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New Storage Enhancements in vSphere 5.1U1

vSphere 5.1 Update 1 is now available. For those of you running 5.1, there are a lot of critical fixes and enhancements, so I’d urge you to review the release notes and consider scheduling a slot to upgrade your infrastructure to this new release. There are updates for both vCenter and ESXi in this release.

Since this is the storage blog, I wanted to call out a few items which are directly relevant to storage and are addressed in 5.1U1, and these are features which I know a number of our customers have been waiting on.

VMFS Heap Changes
This is a well-known issue at this time. This issue is highlighted in great detail in this post. Bottom line – virtual machines may not power on due to VMFS heap exhaustion. In vSphere 5.1U1, we have made the following enhancements:

  1. VMFS heap can grow up to a maximum of 640MB compared to 256MB in earlier release. This is identical to the way that VMFS heap size can grow up to 640MB in a recent patch release (patch 5) for vSphere 5.0. See this earlier post.
  2. Maximum heap size for VMFS in vSphere 5.1U1 is set to 640MB by default for new installations. For upgrades, it may retain the values set before upgrade. In such cases, please set the values manually.
  3. There is also a new heap configuration “VMFS3.MinHeapSizeMB” which allows administrators to  reserve the memory required for the VMFS heap during boot time. Note that “VMFS3.MinHeapSizeMB” cannot be set more than 255MB, but if additional heap is required it can grow up to 640MB. It alleviates the heap consumption issue seen in previous versions, allowing the ~ 60TB of open storage on VMFS-5 volumes per host  to be accessed.

Storage vMotion & Virtual Machine File Rename
In vCenter Server, when you rename a virtual machine in the vSphere Client, the VMDKs (virtual machine disks) are not renamed following a successful Storage vMotion task. This change in behavior has been a big ask from the community and we’re pleased to announce that this behavior is back in the 5.1U1 release. To enable this renaming feature you need to configure the advanced settings in vCenter Server and set the value to the provisioning.relocate.enableRename parameter to true.

vSphere Web Client incorrectly displays WWNN and WWPN values for FC HBAs
When you use the vSphere Web Client to review Fibre Channel adapter characteristics, the Properties tab displayed incorrect values for node World Wide Name (WWNN) and port World Wide Name (WWPN) for some HBAs. The last two digits of the WWNN and WWPN were missing. I reported this issue here and I am glad it is fixed in this update.

vSphere Client Cloning Operation still references original base disk
In vCenter Server, when you clone a virtual machine through vSphere Client or vSphere Web Client, you have the option to edit the hardware of the destination virtual machine. If you choose to edit a disk and adjust its size, the resulting virtual machine will have its disk pointing back to the source virtual machine disk. This will result in the destination virtual machine using the source virtual machine disk. This issue is resolved in this release for 5.1. We had fixed this back in 5.0U2 as per this article by my colleague Duncan.

These are some of the items I have personally discussed with customers, and are issues I am glad to see resolved from a storage perspective. There are lots of other enhancements and addressed issues, so I’d urge you to read the release notes as soon as you can.

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Cormac Hogan

About Cormac Hogan

Cormac Hogan is a senior technical marketing architect within the Cloud Infrastructure Product Marketing group at VMware. He is responsible for storage in general, with a focus on core VMware vSphere storage technologies and virtual storage, including the VMware vSphere® Storage Appliance. He has been in VMware since 2005 and in technical marketing since 2011.

9 thoughts on “New Storage Enhancements in vSphere 5.1U1

  1. Pingback: Monster VMs & ESX(i) Heap Size: Trouble In Storage Paradise » boche.net – VMware vEvangelist

  2. Pingback: Align Datastore Names With VM Names Using Storage vMotion » boche.net – VMware vEvangelist

  3. Dwight Reifsnyder

    Hi Cormac – In the VSA 5.1 Whats New document it refers to the VSA cluster service runnign on a plug computer (specifically guruplug). My Googling finds folks trying to do this but no success, is there any documenation available or suggestions for running the Linux VSA cluster service on a plug computer?

    Thanks..

    Dwight

  4. Pingback: What happens when VMFS heap depletes completely? |

  5. Pingback: ESXi 5.1 VMFS HeapSize configuration using PowerCLI | VCDX56

  6. Pingback: vSphere 5.5 Storage Enhancement Part 6 – Rename Files using SvMotion | CormacHogan.com

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