When there is a new patch released by VMware for ESXi, you may want to check the Compatibility Matrix on the Portal, but the matrix shows only ESXi versions and update numbers, it doesn’t show every patch build number. What to do and how to understand if the patch is supported or not?
Let’s break down the ESXi versions into possible options:
- Versions. Those are the numbered versions, for example, 6.0, 6.5, 6.7 and 7.0. All the versions need to be qualified and the qualification is a requirement. They will not be supported if they are not qualified. Check the compatibility matrix on the Nutanix portal to see if it is supported.
- Updates. Those are what you usually see after the “U” in the version name, for example, 6.7U1, 6.7U2. 6.7U3. They also will not be supported until they are qualified. Check the compatibility matrix on the Nutanix portal to see if the Update is supported.
- Patches. There are many ways that VMware calls its patches, examples are: ESXi 6.7 EP 15, ESXi 6.7 P01, ESXi 6.5 U2b. All the patches are related to some Update level. If the update is supported by Nutanix, all the patches for that update are immediately supported as soon as they are released.
How can i understand to which Update level falls the patch/build?
You can review all the ESXi versions here: https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2143832
Just find there the build or patch name and check between which Updates it is located. For example, patches ESXi 6.7 EP 08, ESXi 6.7 EP 09 and ESXi 6.7 EP 10 are in the list between ESXi 6.7 U2 and ESXi 6.7 U3, so they belong to ESXi 6.7 U2.
What does “qualified” mean?
Nutanix qualifies all Versions and Updates by running a set of tests to ensure the full compatibility of the hypervisor. Qualification is a very difficult and thorough process, because it requires testing on different hardware models, different settings and making sure that all features work. The target to qualify the major Versions is 90 days, the target for Updates is 45 days, however, if there are any issues found during the testing, the qualification can be delayed. When the Version or Update is officially qualified, it will appear in the compatibility matrix and that would mean that it is officially supported and all the future patches/builds for that update are immediately supported.
Why can’t I find the metadata .json file for my desired patch build number?
Nutanix provides the .json metadata files only for the builds that have been fully qualified and Nutanix doesn’t qualify every single build. As the patches of the supported Update are automatically supported, you can use the md5 checksum to upload the bundle through the Prism UI if there is no .json file available. You will get a warning that this version is not qualified. That will mean that we haven’t completed the full set of tests for that build, but it is still fully supported.
Bottom line: the most important is that all the builds/patches within the same ESXi Update are automatically supported if that Update is supported.