Lifecycle Policy

VMware will offer 7 years of support from the general availability of a new Major Release as per the Support and Subscription Terms and Conditions. PDF

Phase Phase Length Additional Policy Details
General Support 5 years During the General Support phase VMware offers new hardware support and guest OS updates. VMware will update the Hardware Compatibility Guide with new hardware platforms that have been tested and certified. General Support for selected new hardware technology (such as servers, processors, chipsets, and add-in cards) is based on VMware's discretion, OEM partner input, and customer input. An 18-month hardware support window is started when a major or minor vSphere release is generally available. New hardware technology launched within the 18-month window will be supported in a compatible mode by an update to a vSphere major/minor release; hardware technology launched after the 18-month window will normally not be supported by that release. Each release of VMware vSphere will support the existing and 4 previous virtual hardware versions. VMware will only introduce new hardware versions in major or minor releases of vSphere although each release does not guarantee a new hardware version. Non-critical bug fixes are provided at VMware's discretion and based on customer input within the first two years of General Support.
Technical Guidance 2 years N/A

FAQs

Does VMware's Enterprise Infrastructure Life Cycle Policy apply to the whole VMware vSphere Software Suite as a bundle or apply to its individual products?

The VMware Enterprise Infrastructure Lifecycle Policy applies to the individual products. While Major releases of the vSphere products will normally occur together, the support lifecycle policy applies to the individual products, such as VMware ESX, VMware ESXi and VMware vCenter. The lifecycle of a new release will begin from its release date for the respective product.

Does VMware provide different levels of support throughout the support life cycle?

Yes, the support lifecycle is divided into two phases, General Support and Technical Guidance, each offering different levels of support:. When a specific release has reached the end of the Technical Guidance phase, it is said to be at “end of support”.

How do I get critical fixes for my VMware ESX or VMware vCenter products?

Fixes are provided during the support lifecycle in one of the following methods. For VMware ESX, fixes are provided in either patches for the most critical issues, or in Update releases. Fixes for VMware vCenter products are provided in Update releases. These update releases are designed to deliver bug fixes and other critical or serious corrections or fixes without requiring a new maintenance release.

How are Updates different from Maintenance Releases?

There are two primary differences between updates and maintenance releases: the content of the releases, and the applicability of subsequent patches.

  • Maintenance releases typically include significant numbers of bug fixes, as well as new enablements.
  • Updates include few, if any, bug fixes and focus mainly on enablements.
  • The same future patches will apply to both ESX Server 3.0.2 GA and ESX Server 3.0.2 Update 1, meaning that customers will not have to worry about applying different patches. This is not the case for a sequence of maintenance releases (e.g. ESX Server 3.0.1 and 3.0.2 require different patches.)
  • Updates do not extend the support life cycle.
What are the benefits of product updates?
  • What are the benefits of product updates?
  • Enablement of new hardware devices without requiring an update to a new maintenance release.
  • Predictability of update releases on a schedule that coincides with our partners' new product releases.
  • Ability to selectively enable support for devices using the patches.
  • Permit standardization on a minor version (x,y) even when new hardware is purchased, beginning with ESX Server 3.5
What about Update Releases? Are there 7 years of support on Update Releases?

No, update releases are supported within the General Support timeframe of the Major release.

The General Support Phase includes new hardware support, what does that mean?

New hardware support means that within the General Support phase, VMware will work with its hardware partners to continue to expand the System Compatibility Guide for that particular release. The selection of hardware and priority order that they are being tested and added to the System Compatibility Guide depends on customer and hardware partner input. VMware does not guarantee that all new hardware available in the market will be supported.

Does VMware’s Support Life Cycle Policy specify which OEM systems will be supported?

No, the System Compatibility Guide specifies which OEM systems are supported.

What does Guest OS Update Support mean?

Based on VMware's discretion and input from customers, VMware will work with OS vendors to enable support of new OS releases, OS Service Packs and OS patches. This applies to selective new Major OS releases within the first 2 years of General Support and selective new Minor OS releases or Service Packs within the first 3 years of General Support. VMware will update the VMware Compatibility Guide regarding support of Guest OS releases and Service Packs.

What is the difference between physical hardware and virtual hardware?

Physical hardware is defined as servers, processors, chipsets, and add-in cards. An 18-month hardware support window is started when a major or minor vSphere release is generally available. New hardware technology launched within the 18-month window will be supported in a compatible mode by an update to a vSphere major/minor release; hardware technology launched after the 18-month window will normally not be supported by that release. The hardware version of a virtual machine reflects the virtual machine's supported virtual hardware features. Each release of VMware vSphere will support the existing and 4 previous virtual hardware versions.

How long will VMware provide patches for security vulnerabilities and bug fixes?

VMware will provide patches for security vulnerabilities and critical bug fixes throughout the General Support phase of each Major Release (which is five years from the general availability date).

What are the criteria for determining if a bug is critical or non-critical (as specified by VMware’s Support Life Cycle Policy)?

Critical bugs are deviations from specified product functionality that causes data corruption, data loss, system crash, or significant customer application down time. A bug is considered critical if it meets the mentioned criteria and there is no work-around that can be implemented.

Does VMware's Support Life Cycle Policy retroactively apply to older software releases?

The Enterprise Infrastructure Lifecycle Policy starts with the VMware vSphere 4 Software Release and beyond.

VMware Infrastructure 3 product releases are covered by the legacy Infrastructure 3 Support Lifecycle Policy.

What are product releases?

VMware provides Major Releases, Minor Releases, Maintenance Releases and Updates. See the VMware Update Policy page for more information.