vSphere 5 Card

Here is the vSphere 5.0 vReference Card. It’s provided as an A4 download and a Letter Download.

The same reference is available as an expanded full page download, useful if you want to read entire sections.

The card is available under a Creative Commons license, so feel free to copy and distribute this in paper or electronic format. Just check back frequently to www.vReference.com for updates, subscribe to the RSS feed, or follow me on Twitter to be the first to know.

If you spot any additions or updates you think are needed, then let me know and we can improve this resource for everyone.

79 thoughts on “vSphere 5 Card

  1. I was waiting for this reference card to be released.

    Thank you very much for this great work.

  2. Awesome, I was just talking to one of my co-workers about wishing that there was a vsphere 5 reference card… TADA here it is

  3. Hi Fortie, what’s up?

    I’m right now attending the VCIM 5.0, and in the page 123, module 4 (VMware vCenter Server) – book 1 – says that the vCenter Server Appliance support for external Oracle and IBM DB2 databases.

    Do you mind if I translate this document to portuguese and publish in my Blog?

    Great job, thank you very much.



    1. Hi Breiner,
      The VCIM booklet seems to be wrong I’m afraid. I believe that the original plan was to support the full DB2, but that seems to have been withdrawn.
      The latest VMware documentation here: http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-50/topic/com.vmware.ICbase/PDF/vsphere-esxi-vcenter-server-50-installation-setup-guide.pdf
      states on page 205:
      IBM DB2 is supported only for the embedded database provided with the vCenter Server Appliance
      The embedded DB is DB2 Express (the equivalent of MS SQL Express for the Windows version), but the only full sized DB it supports is Oracle at the moment.
      I expect support for other popular DBs will follow shortly though.
      With regard to translating it to Portuguese, that would be great. Just remember the caveats in the Creative Commons license – attribution, etc.
      On my “About Me” page, there is comments form. Just fill out the form with your email address and I’ll be happy to send you the “source” Visio document within the next few days. Let me know if you finish it and I’ll link back to your website from here so others can find it.

      1. I noticed the same thing, when I wrote a VCP-510 exam summary document. There’s also no way in the GUI to configure an external DB2 database. it might be possible using some obscure actions, but if it’s officially supported it should be in the web management pages of the vCenter Server Appliance.

  4. Thankyou very much for all the hard work that you put into these reference cards. They help a lot for revision, and of course, reference.

  5. The full page version is a brilliant idea. A larger version of the esxtop reference would be great too.

  6. Passed my VCP-510, using your reference card as a whole picture view of all the VMware documentation. It was really helpful.

    By the way, I think there is a typo in the Networking max: vSS port groups should be 256.

    Thanks for your work.

  7. Hi,

    Great study material.

    I noted two items that need to be corrected.

    Networking/Max/Per Switch:
    Per switch: Hosts (per vDS) = 350 (instead of 35)
    vSS port groups = 256 (instead of 2)


    1. Hi Daniel,
      Yep, you’re right. I add them and it’ll be corrected in the next release (probably in about 4 weeks time).
      Thanks for letting me know,

  8. Hi Forbes,

    Many thanks for your hard work on these – excellent study & reference material – much appreciated!


  9. Thank you very much for all that you have done for the VMware community. Much appreciated!

  10. I have been using your site for a few years and it is one of the best. Keep up the great work.

    I have more of a technical question that hopefully someone can point me in the right direction.

    Under the Availabilty section (HA), there is a comment “Disable datastore heartbeating if using Ethernet based storeage”. I have been trying to find the why but cannot find any document that explains. Can someone point me in the right direction?


    1. Hi Brandt,
      The reason was based on the fact that HA now uses shared storage to help determine when a host is down or has just become network isolated. If the IP based storage is using the same northbound switches for regular network connectivity, then if host becomes network isolated, this extra check won’t help.
      It used to be part of VMware’s Availability Guide.
      However I’ve just noticed an update to this guide that states:
      Removed note that recommended the user disable datastore heartbeating in a “converged” network environment. This is not a best practice and could lead to logical network failures. See β€œDatastore Heartbeating,” on page 16.
      Interesting that this advice has now changed. I’ll update the card sometime soon to have this removed.

  11. Forbes

    passed my VCP yesterday! just want to say a big thanks , your guide is just the best and really helped me with VCP 5!

    Thank you!


  12. Hi,

    First of all: great job with these cards!!! Thanks a lot for your work. They are exceptionally useful.
    As I’m studying the full page card more closely for my VCP 510 exam, I noticed a few very small errors. Nevertheless I thought you would like to know them:
    – Search for ‘dchp’ and you’ll find one result, which should be ‘dhcp’.
    – In the section about vCenter alarms, I noticed that these 2 sentences are describing the exact same thing: “Default alarms don’t have actions set” and “Default alarms not preconfigured with actions”.
    – “vcenter server heatbeat” is missing an ‘r’ in ‘heaRtbeat’.
    – In the Networking section you refer to “see Jumbo Frames below”, but this is discussed above.

