VMware vSphere 7.0 Update 2b is now GA, here's how to download it any which way!

Posted by Paul Braren on Mar 10 2021 (updated on Jun 11 2021) in
  • ESXi
  • HowTo
  • Virtualization
  • VMUGAdvantage
  • vSphere7
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    Table of Contents

    To get started with your lab testing, jump to the appropriate download section:

    1. If you have a free My VMware account
    2. If you're currently a vExpert
    3. If you're currently a VMUG Advantage EVALExperience subscriber
    4. If you're seeking the Free Hypervisor Download and License

    The main VMware download page with all the products to sift through is here, with guidance on what exact files to get from where detailed below! If you're still on 6.x and are more of a YouTube watcher and you want to see what the upgrades to 7.0 are like, here's the article featuring informal videos that should help build your confidence!

    On March 9, VMware published Announcing: vSphere 7 Update 2 Release along with vSphere Release Notes, but the ISOs weren't generally available to download. Upgrades were available, which I began testing in my homelab via VAMI and ESXi. Then in the early hours of March 11 2021, ESXi and VCSA ISOs became available too, with this article promptly updated too.

    As always, be sure to use VUM to update your VCSA first, then update your ESXi host(s) with the preferred Lifecycle Manager. Alternatively, use ESXCLI to upgrade which doesn't require VCSA, downloads and installs with one command, and doesn't require my.vmware.com credentials or software trials, or VCSA.

    Please note that I've run into some issues with my own VCSA 7.0 Update 2 upgrade, with VAMI stuck at:
    Installation in progress
    92%
    Converting data as part of post install.

    Despite this, my VCSA seems to work, albeit with some other minor warnings in the vSphere Client that I might publish a video on if time permits. What surprised me somewhat was that my VCSA 7.0U1c instance was rebuilt from scratch a little over a month ago, so it was very nearly a fresh install. It's too early to say whether this 92% issue is minor, and whether it's a prevalent issues others are experiencing too.


    Prerequisites

    Folks new to VMware sometimes get tripped up when trying to find the actual files they'll need to get started. Note that the fresh install full downloads do require you to use your MY VMware account, with free sign-up and 60 day trials, with information about potentially avoiding all that for existing vSphere 7.0 non-production labs here, which I've already tested!

    Warning - vSphere 7.0 was a major new release, with Update 1 containing signficant new capabilities. Update 2 appears to be a bit of a smaller upgrade, see also VMware's What’s New with vSAN 7 Update 2:

    Performance Optimizations
    In vSAN 7 Update 2, we have improved the performance and CPU efficiency of RAID 5/6. This enables the space efficiency of erasure coding while enhancing application performance and reducing CPU cost per I/O. Additional buffer tier performance improvements were also made.

    If you are new to 7.x, you'll need new license keys and some preparation. If you have a vSphere 6.x license key in your lab that is working now, after the upgrade to 7.0, you'll be starting your 60 day trial, during which time you'll want to apply your license keys from any one of the 4 options listed below.

    As always, you must do your homework including checking whether your VM backup solution supports vSphere 7 Update 2 yet. Likely that will take at least a month or two. Check with your backup vendor to be sure, for example, since there's been a few Updates that have inadvertently broken backups, for example. As always, the focus of my articles is home or work lab testing, typically considered non-production environments.

    Release Notes

    Before you begin any upgrades, you really need to review both

    1. VMware vCenter Server 7.0 Update 2 Release Notes
    2. VMware ESXi 7.0 Update 2 Release Notes

    Note, when 7.0 came out, folks noticed significant changes about the filesystem layout, and note there were warnings about using boot media that's less than 32GB in size:

    E354679202FC

    Good thing the bootable media included with all SuperServer Bundles since 2016 have been 32GB!

    You will find all kinds of details in these articles, including dependencies and warnings.

    So if you're going forward with lab testing this anyway, but you don't have a VMware support, then you absolutely must back up everything first!

    License keys for vSphere 7 are another topic for another day, but one place that you can get 365 days of them for nearly every product VMware makes is the VMUG Advantage EVALExperience program, using TINKERTRY to get $20 off your $200 purchase. Absolutely worth every penny!

