual machines and their data. VMware vShield Zones enables customers to monitor and enforce network access to sensitive areas of the virtual datacenter, including the DMZ, or to servers with sensitive data that is subject to regulations such as PCI or SOX compliance. Administrators can securely bridge, firewall or isolate traffic across logical trust or organizational boundaries within existing vCenter Server deployments, while still leveraging the flexibility and availability of sharing resource computing pools. You can install this product from the additional DVD/ISO that ships with vSphere 4.0. See the VMware vShield Zones documentation.
  • VMware VMsafe — VMware VMsafe is a new technology that leverages the properties of vSphere to protect virtual machines in ways previously not possible with physical machines. VMware VMsafe provides an application program interface (API)-sharing program that allows partners to develop VMware-aware security products. The VMsafe Security API gives security vendors the insight to leverage the inherent properties of virtualization in their security offerings.
  • VMkernel Protection — As part of ongoing efforts to protect the hypervisor from common attacks and exploits, mechanisms were introduced to assure the integrity of the VMkernel and loaded modules as they reside on disk and in memory. Disk-integrity techniques protect the boot-up of the hypervisor using the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), a hardware device embedded in servers. To ensure the authenticity and integrity of dynamically loaded code, VMkernel modules are digitally signed and validated during load-time. These disk integrity mechanisms protect against malware, which might attempt to overwrite or modify VMkernel as it persists on disk. VMkernel also uses memory integrity techniques at load-time coupled with microprocessor capabilities to protect itself from common buffer-overflow attacks that are used to exploit running code. These techniques create a stronger barrier of protection around the hypervisor. See the ESX Configuration Guide and the ESXi Configuration Guide.

Scalability

  • Virtual Machine Hot Add Support— The new virtual hardware introduced in ESX/ESXi 4.0 supports hot plug for virtual devices and supports addition of virtual CPUs and memory to a virtual machine without powering off the virtual machine. See the VMware Compatibilility Guide for the list of operating systems for which this functionality is supported.
  • 8-way Virtual SMP — ESX/ESXi 4.0 supports virtual machines with up to eight virtual CPUs allowing you to run larger CPU-intensive workloads on the VMware ESX platform. You can also assign any integer number of virtual CPUs between one and eight to a virtual machine. See the Guest Operating System Installation Guide for the guest operating systems that fully support SMP.
  • 255GB RAM — Up to 255GB RAM can be assigned to ESX/ESXi 4.0 virtual machines. See vSphere Basic System Administration.
  • New Virtual Hardware — ESX/ESXi 4.0 introduces a new generation of virtual hardware (virtual machine hardware version 7), which adds significant new features including:
    • New storage virtual devices
      • Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) virtual devices — Provides support for running Windows Server 2008 Failover Clustering configurations.
      • IDE virtual device — Ideal for supporting older operating systems that lack SCSI drivers.
    • VMXNET Generation 3 — See the vNetwork section of this feature list.
    • Hot plug support for virtual devices and hot add support for memory and virtual CPUs
    Hardware version 7 is the default for new ESX/ESXi 4.0 virtual machines. ESX/ESXi 4.0 will continue to run virtual machines created on hosts running ESX Server versions 2.x and 3.x. Virtual machines that use virtual hardware version 7 features are not compatible with ESX/ESXi releases prior to version 4.0. See vSphere Basic System Administration.
  • VMDirectPath for Virtual Machines — VMDirectPath I/O device access enhances CPU efficiency in handling workloads that require constant and frequent access to I/O devices by allowing virtual machines to directly access the physical hardware devices. Other virtualization features, such as VMotion, hardware independence and sharing of physical I/O devices will not be available to the virtual machines that use this feature. VMDirectPath I/O for networking I/O devices is fully supported with the Intel 82598 10 Gigabit Ethernet Controller and Broadcom 57710 and 57711 10 Gigabit Ethernet Controller. This feature is experimentally supported for storage I/O devices with the QLogic QLA25xx 8Gb Fibre Channel, the Emulex LPe12000 8Gb Fibre Channel, and the LSI 3442e-R and 3801e (1068-chip based) 3Gb SAS adapters. See the ESX Configuration Guide and the ESXi Configuration Guide.

