Does VMware Support Life Cycle Policy apply to the whole VMware Infrastructure Software Suite as a bundle or apply to its individual products?
The VMware Infrastructure Policy applies to the individual products. For example, if a new Minor Release of VMware vCenter Server is available between revisions of the entire VMware Infrastructure Software Suite, the life cycle of that new release will start from its release date.
"Major Release" means a generally available release of the Software that contains functional enhancements or extensions, designated by VMware by means of a change in the digit to the left of the first decimal point (e.g. Software 5.0 >> Software 6.0).
"Minor Release" means a generally available release of the Software that introduces a limited amount of new optional features and functionality, designated by VMware by means of a change in the digit to the right of the decimal point (e.g. Software 5.0 >>Software 5.1).
"Maintenance Release" means a generally available release of the Software that typically provides maintenance corrections or fixes only, designated by VMware by means of a change in the digit to the right of the second decimal point (e.g. Software 5.0 >> Software 5.0.1).
If there isn't a 2nd Minor Release, Tech Guidance phase will be extended to meet the nine years of offered support. If there are more then 2 Minor Releases, each release will receive it's full seven years of phased support starting from the release date. As a result, the Major Release could have more than 9 years of support.
Maintenance Release are supported from their general availability date until one year after the general availability date of the next Maintenance Release. If there is no next Maintenance Release, the support will run until the end of support for its parent Minor Release. For example VMware ESX 2.5.3 will be supported until one year after VMware ESX 2.5.4 is released. If VMware ESX 2.5.3 is the last Maintenance Release of the VMware ESX 2.5 branch, then the support for VMware ESX 2.5.3 will continue until the end of support life cycle for VMware ESX 2.5.
It 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.
It means that during the General Support Phase and Extended Support Phase, VMware will work with the Guest OS vendors to ensure that new Updates or Service Packs available for the Guest OSes will be compatible with VMware’s virtual machines. This does not apply to new Major Releases of Guest OSes.
VMware will provide patches for security vulnerabilities and bug fixes thorough the General Support and Extended Support Phases of each Minor Release (which is a minimum of five years from the general availability date).
During the Technical Guidance Phase, assistance is available through the self help page. Customers can also open a support request online to receive support and workarounds for low-severity issues on supported configurations only. There will be no new hardware support, guest OS updates, security patches or bug fixes. Customers are encouraged to upgrade to the latest version of the product to avoid security vulnerabilities and bugs. Telephone support is not provided during Technical Guidance.
Does VMware's Support Life Cycle Policy for VMware Infrastructure retroactively apply to older software releases?
VMware Infrastructure Policy generally starts with VMware Infrastructure 3 Software Suite and beyond. But due to popular customer requests, some older products are also included.
For VMware ESX, VMware Infrastructure Policy includes VMware ESX 2.5.3 and beyond. VMware ESX 2.5.2 and earlier will follow VMware’s General Policy.
For VMware VirtualCenter for VMware Server (Version 1.4), VMware Infrastructure Policy applies. End of support has been reached for VMware VirtualCenter versions 1.3 and earlier.
These versions will be the baseline for ongoing support during the Extended Support phase. All subsequent patches issued will be based solely upon the releases below.
As described, the latest releases of each of these products will be available for download. Additionally, any applicable patch releases and critical bug fixes will be made available online in accordance with our published support policy.
By removing older releases, VMware is taking proactive steps to create a more sustainable product maintenance line as our older ESX product lines enter the extended support life cycle phase. This measure enables us to baseline all patches and critical fix releases against the latest available products available to users. This translates to faster customer turn-around and greater product stability during the extended support phase.
Customers may stay at a prior version, however VMware’s patch release program during Extended Support will be continued with the condition that all subsequent patches will be based on the latest baseline. In some cases where there are release dependencies, prior update content may be included with patches.