We noted that several improvements have been made to both online error messages, and VMware's notoriously obtuse docs, as well. That said, VMware's UIs when used by a browser access are difficult and error messages can sometimes be totally missing.
We ascribed part of this to the fact that it was a brand-new release, yet we were occasionally frustrated with web access interaction with the new appliance. We noted that interactions allowed us to scramble ports, and used SSL where that was appropriate. Overall, there was a stronger security feel.
We tested fault tolerance and auto-controlled/manually suggested VM movement. As we launched certain VMs, we forced them into make-work applications to analyze their CPU use. VMware picks up on CPU with a bit more sensitivity, we found, but other behavioral characteristics can force a move, too.
We decided to attack one Linux app with lots of artificial IP traffic. Almost like a waiter moving customers in a restaurant, the VM was moved across to another server on the same VLAN — whose traffic was essentially nil. Downtime was about four seconds or less in our trials.
Advanced storage features
More interesting, however, is how our Dell Compellent SAN resources can be used, and we tested these resources without the soon-to-be-delivered glue software from Dell specifically for VMware vSphere 5. These resources are also potentially expensive to use, depending on needs and the license type chosen:
High Availability, VMotion (move those VMs around), and Data Recovery are in the Standard and Advanced Versions, ranging from $395 to $995 and limited to eight vCPUs/VM.
Add in Virtual Serial Port Connector (a Luddite but useful feature), Hot Add (CPUs, memory, vDisks), vShield Zones (of fault protection), Fault Tolerance (detect, move), Storage APIs for Array Integration, Storage vMotion (move your VMs and/or storage live), and the Distributed Resource Scheduler and Distributed Power Management, and you've hit the vSphere 5 Enterprise License. That's $2,875 per processor and limited to eight vCPUs.
If you go all the way to vSphere Enterprise Plus at $3,495 per processor, you can graduate to 32 vCPUs per VM, and add the aforementioned Distributed Switch, I/O Controls for network and storage, establish Host Profiles and have Profile-Driven Storage, use the Auto Deploy (intelligent and automagic VM launch, and use the Storage Distributed Resource Scheduler (Storage DRS).