May 21th VMware released their new flagship product VMware vSphere 4 which should bring us tons of new features and performance improvements.

But how is the vSphere experience almost 9 months later?

Starting with the installation and setup experience, my personal experience with vSphere is very good. During the installation and setup of VMware ESX or ESXi 3.x I experienced a lot of issues like BIOS settings causing HA issues, HA issues when changing the ESX IP addresses, Problems with VMware Update Manager and faulty HP USB sticks. We even created a HA checklist for you to easily address HA issues.

Once up and running ESX(i) 3.x ran fine with the occasional HA error which 99% of the time could be fixed by reconfiguring HA from Virtual Center.

Now with vSphere the installation and setup is simple, error free and straight forward. Setup HA in the cluster properties wait for all progress indicators to reach 100% and you’re done.

Configure one server as a host profile template, apply the template to all other ESX hosts and the configuration is done. Install and configure VMware Update Manager and download and install the patches and you are ready to rock! Simple as that.

But not all installations are fresh installs, for these updates VMware created a great update scenario. I really like the VMware Update/Upgrade Manager vSphere upgrade scenario.

Another big improvement is the performance. In the past we have had various problems with performance especially with Citrix XenApp servers on ESX.

Now with vSphere this is much easier because the base out-of-the-box performance of vSphere is very very good. With some tweaking the performance is much better then with ESX 3.x, especially with iSCSI storage solutions the performance improvement is huge.

One of the big new features I don’t use very often is Distributed switches. Why? I use a standard vSwitch for iSCSI connections because the multi-vmkernel setup which I got from Chad Sakac is not supported on distributed switches. Most of the time Management also gets a standard vSwitch because Distributed switches cannot be changed when vCenter is unavailable (best practice I picked up in the community). So I still don’t see the real value of DvSwitches or the Nexus 1000V for that matter.

So my overall opinion is very very positive but there are some new features which haven’t presented a real use case yet. I’m very anxious what your opinion is on VMware vSphere, 9 months after launch. Please share and maybe fill a wish list for things to come in vSphere 4.1.