The VMware Infrastructure 3 Support Life Cycle

If you haven’t upgraded to VMware vSphere 4 by now, you should consider it and rethink your strategy. VMware has removed all but the most recent versions of their Virtual Infrastructure product binaries from their download page on June 17th. As of May 2010, the following Virtual infrastructure products have all reached end of general support according to the published support policy:

  • ESX 3.5 versions 3.5 GA, Update 1, Update 2, Update 3, Update 4
  • ESX 3.0 versions 3.0 GA, 3.01, 3.02, 3.03
  • ESX 2.x versions 2.5.0 GA, 2.5.1, 2.5.2, 2.1.3, 2.5.3, 2.1.2, 2.5.4
  • Virtual Center 2.5 GA, Update 1, Update 2, Update 3, Update 4, Update 5
  • Virtual Center 2.0

The following Virtual Infrastructure products will remain under Extended Support:

  • ESX 3.5 Update 5 will remain throughout the duration of Extended Support
  • ESX 3.0.3 Update 1 will remain throughout the duration of Extended Support
  • Virtual Center 2.5 Update 6 will remain throughout the duration of Extended Support

VMware’s Support Life Cycle begins on the general availability date of the product when released to the public.

What is the difference between End of Life and End of Availability?

End of Life is the point where the product will have no further support (no fixes, no updates, no technical guidance). End of Availability is the point when the given product or version will no longer be available. The product line may still be supported, however older versions will no longer be available for download.

Why upgrade? Everything runs smoothly at the moment. If you are going to use new hardware you may run into a not supported configuration issues because drivers won’t be updated for the ESX software in the Extended Support period. Also new guest OS updates may or may not be applied, and bug fixes are limited to critical issues.

According to VMware: Critical bugs are deviations from specified product functionality that cause data corruption, data loss, system crash, or significant customer application down time and there is no work-around that can be implemented.

So make sure you have the latest Update running on the Virtual Infrastructure, which means Update 5 for ESX 3.5 and Update 6 for Virtual Center 2.5.  or even better start planning and move to VMware vSphere 4 now!