    Again thank you for these excellent reference cards!
    Kind reagrds, Bjorn

    1. Hi Bjorn, great feedback! I’ll try to get out a corrective update this weekend and I’ll include all your points here. Thank you very much for letting me know.

    1. Hi Jakk, yes you’re right. That is what the latest version of the documentation is stating. Thanks for pointing it out. I hope to get a small revision out this weekend and I’ll include this.

  13. Hi there,

    I have a simple question for you, i was caming accross, the Vreference Card 5.0 and noticed that HA Communication inter host ports were 2050-2250, 8042-8045 as usual. Which is very stricking is that i cannot find or in Vsphere Documentation Center or the Vsphere availability Guide a reference to these ports.
    Is there is anyone can spotlight me ?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Steve, thanks for the heads-up. HA in 3.x and 4.x used these ports and they remained in the official documentation until earlier this year. The best source I have for firewall ports these days is:
      You can see in the Update Notes at the bottom:
      “02/15/2012 – Updated information on ESXi 5.x vSphere HA.”
      I think that is when they removed those ports.
      I’ll update the card and have those ports removed in the next release. Thanks, Forbes.

  14. Thanks for this, just found it. Makes for a great tool for review during downtime on your smartphone, or at your desk if it’s printed out! I’m adding it to the wall at my desk.

  15. Thanks for the great reference card and your efforts in putting this together.
    It will come in handy.

  16. Hey,
    will you update the card with the latest “fixes” posted in the comments? Would like to use it to prepare for my VCP5-DV in 1-2weeks πŸ™

    1. Hi Chris,
      Even though the card hasn’t been updated since April, it incorporates most of the “fixes” mentioned in the comments here (I think it misses the last two). The VCP is still based on 5.x generic information, so no need to worry about new features or limits in 5.1. Sorry, I just don’t have the time to update it in the next couple of weeks as even a small change takes many hours of work to get through to a new release. Don’t worry though as I haven’t given up on the card. New releases will still be available in the future.
      Thanks for your support, Forbes.

  17. Excellent material!
    I think I’ve found an update for the reference card:
    Per switch: Hosts (per vDS) = 350 is now I think 500 according to config. maximums pdf 1.4

    1. Hi Namma,
      Yes, it’s something I’ve been thinking about, but here’s a lot of work involved to get it revised for a new version. I’ll probably hold off until there is a change in the VCP version. As far as I know it’s still based on vSphere 5.0. If the VCP moved to 5.5 anytime soon then it would certainly push a revision up my priority list. It’s always a balancing act between this, blog articles, writing books, working towards certifications, etc. Don’t worry I haven’t forgotten about the cards and I will update them sometime soon.
      Thanks for your support and encouragement.

  18. Excellent reference card, thanks for putting it together!

    A few things noticed:
    -vDS PVLAN – it mentions a potential of solving the VLAN IDs shortage, while it’s not entirely true – these VLANs must still be defined on physical switches, whether it’s primary or a secondary pvlan. This is due to no encapsulation done of the secondary pvlan within the primary one.

    – vDS port maximum is listed twice, with two different limits
    – vDS security policy for portgroup defaults to Reject/Reject/Reject versus the outlined Reject/Accept/Accept, which is still valid for vSS


  19. Hi
    For ping testing vmk ports, especially for jumbo frames, what you have listed on the ref card won’t work.
    You should use:
    vmkping -I -d -s

    The -I (capital “I”) let’s you specifically test a specific kernel port instead of just the management port.

    -d prevents the packet from being fragmented – necessary to really test a jumbo packet.
    -s should not be 9000. You have to leave room for the frame overhead. 8000 is fine but remember some OSs have weird jumbo packet sizes. You can’t be bigger than the smallest link.

    ~ # vmkping -I vmk1 -d -s 8000
    PING ( 8000 data bytes
    sendto() failed (Message too long)

    ~ # vmkping -I vmk1 -d -s 4000
    PING ( 4000 data bytes
    4008 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=128 time=0.759 ms

    1. Thanks, I’ll take a look at this. What version did you test this on? I’ll hopefully start looking at updating the card for vSphere 5.5 soon, so stuff like this really helps.
      Cheers, Forbes

  20. Hi Forbes,

    Any chance of releasing version 5.5?? This site is amazing. The amount of work involved is staggering. Well done on a super job to date!

    1. Thanks! I’ve not forgotten about this, don’t worry, just been super busy of late. Hopefully I’ll get some time very soon to work on this and get an update out. I’ll be sure to let everyone know about any progress I make.

        1. Hi Randy, I’ll be honest – progress is slow as I don’t have much time for this at the moment. I’m pushing to go direct to a 5.5 card so there wouldn’t be a 5.5 notes.
          I suspect the next notes will be for version 6.0.

          1. Whoa version 6.0 so quick, I’m still studying VCAP5.5 and now vsphere 6.0 is about to be released πŸ™‚

          2. These reference cards for vSphere 4 and vSphere 5 are fantastic. Any news on a vSphere 6 card?

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