Infrastructure Services

vCompute

  • 1TB Host Memory — ESX/ESXi 4.0 supports systems with up to 1TB of RAM. See the vSphere Compatibility Matrixes for a list of systems for which 1TB host memory is supported.
  • 64 Logical CPUs and 320 Virtual Machines (with a total of up to 512 Virtual CPUs) Per Host — ESX/ESXi 4.0 provides headroom for more virtual machines per host and the ability to achieve even higher consolidation ratios on larger machines. See the Configuration Maximums for VMware vSphere 4.0.
  • 64-bit VMkernel — The VMkernel, a core component of the ESX/ESXi 4.0 hypervisor, is now 64-bit. This feature provides greater host physical memory capacity, enhanced performance, and more seamless hardware support than earlier releases. See the vSphere Resource Management Guide.
  • 64-bit Service Console — The Linux-based Service Console for ESX 4.0 is now 64-bit. The new Service Console version is derived from a recent release of a leading Enterprise Linux vendor. See the vSphere Resource Management Guide.
  • Power Management — ESX/ESXi 4.0 supports Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® and Enhanced AMD PowerNow! CPU power management technologies. With dynamic voltage and frequency scaling (DVFS), ESX/ESXi can save power consumed by ESX hosts when they are not operating at maximum capacity. See the vSphere Resource Management Guide.
  • DPM Full Support with IPMI and iLO Remote Power On — IPMI and iLO are now added as DPM remote power-on mechanisms as alternatives to Wake on LAN. DPM used with IPMI, iLO or Wake on LAN is now fully supported in DRS clusters that have been tested and configured in accordance with VMware guidelines. For more information on IPMI, iLO, and these guidelines, see the vSphere Resource Management Guide.

vStorage

  • Virtual Disk Thin Provisioning — VMware thin provisioning enables virtual machines to utilize storage space on an as-needed basis, further increasing utilization of storage for virtual environments. vCenter Server 4.0 enables alerts and provides alarms and reports that specifically track allocation and current usage of storage capacity to allow administrators to optimize the allocation of storage for virtual environments. Thin provisioning allows users to safely optimize available storage space by using over-allocation and to reduce the storage costs for virtual environments. See the ESX Configuration Guide and the ESXi Configuration Guide.
  • VMware Paravirtualized SCSI (PVSCSI) — Paravirtualized SCSI adapters are high-performance storage adapters that offer greater throughput and lower CPU utilization for virtual machines. These adapters are best suited for environments in which guest applications are very I/O intensive. VMware recommends that you create a primary adapter for use with a disk that hosts the system software (boot disk) and a separate PVSCSI adapter for the disk that stores user data, such as a database. The primary adapter is the default for the guest operating system on the virtual machine. For example, for virtual machines with Microsoft Windows 2008 guest operating systems, LSI Logic is the default primary adapter. See vSphere Basic System Administration.
  • vStorage VMFS Volume Grow — vCenter Server 4.0 allows dynamic expansion of a VMFS volume extent to add capacity to an existing datastore. VMFS Volume Grow is a new method for expanding a datastore without disrupting running virtual machines. After a LUN that backs that datastore is expanded through an array management utility, the administrator can use VMFS Volume Grow to expand the VMFS extent on the expanded LUN. The newly available space appears as a larger VMFS volume (datastore) along with an associated grow event in vCenter Server systems. See the ESX Configuration Guide and the ESXi Configuration Guide.
  • Pluggable Storage Architecture — The Pluggable Storage Architecture (PSA) is an open modular framework that enables third-party storage multipathing solutions for workload balancing and high availability. You can use the vSphere CLI or vCenter Server to manage paths controlled by the default Native Multipathing. If array-specific functionality is required, a third-party plug-in using the vStorage API for Multipathing can be configured using the vSphere CLI. See the Fibre Channel SAN Configuration Guide or the iSCSI SAN Configuration Guide.
  • Hot Extend for Virtual Disks This feature is supported for VMDK files on VMFS only (Hot Extend is not supported on NFS). The VMDK should be flat, with no raw device mapping (RDM), no linked clones and no snapshots. Used in conjunction with the new Volume Grow capability, the user has maximum flexibility in managing growing capacity in vSphere 4.0. See the ESX Configuration Guide and the ESXi Configuration Guide.
  • Storage Stack Performance and Scalability — The combination of the new in-guest virtualization-optimized SCSI driver and additional ESX kernel-level storage stack optimizations dramatically improves storage I/O performance, making even the most I/O-intensive applications, such as databases and messaging applications. prime candidates for virtualization. See the ESX Configuration Guide and the ESXi Configuration Guide.
  • Software iSCSI and NFS Support with Jumbo Frames — vSphere 4.0 adds support for Jumbo Frames with both NFS and iSCSI on 1Gb and 10Gb NICs. See the iSCSI SAN Configuration Guide.
  • Fibre Channel over Ethernet — vSphere 4.0 extends the number of I/O consolidation options available to VMware customers by adding Fibre Channel over Ethernet support on Converged Network Adapters (CNAs). For a list of supported Fibre Channel over Ethernet CNAs with vSphere 4.0, please see the IO Devices tab in the Hardware Compatibility Guide.
  • Managing VMFS Volumes with Array-based LUN Snapshots — The mounting of array-based LUN snapshots (and array-based LUN clones) now occurs easily and in a well-managed way in vSphere 4.0. Such LUNs are now automatically discovered after a storage rescan and single snapshots (or single clones) may be selected for mounting and use by the ESX host. To mount a snapshot (clone), however, it must be writeable. VMFS must write a new unique identifier, or a new VMFS volume signature, to the snapshot or clone to safely mount it in the same farm as the original LUN. For disaster recovery scenarios, in which the replicated volume is not in the same farm, LUNs can be mounted without writing a new signature. See the Fibre Channel SAN Configuration Guide or the iSCSI SAN Configuration Guide.
  • iSCSI Support Improvements — Updates to the iSCSI stack offer improvements to both software iSCSI (the iSCSI initiator runs at the ESX layer) and hardware iSCSI (ESX leverages a hardware-optimized iSCSI HBA), resulting in a dramatic improvement of both performance and functionality of both software and hardware iSCSI and delivering significant reduction of CPU overhead for software iSCSI. See the Fibre Channel SAN Configuration Guide.
  • Increased NFS Datastore Support — ESX now supports up to 64 NFS shares as datastores in a cluster.

