VMware has just announced the End of Availability but not End of Life (EOL) for some of its pre-vSphere ESX products (Announcing End of Availability), specifically all but the latest releases of ESX 3.x and vCenter 2.x however, it has dropped availability for the ESX 2.x products completely. This tells us several things:
- There are not many customers still on or using ESX 2.x products. This is a true statement. If there are still ESX 2.x systems in use, they are either unsupported by VMware or using special contracts to maintain their support.
- This is a cost savings move as maintenance of older releases of ESX cost quite a bit.
- VMware really wants everyone to migrate to the latest releases of ESX and ESXi.
- This is one more push for everyone to move to ESXi over ESX as there is no mention of ESXi in this announcement
VMware ESX only supports a limited subset of servers and as such keeping the latest versions of 3.0.x and 3.5.x makes sense as many companies have yet to upgrade hardware needed by vSphere.
All in all, the End of Availability of older point releases may force some people who have lagged behind in updates of their ESX 3.x systems to finally apply the latest update or live with a unsupported and unpatched version of ESX.
The announcement does not state, but I would also expect, the older versions of ESXi to no longer be available which closes a small gap in VMware’s Free ESXi product. The Free ESXi product does not allow the various SDKs to write to the hypervisor, but was technically allowed with an older version of ESXi.
This move from VMware will present a cost savings to them as well as continuing to move in the direction of only supporting ESXi in the future. The impact of this announcement will be to those who do not keep their ESX hosts at the latest and greatest level for the version they are on, which is hindered by the “its not broke do not fix it” mentality of some business.