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The new VMware vSphere 5.5 increase all configuration maximums to new limits: maybe we can say with no limit, or at least, to be serious, with really huge numbers compared to the actual needs and the existing compunting power.

Those new limits are both for scalability aspect, but also to fit with possible performance requirements, considering that a bigger number of business critical applications are going in the virtual environment.

Note that actually the official docs with Minimum & Maximum of VMware vSphere 5.5 is not yet released.

ESXi 5.5

With a 2x increase from vSphere 5.1! For each ESXi the limits are:

vSphere 4.0 vSphere 4.1 vSphere 5.0 vSphere 5.1 vSphere 5.5
Logical CPU
64 160 160 160 320
Physical RAM
1 TB 1 TB Yes 2 TB 4 TB
NUMA Nodes
8 nodes 8 nodes 16 nodes
Virtual CPU 512 512 2048 2048 4096
Virtual Machines 320 320 512 512 512

Other interesting aspects are:

  • Support for 40Gbps NICs
  • 16Gb E2E (end-to-end) Fibre Channel
  • Enhancements for Low Latency Application Support

New Virtual Machine Virtual Hardware (vHW 10)

For each virtual machines those are the new limits:

vSphere 4.0 vSphere 4.1 vSphere 5.0 vSphere 5.1 vSphere 5.5
Virtual CPU
8 8 32 64 64
Virtual RAM
255 GB 255 GB 1 TB 1 TB 1 TB
Max VMDK size
2 TB – 512 B 2 TB – 512 B 2 TB – 512 B 2 TB – 512 B 62 TB
Virtual SCSI target
60 60 60 60 60
Virtual NICs
10 10 10 10 10

The new VMDK limit is little less than 64TB: around 62TB that is little less than datastore file size limit (anyway remember that usually you have to leave more free space for snapshot, swap file, log, …). Note also that on NFS, it depends on the underlying file system.

vCenter Server 5.5

There are several news in the vCenter Server Appliance with a new scalability of embedded database (vPostgres). It can now support up to 100 vSphere hosts / 3000 virtual machines!

Other vCenter Server Maximums are:

vSphere 4.0 vSphere 4.1 vSphere 5.0 vSphere 5.1 vSphere 5.5
Hosts per vCenter
300 1000 1000 1000 1000
Hosts per datacenter
100 400 500 500 500
Linked vCenter Servers 10 10 10 10 10
Powered on VMs 3000 10000 10000 10000 30000
Registered VMs 4500 15000 15000 15000 50000

For more information see also: Configuration Maximums for VMware vSphere 5.5. If you are curious about old numbers see also: Configuration Maximums for VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3.5 and Virtual Infrastructure 3.0.

Andrea MauroAbout Andrea Mauro (2489 Posts)

Virtualization & Cloud Architect. VMUG IT Co-Founder and board member. VMware VMTN Moderator and vExpert (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). PernixPro 2014. Dell TechCenter Rockstar 2014. MVP 2014. Several certifications including: VCDX-DCV, VCP-DCV/DT/Cloud, VCAP-DCA/DCD/CIA/CID/DTA/DTD, MCSA, MCSE, MCITP, CCA, NPP.


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