If you haven’t heard, vSphere 5 is out and brings a lot of features to VMware virtual environments. While the changes may seem quite staggering, luckily the interface to the vSphere Client is effectively unchanged.

First of all, it will be quite easy for you to run the vSphere Client that came with the general availability of vSphere 5 and still access any vSphere 4 environments. This is critical as there may be staged upgrades and we still may need to support both environments. Figure A shows the vSphere Client after I’ve logged into it:
Figure A

The interface looks entirely familiar, with the only visible difference being how datastores are displayed as being Non-SSD on the properties of a host. The main changes with the interface, of course, come with provisioning objects such as datastores and virtual machines.

Specifically, with provisioning virtual machines, the option to provision a virtual machine at hardware version 4 is removed. The standard hardware version for vSphere 5 is version 8. This is fine for new builds, but we surely will have a mix of version 7 and 8 virtual machines out there for a while. Further, all hardware version 4 virtual machines should be upgraded. I’m not sure of any benefit of retaining them on version 4, and the same goes for any ESX(i) version 3 environments that may still be out there. Figure B shows this important decision in the new virtual machine provisioning process:
Figure B

Another important option with how the virtual machine is provisioned has to do with the virtual processor core and socket assignment. Specifically, it was necessay to tweak the configuration of the virtual machine to deliver a number of sockets and a number of cores within the virtual machine. This is now provisioned directly in the interface, as shown in Figure C:
Figure C

For provisioning storage resources, we have a nice option to format new LUNs as VMFS-3 or VMFS-5. This is important for ensuring you have access for older ESXi systems. VMFS-3 is fully backward- and forward- compatible across ESXi versions and VMFS-3 versions; but this luxury does not exist from VMFS-3 to VMFS-5. VMFS-5 brings a lot of new features, primarily a 16 KB sub-block algorithm, a unified 1 MB block size, and the ability to have LUNs formatted up to 64 TB versus the previous 2 TB limitation. The format screen for a datastore is shown in Figure D from the vSphere Client:
Figure D

The vSphere Client will luckily not throw the current vSphere 4.1 administrators a curve ball, but the new features are there. Do you find the vSphere 5 Client fully straightforward? If not, share your comments below.