Capabilities of vSphere VMs Using Hardware Version 7

Posted: June 29, 2010 in VMware

The last part of Upgrading VMware VI 3.X to vSphere 4 involves upgrading the individual virtual machine (VM) VM tools and virtual hardware. Although guests can still run hosted on ESX 4 if the virtual hardware is not upgraded, there are some great features of Hardware version 7 (v7) that are worth the reboots required.

This post is a summary of my notes and various cut and pastes from several VMware vSphere presentations and documents. I’ve tried to organize them to where the content can be read in a logical flow. I’ve directly copied a lot of this information from the What’s New in vSphere 4.0 VMTN community document, so I’ll just recognize VMware as the provider of this information. Check out the whole document for features and maximums of vCenter and ESX 4 as well.

This VMware slide shows all the configuration maximums for vSphere 4 VMs using v7 hardware.

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From the VMTN community document:

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.

Virtual Machine Scalability and Functionality

New Virtual Hardware — ESX/ESXi 4.0 introduces a new generation of virtual hardware (virtual hardware version 7) which adds significant new features including:

  • New storage virtual devices:
    • Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) virtual device for Microsfot Cluster Service — Provides support for running Windows Server 2008 in a Microsoft Cluster Service configuration.
    • IDE virtual device — Ideal for supporting older operating systems that lack SCSI drivers.
  • VMXNET Generation 3 — VMXNET3 is the third generation para-virtualized NIC from VMware. New VMXNET3 features over previous version of Enhanced VMXNET include:
    • 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)
  • 8-way Virtual SMP — ESX/ESXi 4.0 provides support for virtual machines with up to 8 virtual CPUs allowing larger CPU-intensive workloads to be run on the VMware ESX platform. It is also possible to assign any integer number of virtual CPUs between 1 and 8 to a VM. See the Guest Operating System Installation Guide for a list of guest operating systems that support 8-way SMP.
  • 256GB RAM — Up to 256GB RAM can be assigned to ESX/ESXi 4.0 virtual machines.
  • 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. ESX/ESXi 4.0 adds additional flexibility when configuring EVC clusters over earlier ESX releases that have EVC support.
  • Virtual Machine Hot Plug Support— The new virtual hardware introduced in ESX/ESXi 4.0 provides support for adding and removing virtual devices, adding virtual CPUs, and adding memory to a virtual machine without having to power off the virtual machine. See the Guest Operating System Installation Guide for the list of operating systems for which this functionality is supported.

The following slides illustrate information about the configurations necessary to hot add virtual hardware.

Ref :

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