DISCLAIMER: Firstly, and most importantly. This issue likely to effect a tiny proportion of customers. Despite what many think as soon as new version of vSphere hits the streets for most large organisations it can take anything between 12-24 months to actually complete an upgrade from one flavour of vSphere to another. Therefore by the time a customer who has rolled out vSphere 6.5 U2, the chances are that there WILL be an upgrade path to vSphere 6.7 probably in the shape of U1 or U2 release. The important thing to remember is if your intention is in the short-term to upgrade to vSphere 6.7 for whatever reason – is to be aware of the title of this blogpost. You may as well skip U2 and head straight to vSphere 6.7 if that’s the case…
UPDATE (10th May, 2018): It looks like the VAMI interface on the VCSA is set to deploy vSphere 6.5 U2. It’s set as just a “bugfix” and that its severity is set to “critical”. I’m research what the situation is with update manager.
WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN: This has happened on more than one occasion in recent memory. I don’t personally think that precedent can be used to justify this. A much simpler reason exists. The reality is VMware now has a very complicated, and richly interdependent and tightly-coupled series of software and services. Attempts have been made in the past to build a “Train Release” by which the core platform like vCenter/ESX are the “head” or “engine” of the train, and the related products that sit on top of it – are couple behind it on a release schedule that if correctly managed should arrive in the customer station at roughly the same time. Occasionally, a carriage gets de-coupled and is left in the sidings somewhere outside Colchester. For customers for whom that software package is critical it can and will delay and upgrade processes until the last part of the train gets into the station. This can be difficult where one SR calls for upgrade to fix one problem, only to “break” a piece of software elsewhere.
This kind of sequencing of software releases is very, very difficult to do in a large multi-national software company where software is shrinked-wrapped and installed on-prem. It’s actually a compelling argument for buying software like vSphere-as-a-service, and heading off into the Public Cloud. You cease to have worry about this kind of poop.
HAS THIS BEEN COMMUNICATED EFFECTIVELY. I’m sorry to say this but no. Sadly, an almost like Apple like cloak of secrecy still envelopes VMware. There are good reasons for this in some cases, but other situations like this – it actively and effectively works against good communication. As ordinary mortal I am supposed to read all the blogs, read all the release notes and listen to all the podcasts. I would say I’m pretty well connected to the VMWorld – but I didn’t know this was happening. Heck, I didn’t know that vSphere 6.5 U2 was on its way – or know there wasn’t upgrade path.
Apparently, to some that’s my fault, and my problem – and it isn’t the responsibility of VMware to shout from the rooftops as if Four Horses of the Apocalypse were on their way. Before I rant on and loose the plot a little – I will point you back to this disclaimer. Look. I totally get it, and totally understand why and how this happens. And in many, many, many ways the vSphere 6.5 U2 release is a good, good,good thing because it quickly deals with the issue associated with “WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN”. The train becoming de-railed from the railway lines.
For those who are outside of the vendorland much of this just seems bug-eyed weird. Although “shit-sandwich” has become such a defacto standard in our industry many seem quiet happy to suck it up. Personally, I like to set my standards higher than that. Case in point. The download page for vSphere 6.5 U2 has one of those little yellow “read the KB” stickers – which incidentally disappears when you click “Go To Downloads”.
The downloads page of vSphere 6.7 (at the time of writing) has a tiny notification at all.
People will say “buyer beware” and you should read the Release Notes. Honestly, who has time for that – Release Notes are like EULAs. Practically no-one reads them (I’m unable to quantify that statement I know!).
Of course, if you fail to read all the blogs, the release notes and these stickers – then its “your own fault chum” according to some. Personally, I think vendors have to realise that in todays busy world with lots of competing channels searching for our eyeball time – something a little more noticeable is required.
With that. Read my disclaimer again…