VI 3.5 vs vSphere 4.0

Version 8

    VI 3.5 and vSphere 4.0

    What’s New with VMware vSphere 4 -

    What's New in VMware vSphere 4.0 -

    VMware vSphere Editions Comparison -

    Comparison of product offerings for vSphere 4.0 and VMware Infrastructure 3.X -



    Pro and cons


    VI 3.5 pro

    • Does not require a "new" x64 CPU

    • Support old hardware - See HCL (

    • Less resources for ESX (1 GB vs 2 GB requirement)

    • Less resources for vCenter Server (3 GB vs 3 GB requirement)

    • Free ESXi can be managed by vCenter Server

    • VI 3.5 has the disk hot add feature also in free version (on vSphere you need at least the Advanced version)

    • Lab Manager 3 is supported only on VI 3.5 (but now there is also LM 4)

    • SRM 1 is supported only on VI 3.5 (but now there is also SRM 4)

    • View 3 is supported only on VI 3.5 (but now there is also View 4)

    • 3th part tools may work only on VI 3.5 (but most of them now works also on vSphere)

    • It can use a 2 TB disk (without the 512B limitation)... ok it's bug... it's not a feature - Re: Disks bigger than 2TB - 512B are not supported.

    • Some people have (with ESX 3.x) working RDM LUNs with more than 2 TB, but is not a supported configuration (see:

    • The SCSI-Passthrough  works fine both with SCSI and SAS controllers/devices (the same configuration on vSphere may not work)

    • With the CLI is possible to have a RDM disk of a local storage (, these seems not possible or more difficult with vSphere.


    vSphere pro

    • Faster on CPU, Mem, I/O - See also

    • VMware Fault Tolerance (only with Advanced, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus) - See also VMware FT

    • VMware VMDirectPath I/O - See also VMware VMDirectPath I/O

    • Thin provisioning with GUI (in ESX 3.5 was possible only with CLI) - See also VMDK virtual disk type

    • GUI Storage VMotion (but there was also 3th part GUI for VI 3.5)

    • Each VM can now have up to 8 vCPU (only with Enterprise Plus, for other edition the max is 4 vCPU)

    • More scalability for CPU and RAM - Double resources support (ram, memory, etc.)

    • Lot of network enhanced and a new vmxnet3 vNIC - See also Virtual NIC type

    • New virtual storage adapter - See also Virtual SCSI Adapter type

    • Host profiles (only with Enterprise Plus)

    • vDistributed Network Switches and Cisco Nexus 1000v integration (only with Enterprise Plus) - See also Virtual Switch (vSwitch) vs Distributed Virtual Switch (DVS)

    • vShield Zone  (only with Advanced, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus)

    • VMware Data Recovery (only with Essential Plus, Advanced, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus)

    • Hot pluggable: add/remove devices (disk and network adapter) while VM's online, also hot add for CPU and memery for some supported OS (feature available only with Advanced, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus)

    • Support cloud solution & x64 bit architecture & seperate SC VM (vmdk)

    • Some USB virtualization support (officially only the controller virtualization, unofficially maybe more -



    Performance differences



    Compatibility between products

    You need last version of vSphere Client and vCenter Server to manage old and new products.

    See also: - VMware Infrastructure Compatibility Matrixes

    Other products are now (december 2009) compatible with vSphere and there is a new release of most of them, for example for VMware product: View 4, SRM 4, LM 4, ...



    Downgrade to VI 3.5

    New customers will have only the vSphere licenses.

    To downgrade them to the VI 3.5 version see: - Downgrading a vSphere 4.0 license to a ESX 3.5 license


    Some months ago was possible to evaluate VI 3.5 try to evaluate View 3, you will have also VI 3.5 evaluation licenses. Now I haven't found a simple way to obtain old VI 3.5 trial key, so to download this product you must have valide keys in your account.


    Note that VI 3.0 and 3.5 will follow a Life Cycle Policy and will go out of support in the next years: