VMware pulls vSphere update that only made things worse

vSphere 7 Update 3b was supposed to fix a high availability glitch, crashing hosts, and more


So this is awkward for VMware. The virtualization giant has pulled an update to its flagship vSphere suite because it didn't fix the problems it was released to address, and may have made them worse.

The upgrade was vSphere 7 Update 3b, which on November 15 was the subject of a VMware blog post headed "Important Update." It offered a fix for issues that could cause vSphere to crash, or prevent some upgrades from completing successfully. That post has been taken down – but The Register retrieved it [PDF] from Google's cache.

vSphere 7 Update 3b has also disappeared. VMware's Knowledge Base page states it's been pulled "due to further complications with HA configuration post upgrade."

The release was intended to address a known issue that prevented vSphere being placed into high availability mode after upgrades to vSphere 7 Update 3. Update 3b also addressed a problem that could cause a Purple Screen of Death (VMware's equivalent to Microsoft's BSoD) when virtual machines on a VMFS6 thin disk execute UNMAP/TRIM functions.

Another fix in 3b addressed the fact that the inbox i40enu network driver for ESXi's name was changed to i40en, which prevented the hypervisor from updating. 3b also corrected a vSphere problem that blocked the SMB protocol and broke some backups.

Virtzilla hasn't said what it will offer in place of Update 3b, nor when a replacement will arrive.

That's a tad embarrassing, for two reasons.

One is that VMware billed vSphere 7 Update 3 as "the ultimate update release to vSphere 7, making it the best vSphere ever." Yet the release was updated with version 3a less than a month after release, and Update 3b was necessary a couple of weeks later. Maybe Update 3 wasn't such a great release after all.

The other is that the deleted blog post about vSphere 3b stated that VMware "moved urgently to fix the top issues" – which clearly didn't happen because one issue wasn't addressed.

The post also reveals that VMware is "looking at further increasing transparency for subsequent releases by publishing quality metrics that are accessible both internally and externally."

The Register imagines plenty of vSphere users will welcome transparency about how and why a significant update was bungled. ®

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