Exploring VMware vSphere 8 Update 3: Detailed Overview

VMware has released vSphere 8 Update 3, introducing significant enhancements aimed at improving lifecycle management, hardware compatibility, security, and workload efficiency. Here’s an in-depth look at the new features and updates in this version.

Lifecycle Management Enhancements

Reduced Downtime for vCenter Updates

This update includes improved processes for updating vCenter with minimal downtime, supporting comprehensive topologies and automating the switchover phase, thus reducing operational interruptions.

Enhanced vSphere Lifecycle Manager

The Lifecycle Manager now supports live patching for critical virtual machine bugs without requiring reboots. It allows for advanced image customization, including retaining specific drivers within vendor addon bundles, and supports dual Data Processing Unit (DPU) configurations, ensuring robust hardware compatibility and performance.

Live Patching for ESXi

A standout feature in vSphere 8 Update 3 is the ESXi Live Patching capability. This allows administrators to address critical bugs in the virtual machine execution environment and apply patches to all components without the need for reboots or VM evacuation. The process involves a fast-suspend-resume (FSR) operation for virtual machines as part of the host remediation process. During this action, a host enters partial maintenance mode, a new mount revision is loaded and patched, and then the VM is fast-suspend-resumed to utilize the patched mount revision. This method is non-disruptive to most virtual machines, ensuring high availability and minimal downtime.

Partial Maintenance Mode

vSphere 8 Update 3 introduces Partial Maintenance Mode, which allows administrators to place a subset of hosts in maintenance mode while keeping critical workloads running on other hosts. This feature helps in performing updates and maintenance tasks without significant downtime or disruption to essential services.

Hardware and GPU Improvements

Dual DPU Support

This update extends support to dual DPU configurations, enhancing high availability and increasing network offload capacity. This flexibility in hardware configuration is crucial for maintaining optimal performance and redundancy.

Intel Xeon CPU Max Series Support

vSphere 8 Update 3 introduces support for Intel Xeon CPU Max Series, designed to accelerate high-performance computing (HPC) workloads, particularly those involving AI and machine learning. This includes leveraging high-bandwidth memory embedded within the CPU for superior performance.

Enhanced Image Customization

Administrators now have more options for customizing images, including the ability to retain specific drivers and software configurations. This ensures that deployments are tailored to the specific needs of the environment, improving compatibility and performance.

Enhanced GPU Utilization

Significant improvements have been made to GPU utilization, allowing different vGPU profile types to coexist on the same physical GPU, optimizing resource allocation and efficiency. Additionally, cluster-level GPU monitoring provides detailed insights into GPU resource usage across the cluster, facilitating better management and optimization.

vSphere with GPUs

The update also includes enhancements for vSphere with GPUs, making it easier to manage and allocate GPU resources for workloads. This ensures that applications requiring high computational power can efficiently utilize available GPU resources, leading to better performance and efficiency.

Security and Compliance Upgrades

PingFederate Support

vSphere 8 Update 3 expands its identity federation capabilities by including support for PingFederate, adding to the existing integrations with Entra ID, Okta, and ADFS. This enhancement offers greater flexibility in managing identity and access control within the vSphere environment.

TLS & Cipher Suite Profile Support

The update introduces a profile-based approach for configuring TLS and cipher suites, simplifying the process of adhering to security best practices and audit requirements. This ensures that vSphere environments can quickly align with modern security standards.

Updated Security Configuration Guides

The security configuration guide has been updated to include new features such as TLS profiles and enhanced guidance for securing vSAN environments. This ensures administrators have the latest recommendations and tools for maintaining a secure infrastructure.

Availability and Resilience

Embedded vSphere Cluster Service

The rearchitected vSphere Cluster Service (vCLS) now uses fewer resources and eliminates storage footprint, running entirely in host memory. This streamlined approach reduces complexity and enhances the overall resilience of vSphere clusters.

Metro Cluster Fault Tolerance Support

vSphere 8 Update 3 introduces support for Metro Cluster Fault Tolerance, enabling virtual machines to span across geographically dispersed sites with enhanced fault tolerance. This ensures continuous availability even in the event of site-wide failures.

Workload Optimization

CPU C-State Virtualization

Energy efficiency improvements include the virtualization of CPU C-States, allowing workloads to manage power-saving modes effectively. This is particularly beneficial for telco and VRAN infrastructures, optimizing energy usage based on workload demands.

Customizable Virtual Hardware Deployment

Administrators can now customize virtual hardware configurations during the deployment of OVF/OVA templates from the content library. This streamlines the deployment process and ensures that virtual machines are optimally configured from the start.

Reactivation of Disabled Operations

vSphere 8 Update 3 makes it easier to reactivate certain disabled operations directly from the vSphere Client, improving operational efficiency and reducing the chances of prolonged service disruptions.


VMware vSphere 8 Update 3 delivers a comprehensive suite of enhancements aimed at improving lifecycle management, hardware support, security, and overall workload efficiency. These updates ensure that vSphere remains at the forefront of virtualization technology, providing robust, secure, and high-performance environments for modern data centers. For more detailed information on these features, you can explore the official VMware release notes.

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