    Download

    Download

    Note, VCSA 6.7 was 3.41 GB, but vSphere 7.0 was 6.42 GB, and 7.0 Update 1 is 7.6 GB! Yes, there's a lot of increased functionality, and keeping perspective here, this is a heckuva lot smaller than installing Windows Server and SQL Server used to be. VCSA is now a Photon OS based slim Linux variant that only includes the code that's actually needed.

    To get started with your lab testing, jump to the appropriate download section:

    1. If you have a free My VMware account
    2. If you're currently a vExpert
    3. If you're currently a VMUG Advantage EVALExperience subscriber
    4. If you're seeking the Free Hypervisor Download and License

    1. If you have a My VMware account (free sign-up)

    at my.vmware.com and haven't requested a trial in the last 60 days, the 2 links below should work, but won't give you access to license keys that are purchased separately at the VMware Store where you'll find that the VMware Essentials Kit is the most cost-effective option, unless you are eligible for the Academic Price. Per incident support is purchased separately, most helpful for VMware software issues on VMware HCL supported hardware, such as a Bundle.

    2021-06-11_8-28-52

    2021-06-11_8-29-57

    Licenses

    MyVMwareLicensePortal

    Within 60 days, you'll want to apply your new vSphere 7 licenses from here:
    my.vmware.com/group/vmware/my-licenses/by-folder

    Troubleshooting Access

    If you get a sad-trombone moment and are faced with an issue with accessing the downloads such as
    Your evaluation has expired
    Consider requesting a new vSphere 7 trial here:
    my.vmware.com/en/web/vmware/evalcenter?p=vsphere-eval

    my-vmwares-you-either-are-not-entitled-or-do-not-have-permissions-to-download-this-product-error-and-what-to-do-about-it

    See also alternative solutions I wrote up that may still work My VMware's "You either are not entitled or do not have permissions to download this product." error, and what to do about it., and this newer trick that may help.


    2. If you're currently a vExpert

    As of Mar 10 2021, it seems 7.0 Update 2 hasn't made it onto the vExpert Download section yet, but these instructions for downloading 7.0 should be similar enough to help you get by once it does come out.

    vexpert-logo-across
    2020-04-07_15-59-16
    1. Log in to the download page at:
      vexpert.vmware.com/my/downloads
      then search for 7.0.2 at top right to find all new vSphere related downloads, or just search for each of these file names below:
    2. The VCSA 7 appliance download you'll likely want is (probably going to be) called ESXI701/VMware-VMvisor-Installer-7.0U1-16850804.x86_64.iso.gz, but Windows users will also need something like 7-zip to extract the iso from the fully-downloaded gz file.
    3. The generic (non Dell or HP) ESXi download you'll likely want for most home labs is called VMware-VCSA-all-7.0.1-16860138.iso.gz
      vexpert-portal-2020-04-02
      Type "7.0.1" in the search box at top right, sorry the screenshot above is from my earlier 7.0.0 searches since 7.0.1 hasn't shown up yet.

    Licenses

    vExpert-Licenses

    Within 60 days, you'll want to apply your new vSphere 7 licenses from here:
    vexpert.vmware.com/my/licenses


    3. If you're currently a VMUG Advantage EVALExperience subscriber

    VMUGAdvantage-logo-across
    2020-04-04_17-11-29
    EVALExperience is just one of many benefits to the VMUG Advantage program, click the image to read about many others.

    This is the VMUG Advantage download site for existing members, and here is the sign-up site, taking roughly one business day to process your payment and give you access to the downloads. Sorry weekend impulse tinkerers, next time, place your order on Thursday morning, OK?

    The EVALExperience VCSA and ESXi 7.0 bits are now available for download using the direct link below. I've recorded this video of the ordering and downloading process on Apr 7 2020, once 7.0 Update 1 arrives on VMUG Advantage, the process will likely be quite similar. You don't have to wait, since you can also upgrade your VCSA 7.0 to 7.0U1 manually using VAMI then use the preferred Lifecycle Manager method of updating your ESXi hosts to 7.0U1, or you can use the ESXCLI method of updating ESXi 7.0 to 7.0U1.

    STEP 0 - Become a member, or renew your membership if it expired

    2020-04-07_19-32-36

    Mine had expired, so I renewed by clicking on UPGRADE TO ADVANTAGE. I'm told it usually takes one business day to process the order.

    STEP 1 - Add to Cart

    7e04daf1-df78-ea11-812a-000d3af41938

    When prompted, just log-in, Add to Cart, disable any ad blockers for this page, then begin your download!