vNetwork

  • vNetwork Distributed Switch — The next generation virtual networking management solution from VMware. The vNetwork Distributed Switch (vDS) spans many ESX/ESXi hosts enabling customers to significantly reduce ongoing network maintenance activities and quickly scale up networking capacity. vNetwork embeds new network VMotion technology and associated set of APIs that further enables partners to build rich, VMotion-aware networking applications on top of vSphere 4.0. vNetwork also includes these enhancements:
    • Private VLAN Support — Private VLAN support enables broader compatibility with existing networking environments that deploy Private VLAN technology. Private VLANs enable users to restrict communication between virtual machine on the same network segment, significantly reducing the number of subnets required for certain network setups.
    • Network VMotion — vDS enables tracking of the networking state of a virtual machine as it moves around in the virtual infrastructure, greatly simplifying network monitoring and troubleshooting activities.
    • 3rd Party Distributed Switch Support — The vNetwork Distributed Switch (vDS) includes support for third-party distributed virtual switches.
    See the ESX Configuration Guide and the ESXi Configuration Guide.
  • VMXNET Generation 3 — VMXNET3 is the third generation paravirtualized NIC from VMware. VMXNET3 includes these new features not found in Enhanced VMXNET:
    • MSI/MSI-X support (subject to guest operating system kernel support)
    • Receive Side Scaling (supported in Windows 2008 when explicitly enabled through the device's Advanced configuration tab)
    • IPv6 checksum and TCP Segmentation Offloading (TSO) over IPv6
    • VLAN off-loading
    • Large TX/RX ring sizes (configured from within the virtual machine)
    See the ESX Configuration Guide and the ESXi Configuration Guide.
  • IPv6 Support — vSphere 4.0 adds support for IPv6 for the ESX/ESXi VMkernel, service console, and vCenter Server. New IPv6 support enables vSphere customers to manage ESX and ESXi hosts through vCenter Server in mixed IPv4/IPv6 environments. Network storage support (iSCSI and NFS) over IPv6 is experimental. For more information on IPv6 capabilities in vSphere 4.0, see the ESX Configuration Guide and the ESXi Configuration Guide.

