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