It is a only a minor update, but the version jump from 5.1 to 5.5 suggests that there are some important and exciting new features in this release. If you have not yet read one of the detailed lists of new features that many other bloggers have already published then you will find my short "must-know" list helpful to get started.
Must-know new features of vSphere 5.5
- The configuration maximums are pushed to new limits in this release, but the most important limit that was raised is the maximum file size of a virtual disk on VMFS and NFS datastores: It's 62 TB now (was only 2 TB before).
- vSphere Replication 5.5 has been improved to support multiple recovery points (implemented as snapshots) of the replication target.
- The unloved SSO (Single-Sign-On) component was completely rewritten and is supposed to work better now.
- The vision of Software Defined Networking (SDN) shall become reality with NSX, VMware's new network virtualization platform. And it will also support other vendors' hypervisors ...
- With Virtual SAN (or vSAN) VMware is going to pool locally available hard disks and SSDs to a new layer of shared storage. This product is in public beta right now.
- VMware takes GPU virtualization to new levels by enabling live migrations of VMs between hosts that use different vendors' hardware GPUs or even software GPU.
... and more
To get a complete and more detailed overview of improvements I highly recommend reading VMware's official What's new document, Marcel van den Berg's overview of VMworld announcements and Chris Wahl's series of vSphere 5.5 improvements posts.
This post first appeared on the VMware Front Experience Blog and was written by Andreas Peetz. Follow him on Twitter to keep up to date with what he posts.