Compatibility and Third-Party Extensibilty

  • Additional Guest Operating System Support — ESX/ESXi 4.0 adds support for guest operating systems not previously supported on the ESX platform. Support is added for the following guest operating systems:
    • Asianux 3.0 Server
    • CentOS 4
    • Debian 4
    • Debian 5
    • FreeBSD 6
    • FreeBSD 7
    • OS/2 4, 4.5
    • MS-DOS 6.22
    • Windows 3.1
    • Windows 95
    • Windows 98
    • Windows 7 (experimental)
    • Windows Server 2008 R2 (experimental)
    • Windows Preinstallation Environment 2.1
    • SCO OpenServer 5
    • SCO UnixWare 7
    • Solaris 8 (experimental)
    • Solaris 9 (experimental)
    See the Guest Operating System Installation Guide.
  • Guest Operating System Customization Improvements — vCenter Server now supports the ability to customize the following new guest OS platforms:
    • Windows Server 2008 (32-bit and 64-bit)
    • Ubuntu 8.04
    • Debian 4.0
    In addition, administrators can now customize time-zone information for Linux guests. See vSphere Basic System Administration.
  • 3rd Party Distributed Switch Support — The vNetwork Distributed Switch (vDS) includes support for 3rd party distributed virtual switches. For more information on 3rd party distributed virtual switches, please visit the documentation page for Cisco Systems, Inc. at http://www.cisco.com/go/1000v.
  • vStorage APIs for Multipathing — A framework for storage partner multipathing plug-ins that is integrated with the standard VMware Ready HCL certification program. The vStorage APIs for Multipathing provide an I/O multipathing framework that allows storage partners to create Multipathing Extensions Modules that plug in to VMware ESX/ESXi to deliver storage path failover and storage I/O throughput optimized for partners' storage arrays. Through the VMware Ready certification program storage partners certify their Multipathing Extensions Modules for support with VMware ESX/ESXi.
  • Native SATA — ESX/ESXi 4.0 further increases storage choices for customers by providing support for internal SATA disks that are connected through the SATA interface. This choice allows administrators to reduce storage costs by supporting the lowest cost type of disk storage available. See the ESX Configuration Guide and the ESXi Configuration Guide.
  • Additional vCenter Server and vSphere Client Platforms — The vCenter Server and vSphere Client support additional platforms in this release.

    vCenter Server 4.0 adds support for the following databases in this release:
    • Microsoft SQL Server 2008
    • Oracle 11g
    vCenter Server 4.0 is supported on the following additional operating systems:
    • Microsoft Windows 2003 (x64) in 32-bit compatibility mode
    • Microsoft Windows 2008 (x64) in 32-bit compatibility mode
    • Microsoft Windows 2008 (x32)
    With this release, vSphere Client 4.0 is supported on the following additional operating systems:
    • Microsoft Windows 2003 (x64) in 32-bit compatibility mode
    • Microsoft Windows 2008 (x64) in 32-bit compatibility mode
    • Microsoft Windows 2008 (x32)
    • Windows Vista (x32 and x64)
    Review the vSphere Compatibility Matrixes for further details on the exact editions and architectures.
  • Virtual Machine Communication Interface (VMCI) — ESX/ESXi 4.0 introduces a new virtual device which facilitates high-speed communication between the virtual machine and the hypervisor, as well as between virtual machines that reside on the same host. VMCI does not rely on guest networking. The VMCI Sockets library provides a convenient interface for using this device. See the VMCI landing page.
  • Virtual Machine Communication Interface Sockets API — VMCI Sockets is a convenience Application Programming Interface (API) for the Virtual Machine Communication Interface (VMCI) which provides fast communication between a virtual machine and the hypervisor as well as between virtual machines. See the VMCI landing page.
  • CIM SMASH/Server Management API — VMware hypervisors implement the industry-standard Common Information Model (CIM) interface to monitor and manage the health of server hardware. The implementation is based on the System Management Architecture for Server Hardware (SMASH) profiles defined by DMTF. This interface is supported on ESX/ESXi 4.0. See the VMware CIM APIs documentation page for more information.
  • CIM Storage Management API — VMware implements the industry-standard Common Information Model (CIM) interface to monitor datacenter storage resources. The implementation is based on the Storage Management Initiative-Specification (SMI-S) defined by SNIA. This interface is supported on ESX/ESXi and vCenter Server 4.0 when the corresponding hardware vendor supports CIM agents. See the VMware CIM APIs documentation page for more information.