Now there is added incentive to upgrade your VMware hosts to ESX version 3.5 Update 2 (ESX 3.5 U2). Today VMware announced that they are the first hypervisor to be validated by Microsoft in the Microsoft Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP). This means that VMware customers that run Microsoft applications like Exchange and SQL (full list of applications here) on ESX 3.5 U2 virtual machines now are entitled to expanded, cooperative support from both companies. It is important to note that the only SVVP validated version of VMware’s ESX hypervisor is the latest, version ESX 3.5 U2. This means that VMware customers still running any previous versions do not qualify for the new support policy. Both VMware and Microsoft published helpful information about this news today.
VMware’s official announcement explains the following:
“Under this program, Microsoft offers cooperative technical support to customers running Windows Server on validated, non-Microsoft server virtualization software, such as VMware ESX 3.5 update 2. Customers with support policies in place, and running Windows Server-based applications on VMware ESX 3.5u2, can receive cooperative technical support from Microsoft. VMware also offers an extra layer of protection for customers, outside of Microsoft’s Server Virtualization Validation Program, who work directly with VMware for support. The additional protection is a part of the VMware Premier Support contract with Microsoft that enables VMware to escalate application issues rapidly and work directly with Microsoft engineers to expedite resolution. “
The Windows Virtualization Team Blog published a post titled The Validated Hypervisor.
“ESX 3.5 update 2 now joins Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V as being validated to run Windows Server and associated Microsoft server applications. And now that ESX 3.5 has passed SVVP, VMware customers will join Novell customers as receiving cooperative technical support (if there’s a support policy in place, and the customer is running the validated configuration) for Microsoft software running in/on their virtualization software.”
This same Windows Virtualization Team Blog post also refers to Microsoft’s KB article 897615 originally published on August 19, 2008:
“… for vendors with whom Microsoft has established a support relationship that covers virtualization solutions, or for vendors who have Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP) validated solutions, Microsoft will support server operating systems subject to the Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy for its customers who have support agreements when the operating system runs virtualized on non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software. This support will include coordinating with the vendor to jointly investigate support issues.”
For more information on this great news read the complete articles and posts at the links above. Although ESXi 3.5 is not mentioned in either the Microsoft or VMware announcements today, I would assume since the kernel is the same for both versions ESXi 3.5 U2 is also considered validated under the SVVP policy. However, this is just my guess.
I would expect that any administrators that are currently skeptical about upgrading to ESX 3.5 U2 now have a compelling reason to reconsider.