There aren’t a lot of changes in 5.5 when it comes to vSphere High Availability aka HA, but one is worth noting. As most of you are probably aware of, vSphere HA in the past did nothing with VM to VM Affinity or Anti Affinity rules. Typically for people using “affinity” rules this was not an issue, but those using “anti-affinity” rules did see this as an issue. They created these rules to ensure specific virtual machines would never be running on the same host, but vSphere HA would simply ignore the rule when a failure had occurred and just place the VMs “randomly”. With vSphere 5.5 this has changed! vSphere HA is now “anti affinity” aware. In order to ensure anti-affinity rules are respected you will need to set an advanced setting:
das.respectVmVmAntiAffinityRules - Values: "false" (default) and "true"
Now note that this also means that when you configure anti-affinity rules and have this advanced setting configured to “true” and somehow there aren’t sufficient hosts available to respect these rules… then rules will be respected and it could result in HA not restarting a VM. Make sure to understand this potential impact when configuring this setting and configuring these rules.