VMware

VMware ESX Server 3.0.2 Update 1 Frequently Asked Questions

What is ESX Server 3.0.2 Update 1? What is it not?

I've never seen this term "Update" in the name of an ESX Server release.
What does it mean?

"Updates" are releases designed primarily to enable new hardware platforms and devices without requiring a new maintenance release. Updates are expected to be released approximately once a quarter as needed to support new hardware.

How are Updates different from maintenance releases?

There are two primary differences: the contents 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).

If Updates contain few or no bug fixes, won't we still need maintenance releases to fix bugs?

  • In the ESX Server 3.5 release line, VMware's objective is to have very few if any maintenance releases, only Updates.
  • In the ESX Server 3.0.x release line, additional maintenance releases (e.g., ESX Server 3.0.3) will be required because we are not starting with a "clean slate" as we are with ESX Server 3.5. However, in addition to enabling more timely support of new hardware, the use of Updates in the ESX Server 3.0.x release line is aimed at reducing the number of future maintenance releases in this release line.

Functionality

What are the different deliverables for this release?

  • All deliverables which accompany a maintenance release, include the following:
    • A single bootable ISO image.
    • ESX Server 2.x tarball for upgrading from ESX Server 2.x.
    • ESX Server 3.0.x tarball for upgrading from ESX Server 3.0.x.
    • HCL updates.
    • Release Notes.
  • PLUS Individual Patch Bundles.

Usability

What are the Supported Upgrade Paths and Methods?

  • Fresh install using the ISO image.
  • Upgrade install using the ISO (ESX Server 2.x to ESX Server 3.0.2 Update 1 or ESX Server 3.0.x to ESX Server 3.0.2 Update 1).
  • Upgrade from ESX Server 2.x to ESX Server 3.0.2 Update 1 using upgrade.pl with tarball.
  • Upgrade from ESX Server 3.0.x to ESX Server 3.0.2 Update 1 using esxupdate with tarball.

How and why do Update releases benefit our customers and partners?

  • Enablement of new hardware devices without requiring an update to new maintenance release.
  • Predictability of update releases on a schedule that coincides with our partners' new product releases.
  • Provides ability to selectively enable support for devices using the patches.
  • Beginning with ESX Server 3.5, Updates will permit standardization on a minor version (x.y) even when new hardware is purchased.

What will be the user download experience?

  • The ESX Server link in the Download VI3 page, http://www.vmware.com/download/vi, always points to the latest ESX Server 3.0.x ISO. So when ESX Server 3.0.2 Update 1 goes GA, this release will be at the top of the Download page.
  • ESX Server 3.0.2 GA will be moved to "Version History."
  • The new patches in ESX Server 3.0.2 Update 1 and all the other patches which are rolled up in this release can be reached through the VMware ESX Server 3.0.2 Patches page at: http://www.vmware.com/download/vi/vi3_patches_302.html. Customers can selectively install these patches on the ESX Server 3.0.2 base instead of installing the whole ISO image or tarball.

What are the licensing policies for ESX Server 3.0.2 Update?

They are the same as for any maintenance release.

What are the supported patching procedures for ESX Server 3.0.2 Update 1?

They are the same as for the ESX Server 3.0.2 GA release.

With the new Update mechanism, patches will now contain enhancements/feature enablements. What is the customer impact due to this?

RPM changes are cumulative. That is, if an RPM addresses a bug fix in, say, the January patch bundle, and the same RPM addresses another bug in February patch bundle, then the RPM in the February patch bundle will also contain the January bug fix.

When should customers use the ESX Server 3.0.2 Update 1 ISO rather than simply use patches?

  • New hardware (which require new ISO to boot).
  • Install Update ISO.
  • Existing hardware with current release of ESX Server.
  • Use Update ISO to catch up to latest patches and drivers.
  • Existing hardware with older release of ESX Server.
  • Use Update ISO to upgrade to latest release.
More generally:

Scenario Recommendation
New customer setting up new hardware for new VI3 environment. Install using the latest Update ISO (ESX Server 3.0.2 Update 1).
Large environment. Adding new machines. Okay with mix of ESX Server levels. Install new machines with latest Update (ESX Server 3.0.2 Update 1).
Large environment. Adding new machines. NOT okay with mix of ESX Server levels. Install new machines with minimal patches needed to bring up new hardware. (NOTE: if new hardware requires ESX Server 3.0.2 Update 1 to boot, customer must accept a mix of ESX Server levels or upgrade all systems to ESX Server 3.0.2 Update 1.)
Large environment. No new hardware. Selectively apply patches. If a rollup to latest set of patches is desired, upgrade using Update ISO (ESX Server 3.0.2 Update 1).