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[Updated below]

We’re very proud to announce that VMware Infrastructure 3 version 3.5 [warning: sound] is now generally available.

First of all, let’s get this right: the product is named "VMware Infrastructure 3 version 3.5". Not VI3.5 or ‘virtual’ infrastructure anything.

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Mike Laverick has a very nice and comprehensive and administrator-oriented overview What’s Different in VI3 v3.5 (see the Table of Contents at right). Highly recommended. It looks like this will be Appendix C of the new edition of VMware Infrastructure 3: Advanced Technical Design Guide and Advanced Operations Guide.  He concludes:

As
you can see VMware have once again added new functionality to both ESX
and VirtualCenter at no additional “upgrade” cost. Additionally, there
has been some significant finessing of existing features which make the
administration of VI-3.5 easier. The core product remains the same
despite the introduction of DPM [Distributed Power Management], VUM
[VMware Update Manager] and Guided Consolidation.

Gabrie has some first impressions on his experiences

And Bob Plankers is already weighing in with Things I Already Like In ESX 3.5/VC 2.5

  • Round-robin multipath support.
  • NTP configuration via VirtualCenter.
  • Virtual machine MAC address configuration via VirtualCenter.
  • Growing disk files via VirtualCenter.
  • Paravirtualization options, even though it’ll probably be decades before any OS I run takes advantage of it.[0]
  • The fact that you can VMotion between ESX 3.0 and 3.5 so the upgrade process looks almost brainless.[1]

(To be fair, he also has two things he already doesn’t like.)

For further reactions and new tricks as people start to use this release, keep your browser tuned to Planet V12n, VMware Community Blogs, and the New Features in VI3 v3.5 Community.

[Update: rastix @ baeke.info, while admitting that his customers will be interested in Storage VMotion, Update Manager, and integrated Converter, also lists some of the features he likes:

  • Integration of tools like Guided Consolidation and VMware Converter in the VI Client.
  • Image
    customization of 64-bit guests. This is probably still based on the
    sysprep format for Windows Server 2003 and earlier. Remember that Vista
    and Windows Server 2008 use a different format (xml-based).
  • Provisioning across datacenters. In previous versions, you had to have templates in each datacenter.
  • Datastore
    browser that supports file sharing between hosts. You will be able to
    just cut and paste files between ESX hosts. Seems like a basic feature
    to have but in the past you had to do this from the console.
  • Support
    for 256GB of RAM in the ESX host and 64GB of RAM for a guest.
    Interesting but I doubt there will be many customers who need more than
    16GB for a guest. Gotta run the race though. 😉
  • Lockdown mode: the ability to prohibit management of a host when it is already managed by VirtualCenter.
  • Limit the amount of remote console connections.]