    • VMware vCenter Server 7
      This one item added to your shopping cart, place your order, and you'll see the exactly the 2 downloads you need!

    STEP 2 - Check out

    STEP 3 - Agree to the EULA

    STEP 4 - Fill out SURVEY questions

    2020-04-07_19-23-59

    Fill out answers to some basic product survey questions, takes about a minute

    STEP 5 - Click NEXT to order

    Your existing membership is your only cost, there is no additional cost for downloading any of the code you find in your portal. You'll now see a confirmation screen with the 2 license keys that you'll need to use in your lab once your installation is completed during the 60 day trial.

    2021-03-12_12-08-45
    You can copy your serial numbers from here to a secure repository for use later, then click the Download button.

    STEP 6 - Click on DOWNLOAD

    Be sure ad blocker(s) are disabled for this url, or your download won't start.

    2021-03-12_12-12-52

    As of Mar 12 2021, already they have 7.0U2 available! Here's the 2 files:

    VMware vCenter Server 7.0 Update 2

    6.42 GB
    Name: VMware-VCSA-all-7.0.2-17694817.iso
    Size: 7 GB

    VMware vSphere Hypervisor [ESXi]

    350.29 MB
    File: VMware-VMvisor-Installer-7.0U2-17630552.x86_64.iso
    Size: 390 MB

    License Keys and Downloads retrieval

    Orders-and-Downloads
    Order history.

    Keys were provided in STEP 5 above, but they can easily be retrieved any time by going in to your VMUG Advantage Order History, then clicking on the View Details button.

    2020-04-07_19-48-46
    License keys and a button to re-download at a later date.
    How to download your vSphere 7 [VCSA/ESXi] files and license keys from VMUG Advantage EVALExperience

    4. If you're seeking the Free Hypervisor Download and License

    eval

    Apr 10 2020 Update - here's the new request URL:
    my.vmware.com/en/group/vmware/evalcenter?p=vsphere-eval-7
    and here's an excellent new article walking you right through all the steps
    virten.net/2020/04/free-esxi-7-0-how-to-download-and-get-license-keys/

    NAKIVO-free-vmware-esxi-restrictions-limitations

    Not having access to VMware vSphere's best features that vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) enables are pretty severe restrictions these days, here's a good article Nakivo wrote about the limitations in Free VMware ESXi 6.7. I know some just have one system, or multiple systems they're cool with managing via the ESXi Host Client.

    What I have little sympathy for are folks trying to get away with using this free version for a production environment. I actually talked to a bank once who was doing exactly that. Sigh.


    Thoughts & Plans

    gigabyte-xeon-d-2100-mb51-ps0-motherboard-first-look-unboxing
    Xeon D-1500 series and Xeon D-2100 series testing underway.

    Of course, I've already begun testing new Update 2 release briefly, and I do plan to do a more thorough test on my Xeon D-1500 8 and 12 core SuperServer Bundles.

    I am still considering re-doing my popular How to build your awesome virtualization home lab with VMware vSphere 6.0 (ESXi & VCSA), especially now that I've found an insanely fast and affordable Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite that does the forward and reverse lookup and FQDN that VCSA loves, with lovely names instead of ugly IPs for everything, and no certificate errors. This router also avoids that clumsy hosts-file-editing stuff and kludgey router domain name hoops I resorted to jumping through last time around. Setting expectations properly, I need to disclose that finding the time and the support to undertake such a large effort is going to be a challenge. A lot has changed in vSphere in the 4 years since I created that video, and during that same time I've changed day jobs 3 times too! If you have a keen interest in seeing such a step-by-step networking and vSphere deployment walk through, please:

    Upgrades

    I'm also working on my usual "How to easily update" set of VCSA and ESXi articles, with testing going well so far.

    Video

    TinkerTry - Oct 06 2020 - Using VAMI to successfully upgrade VMware VCSA from 7.0c to 7.0 Update 1
    How to install VMware ESXi 7.0 Hypervisor onto a USB flash drive
    How to seamlessly update VMware vCenter Server Appliance/VCSA from 6.7 to 7.0, no IP or dns change!

    Step-by-step video showing me upgrading my SYS-5028D-TN4T Bundle based on the Xeon D-1541, going from 6.7U3 to 7.0 in my home lab.

    How to update any 6.x VMware ESXi Hypervisor to 7.0 using ESXCLI for easy download and install
    USB Image Tool for Windows easily backs up and restores complete VMware ESXi installed on USB or SD
    vSphere Online Launch Event Apr 02 2020 - It was streamed live at 11am Eastern time, but playback is available at the same URL. Apparently this was live streamed, so I couldn't help but notice that the folks in a studio together weren't 6' from each other or wearing masks.

    Oct 07 2020 Update

    Other folks have joined me with testing ESXi 7.0 Update 1 on Xeon D, seen in this twitter thread. Note, all Bundles are based on the Supermicro SuperServer SYS-5028D-TN4T which is already listed for compatibility for 7.0U1 on the VCG, this is good!


    J an 11 2021 Update

    On March 14 2021, I had this warning to post. This issue is now behind us. Posted as it originally appeared atop this article.

    ESXCLI-command-fails-due-to-pulled-bundle--TinkerTry-2021-Mar-13
    My ESXCLI command worked on Mar 10, but fails on Mar 13, the bundle has been pulled, "VMware recommends to NOT upgrade to 7.0 U2 until this patch is available."

    Warning! - Mar 13 2021 Update - Don't upgrade to 7.0 Update 2 yet.
    If you try to upgrade now anyway, you may experience one of these two errors:

    1) Using vLCM (Lifecycle Manager)

    to update your ESXi host, you see this error:

      Loading /boot.cfg
      Failed to load crypto64.efi
      Fatal error: 15 (Not found)

    2) Using ESXCLI

    to update your ESXi host, you see this error:

      [root@xd-1541-5028d:~] esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-7.0.2-17630552-standard -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml
      [NoMatchError]
      No image profile found with name 'ESXi-7.0.2-17630552-standard'
            id = ESXi-7.0.2-17630552-standard
      Please refer to the log file for more details.
      [root@xd-1541-5028d:~]

    you'll want to see this excerpt from VMware KB 83063 published on Mar 12 2021:

    As of March 12th, VMware has removed the ESXi 7.0 U2 offline depot from all sites as a result of this failure, > For more information, please see KB 83107
    VMware is currently working on building a new Patch to resolve this issue.
    As a result VMware recommends to NOT upgrade to 7.0 U2 until this patch is available.

    If you have encountered this issue, please follow the workarounds below to recover your host
    Post this, please pause all upgrade activity if possible

    Please refer to KB 1033604 for details on how to roll back an ESXi host to a previous version.

    Should you need to continue with the upgrade, an upgrade using the ESX7.0U2 ISO file will avoid this issue.
    However, as per the above, this is not recommended at this time.
    https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/7.0/com.vmware.esxi.upgrade.doc/GUID-77D42D81-F47E-4FE9-B4B2-B15AB16C9C1A.html

    Special thanks are in order for TinkerTry commenter Slennox, who tipped me off to this issue affecting ESXCLI command users too, confirmed by Erki Rajangu @vSymbiosis. See also William Lam's post on Mar 10 2021, as well as Florian @virten's tweet that references his Mar 12 2021 article Failed to load crypto64.efi - ESXi 7.0 U2 Upgrade Error.


    See also at TinkerTry

    vmware-fling-folding-at-home-vm

    my-vmware-vsphere-67u3-experience

    easy-update-to-latest-esxi

    vsphere-67u3-announced

    vsphere-67u2-announced

    vsphere-67u1-released

    vmug-advantage-has-esxi-and-vcsa-6-7-with-365-day-keys

    downloadvsphere67

    vsphere-6-7-released

    latest-nsx-and-all-flash-vsan-added-to-vmug-advantage-evalexperience

    Figure out what CDN your download is coming from:

    download-windows-10

    task-manager-resource-monitor-deep-dive-windows-server-2012-and-windows-8

    See also

    announcing-general-availability-vsphere-7-update-1

    homelab-considerations-for-vsphere-7

    Social

    vSphere 7 is here! Download and release notes links here:

    Niels Hagoort @NHagoort
    Start your download engines!! #vSphere7 is here!

    Download vSphere 7.0: https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/info/slug/datacenter_cloud_infrastructure/vmware_vsphere/7_0

    Release Notes: https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/7.0/rn/vsphere-esxi-vcenter-server-70-release-notes.html

    @VMware @VMwarevSphere #vExpert #VMware #vSphere