Four hidden features in vSphere 4.1

VMware vSphere 4.1 is more than a hotfix -- it also rolls in a number of new features, some of which are great timesavers. Read about four areas of improvement for vSphere 4.1.

Each time a release of VMware's vSphere and related technologies come out, the new technologies for the platform are made very clear, but I make it a point to find features that may not be so popular; I also take note of some of the most useful tweaks. Here are four areas of improvement for vSphere 4.1 that will be very useful to virtualization administrators.

Rescan All located in storage section

When new storage is presented to a host, the Rescan All (Figure A) task is required to pull that storage into the host from the storage processor. This will save me countless clicks back to the storage adapters section of the host configuration. Figure A

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Many new Advanced host options

This is consistent with ESXi soon becoming fully feature-on-par with ESX, and there are a slew of new Advanced options for the host configuration. Figure B shows the new sections highlighted on vSphere 4.1 on the left compared to vSphere 4.0 on the right. Figure B

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Use of the Advanced sections of the host configuration should come either at the recommendation of VMware support, a KB article to address a particular issue, or in a lab environment to test a configuration before rolling it into production.

Security Profile options increased

Within the vSphere Client, the new vSphere 4.1 features are available for configuration directly in vCenter. This is in direct correlation with new capabilities of ESXi with 4.1, such as the ability to have the command line interface (tech support mode) transition away from an "unsupported" mechanism. Figure C shows this area of the ESXi host configuration. Figure C

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New window for easy vCenter navigation

One thing that is irritating about the vSphere Client is the frequent context changes. Just as the Rescan All link example saves time, with vSphere 4.1 there is a new option to open certain areas of the vSphere Client in a new window. This can be helpful with multi-monitor situations and any other occasion where you need to verify or compare two elements in the vSphere Client. Figure D shows an example of this new feature. Figure D

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What new feature areas within vSphere 4.1 have caught your eye? Share your comments in the discussion.