Lifecycle Policy 


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

Infrastructure 3 FAQ

General Questions

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.

What are Major, Minor, and Maintenance Release?

"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).

Does VMware still provide nine years of support if there isn't a 2nd Minor Release?

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.

View the nine years of support table

Does it mean that VMware will support older releases at the same time as new releases?

Yes, for example, after VMware ESX 3.0 is released, support for VMware ESX 2.5 will continue until the end of its life cycle.

What about Maintenance Release? Are there seven years of support on Maintenance Release?

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.

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

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.

What does Guest OS Update Support mean?

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.

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

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).

What is covered in the Technical Guidance Phase?

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.

Can customers pay for specific patches during the Technical Guidance Phase? What are the costs?

VMware will evaluate that on an individual basis. Generally customers are encouraged to upgrade to the latest release instead.

Are there patches for VMware vCenter Server during its General and Extended Support Phases?

VMware vCenter Server security vulnerabilities and bugs are usually addressed by timely maintenance release rather than patches.

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.

VMware ESX & ESXi End of Product Availability

What is End of Availability?

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.

What products or versions are about to reach End of Availability?

The versions of the following products are approaching End of Availability and will be removed in May 2010. Once these are removed, only the latest update to the major release of these products will be available for download.

VMware Virtual Infrastructure products being removed by May 2010:

  • ESX 3.5 versions 3.5 GA, Update 1, Update 2, Update 3 and Update 4
  • ESX 3.0 versions 3.0 GA, 3.0.1, 3.0.2 and 3.0.3
  • ESX 2.x versions 2.5.0 GA, 2.5.1, 2.5.2, 2.1.3, 2.5.3, 2.0.2, 2.1.2 and 2.5.4
  • VirtualCenter 2.5 GA, 2.5 Update 1, 2.5 Update 2, 2.5 Update 3, 2.5 Update 4 and 2.5 Update 5
  • VirtualCenter 2.0

VMware Virtual Infrastructure products remaining for Extended Support:

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.

  • 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
  • VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 6 expected in early 2010

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.

Are customers forced to upgrade immediately to the baseline release version?

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.

How long will customers be able to access the baseline versions?

Baseline versions are being made available now and over the next 1-2 months in the Download center. These baselines will be available through the remainder of the Support Lifecycle.

Can customer access prior versions of these code lines?

No, starting in May 2010, prior released versions, updates and patches will no longer be available for download from

What if customers need access to prior versions?

VMware encourages customers who may need access to prior versions, to download and store backup copies prior to May 2010.

Will customers still be able to access Technical Support for the prior versions?

Yes, VMware will provide technical guidance for the prior versions in accordance with our published support policy.