Update – April 28, 2022
VMware will continue supporting USB/SD cards as boot devices through the vSphere. Next product release, including update releases. Both installs and upgrades will be supported on USB/SD cards. The change from the previous guidance is that SD/USB as a standalone device will now be supported on previously certified server platforms. Customers can still however provision an additional persistent device to store the OSData partition, which VMware recommends. ESX will attempt to relocate the critical regions to such a persistent device. Starting from 7.0U3c, if an USB SD card boot device is detected during installs and upgrades, critical regions of the OSData partition such as VMTools and scratch will automatically be moved out. Moreover with vSphere.Next, the entire OSData partition can be moved out.
More information – https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/85685
Initial Insight – VMware EOL vSphere 6.7
The Kraft Kennedy Infrastructure and Enterprise Systems team advises organizations to review their environment now to address necessary upgrades well in advance of the October 15, 2022 support expiration date for vSphere 6.7. We are seeing delayed timelines for hardware procurement, and recommend firms take action now to avoid the vulnerabilities of running unsupported VMware versions as well as the negative business impact resulting from the inability to complete Client Security Audits. We’re sharing details below.
After an 11-month extension, VMware plans to end general support for vSphere 6.7 on October 15, 2022. Current vSphere 6.x customers should note that support for booting from SD cards has been deprecated in ESXi 7.0 and will be removed in the next major release. More specifically, given changes in the partition layout introduced in ESXi 7.0, endurance ratings can no longer guarantee the viability of SD cards as a boot option. Workarounds are available in ESXi 7.0 U2C and above, but VMware strongly recommends moving away from SD cards entirely on any future server hardware and using industrial grade M.2 flash, SAS, SATA, or PCIe NVMe instead. More info here – https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/85685.
Given the end of general support date, recommended hardware change, ongoing global supply chain issues, and installation/migration timeframes, if current vSphere 6.x customers haven’t started planning for 7.0 they should do so as soon as possible. More specifically, Kraft Kennedy recommends evaluating how existing ESXi hosts are configured, whether they boot from SD, if so whether they can be reconfigured with a local RAID array (many physical hosts do not have RAID or riser cards), and whether they’re on the hardware compatibility list for vSphere 7.0. Assuming all those hurdles are cleared, we recommend reviewing all components that integrate with vSphere to confirm they’re compatible with 7.0. Usual suspects include storage arrays (firmware updates are typically recommended), backup solutions like Veeam, replication solutions like Zerto, and Citrix components.
Please contact Kraft Kennedy with questions, or if you would like assistance planning or upgrading your vSphere environment.