VMware 6 has been around for a LONG time — 6.0 has been kicking around since 2015! It’s kind of like an old worn-out shoe at this point. It’s not the most comfortable, there’s minimal arch support, but you’ve worn it so long so you don’t even think about it anymore.
Well, the time has come. vSphere 6.0 is already in end of mainstream support, and vSphere 6.5/6.7 both go end of mainstream support one year from now in October 2022. Unlike Microsoft software, when VMware goes end of mainstream support, you only get a year or two of “technical guidance,” which doesn’t give you much. From VMware’s documentation:
“During the Technical Guidance phase, VMware does not offer new hardware support, server/client/guest OS updates, new security patches or bug fixes unless otherwise noted. If required, customers can open a support request online via their MyVMware portal to receive support and workarounds for low-severity issues on supported configurations only.”
Based on that, we highly recommend you stay within mainstream support for your VMware environment. You might be thinking you’ve got a year and you aren’t worried about getting it done in time…STOP! Have you checked the vSphere support matrix for 7.0?
Is Your Hardware Supported?
VMware dropped a lot of support for older hardware. In Dell parlance, for example, no 12th generation servers are supported (ex: R720, 620, etc.), and some 13th generation servers aren’t supported (T130, R230, R330). HPe generation 8 boxes are not supported (EX: Dl360 Gen 8), but basically all Gen9 are.
Is Your Config Ready?
If your hardware is supported, you’re probably thinking you can go straight to vSphere 7.0 then, right? Nope! Don’t rush ahead! With vSphere 7.0 VMware really changed the way that the OS drives are laid out and function. Have you spent years following VMware’s best practice of running off of SD cards? Well, you’re in for a bit of whiplash because now VMware EXPLICITLY RECOMMENDS AGAINST SD CARDS AND FLASH DRIVES. Not only was this a big swing for 7.0, but they also act like they’ve never ever said SD cards were a good idea.
This isn’t just a mild recommendation. If you install VMware on SD cards (or flash drives) and you don’t make changes to the OS configuration, the new way that vSphere 7.0 sets up the OS will destroy the SD cards within a few months. Take this seriously — we’ve seen people upgrade early and lose multiple ESXi hosts to completely destroyed SD cards.
We do have some mildly good news: VMware has finally backed off their SD card hate enough that they tell you how to configure the OS to not murder the cards, but have warned that “this won’t be supported in any future major releases.”