Since the release of vSphere 8.0, we’ve been using a new Release Model to encourage the adoption of our vSphere releases. As we had shared in the previous announcement:
“We’re moving to a new IA/GA (Initial Availability/General Availability) model to ensure our customers have all the information and lead time they need for successfully adopting and consuming the new releases.
“An IA release is a production-quality release that meets all GA quality gates and is fully partner certified. IA releases will be available during the IA phase to all customers for production deployments. We will follow up once we determine each release has achieved sufficiently wide adoption and announce the transition of the release to a GA designation.”
We found this mechanism to be particularly helpful for our customers and partners during the 8.0 release. No major issues were discovered, and we designated the vSphere release as GA shortly after the IA was available. Many customers have since told us that they felt additional confidence moving forward with the GA release, knowing that it had been deployed so widely during its IA period.
As we approach the first Update release for vSphere 8.0, we have decided to make a further improvement to the process going forward: immediately upon the IA of an ESXi Update release, we’ll designate the vCenter component as GA. ESXi will continue to go through the IA phase to get wide adoption, but vCenter will be designated GA from the outset.
vCenter releases are more frequent than ESXi, so our internal release processes run more often for vCenter, the changes between releases are more distributed, and there’s already a high customer and partner confidence in the upgrade process. We understand that updating ESXi hosts is a more involved process requiring planning with other datacenter software and hardware, and an IA to GA validation is a helpful step. In contrast, vCenter doesn’t sit on the data plane, is a single appliance, and can be updated much more easily.
We hope this will provide additional agility for customers to move forward rapidly with their vCenter upgrades so they can start consuming the additional benefits immediately.