A review of VMware View 4.5 Limits and Maximums

This post is intended to be a quick review of the new VMware View Limits and Maximums. I recommend you to read first my article “A review of VMware View Limits and Maximums” to understand the requirements to design a proper VDI architecture from an infrastructure perspective.

VMware View 4.5 adds a number of new operational features but also provide better scalability. Better scalability is due to improvements on the VMware vSphere platform with release of ESX 4.1, vCenter 4.1 and VMware View 4.5 connection brokers.


Limits may vary according to the versions and releases in use. So, it is important to understand that limits presented here are a combination resulting from the following components: VMware View 4.5, vSphere 4.1 and vCenter 4.1.

– 8 Hosts per Cluster (including 1 hot spare)
Limit set by View Composer.

– 16 VM’s per CPU core (NEW! previously was 8 )

– 512 Clones per Replica or Desktop Pool (for Linked Cloning)

– 64 VMs per LUN
Applies when using Fibre Channel array only. No limit for NFS or iSCSI

– 10,000 VMs per vCenter (NEW! previously 3000)
Limit is variable and will vary according to vCenter activity (power on and off, reconfiguration, cloning etc)

UPDATE: With vCenter 4.1, which has a limit of 10,000 virtual machines per vCenter, you might be able to use vCenter
Servers that manage virtual desktops in multiple building blocks. VMware has not yet validated such an approach in conjunction with VMware View. Testing of vCenter Server 4.1 with VMware View 4.5 was limited to testing 2,000 virtual desktops with one vCenter Server.

The Math

For hosts with 8-cores CPU: (8 host cluster * 8 cores/host * 16 clones/core) = 1024 VMs

For hosts with 16-cores CPU: (8 host cluster * 16 cores/host * 16 clones/core) = 2048 VMs

For hosts with 32-core CPU: (8 hosts cluster * 16 cores/host * 16 clones/core) = 4096 VMs
eq. As an example this would not work due to cluster limiting factors on number of virtual machines per host (320) and number of virtual machines per cluster (3000).

Use the VDI calculator I have published. The VDI calculator can be found at http://myvirtualcloud.net/?page_id=1076. Alternatively, go to my blog homepage and select VDI Calculator.

The numbers above do not consider a cluster host for hot spare or maintenance.

Maximum Number of Simultaneous Connections

  • 1 Connection Server with Direct connections, RDP or PCoIP 2,000
  • 7 Connection Servers (5 + 2 spares) with Direct connections, RDP or PCoIP 10,000
  • 3 Connection Servers with Tunnelled SSL connections, RDP 2,000

Local Mode (Transfer Servers)

  • 1 Transfer Server, 60 concurrent disk operations.
    Network bandwidth needs to be carefully accessed to allow 60 disk operations.
    Looking at the numbers above it is possible to see that using two (2) cluster of eight ESX(i) 4.1 hosts it is possible to cater for approximately 4,000 virtual desktops. However because of these maximums (understand them as limits tested by VMware) it is necessary to build Blocks and Pods with multiple core components. When joined together they will form a farm of Pods that will scale the solution to thousands of virtual desktops.

Some reference architecture have already been published:

NetApp, VMware, Cisco, Fujitsu, and Wyse — 50,000-seat VMware View 4.5 Deployment
EMC Solution Overview — EMC Infrastructure for Virtual Desktops with VMware View 4.5
EMC White Paper — EMC Unified Storage and VMware View 4.5


2 pings

Skip to comment form

    • mittim12 on 09/09/2010 at 2:08 pm

    I thought that the VM per core had went up to 20 as the maximum. Not complaining with 15 but just wanted to validate.

  1. @mittim12
    Not 15 or 20. The tested architecture is 16 Virtual desktops per core. That does not mean you can’t have more (if I am not mistaken the ESX 4.1 maximum is 20) but it will really depend on the workload you have.

    • mittim12 on 09/09/2010 at 11:13 pm

    @Andre Leibovici

    Either way it’s a huge jump. Hopefully View Planner should assist in figuring out what the workload will support. Great article….

    • kopper on 09/10/2010 at 10:09 am

    Vmware Composer has another limit 512 VMs per pool right?

    I mean If I have 1500 users using Composer I have to create 3 pools right?

    BTW I did not the 64VMs per Datastore was a Fiber Channel limitation…interesting iSCSI supports more than that.

  2. @kopper
    Yes, there is a 512 limit per desktop pool when using View Composer. For 1500 virtual desktops 3 pools are required. However, the pools can use the same desktop master image.

    • Troy on 11/30/2010 at 2:09 am

    Just curious where you got the 64 VM (or replica) limitation per LUN. The View 4.5 Architecture Planning Guide (http://www.vmware.com/pdf/view45_architecture_planning.pdf) doesn’t have it in there, but the older View 4.01 does (http://www.vmware.com/pdf/view401_architecture_planning.pdf).

    I did notice that your VDI calculator Recommended Practices mentions 64-128 VMs per Datastore so that seems a little contradictory.

    Do you have anywhere else that you can point me to that would have VMware’s stance?


  3. Troy, the 64 VMs per LUN is an old safe number proposed by VMware. You can go up on this number as long your backend storage support the number os IOPS required for the workload. Keep close eyes on IOPS as you increase the number of VMs.

    • Troy on 12/01/2010 at 12:10 am

    @Andre Leibovici
    Thanks Andre. Good to note. I was mostly asking because I would hate to run into a hard limit by accident.

    Re: IOPS monitoring. It’s not been an issue in the past, but I can see it potentially being an issue going forward with our View implementation. Any helpful hints on how to do this for a relatively new storage guy who inherited the position? Using EMC NS480s.

    Thanks again!

    • Johan Nieuwhoff on 02/28/2012 at 2:25 am

    Your VM’s per vCenter is not correct according to the VMware View Architecture planning guide. http://www.vmware.com/pdf/view45_architecture_planning.pdf
    You wrote 10.000, but it’s 2000. You refering to the max of VMware vCenter.

    please consider to update your information.
    regards, Johan Nieuwhoff

  4. @Johan Nieuwhoff
    Please consider reading my post “A Review of VMware View 5.0 Limits and Maximums” http://myvirtualcloud.net/?p=2455. This article is old and is covering VMware View 4.5.

    The 10K limit is the number of VMs supported by vCenter when not running VMware View. 2K is the limit with VMware View dues to the number of VM operations in vCenter.


    • Links on vCloud Director and View 4.5 — mtellin.com on 09/12/2010 at 10:44 am

    […] Review of View 4.5 Limits and Maximums by Andre Leibovici […]

  1. […] Number of Desktop Pools – Maximum of 512 desktops is allowed per pool. It will show an error (ERR) if the number of desktops pools is too small to support the number of desktops. Read more at A review of VMware View 4.5 Limits and Maximums. […]

Leave a Reply