VMware vSphere 7.0 Update 3 is now GA, here's how to download it any which way!


Table of Contents

VMware vSphere 7.0 Update 3 was released on Oct 5 but isn't available for download on all 4 channels listed below quite yet, it's only on my.vmware.com so far. If you're already on 7.0x, you don't have to wait, backu up first, then you can upgrade your VCSA 7.x using just VAMI, and you can upgrade your ESXi 7.x using vLCM or ESXCLI. I have begun my "TinkerTry'd" home lab testing, it's going well so far a seen in this VCSA video, smoother than all prior 7.x releases actually. I'll update this article accordingly once the new downloads of VCSA and ESXi 7.0U3 become available from the other channels too, meanwhile, you should read about VMware's changing stance on using USB or SD for the ESXi hypervisor. I'm working on ways to buy myself some time and test some SATADOM, prepping for the eventual arrival of vSphere 8 which marks when VMware will no longer support USB & SD as boot devices for your ESXi install.

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/visual leaner 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 Oct 05 2021, I noticed that ESXi 7.0U3 became available, so I began my lab testing using the ESXCLI upgrade method.

Sequence

As always, be sure to update your VCSA first, here's my lab testing of that procedure using VAMI. Next, 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.

Check-CD-ROM--TinkerTry
CHECK-UPDATES--TinkerTry

Despite this, my VCSA seems to work just fine once I managed to get the VAMI Update to work. I do have some other minor warnings in the vSphere Client that I might publish a video on if time permits, but those don't seem to have anything to do with how I updated. What surprised me was that my VCSA 7.0U2a instance was rebuilt from scratch under a month ago, so it was very nearly a fresh install. Thus, I found the errors surprising, but most went away by merely using vSphere Client to launch VAMI then clicking on Update, CHECK UPDATES, Check CD ROM, as pictured above.


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!

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 2c 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 of these supposedly minor 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

Warning
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:

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Good thing the bootable media included with SuperServer Bundles since 2016 have been 32GB in sze. That said, it's best for fresh installs to go with SATADOM or a SATA SSD for ESXi hypervisor installs these days, see reasons here.

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 3 is 8.86 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.

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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:
customerconnect.vmware.com/web/vmware/evalcenter?p=vsphere-eval-7

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 Oct 06 2021, it seems 7.0 Update 3 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. Whatever the 7.0.2 versions are taht you find here, you can update right after installing them using VAMI for VCSA then vLCM or ESXCLI for the hypervisor.

vexpert-logo-across
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  1. Log in to the download page at:
    vexpert.vmware.com/my/downloads
    then search for 7.0.3 at top right to find all new vSphere 7.0 Update 3 related downloads, or just search for each of these file names below:
  2. The VCSA 7 appliance download you'll want is VMware-VCSA-all-7.0.2-17920168.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-VMvisor-Installer-7.0U2a-17867351.x86_64.iso.gz
    2021-08-26_18-34-48
    Type "7.0.3" in the search box at top right

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 Update 3 bits are not 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 3 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 7.0U3 manually using VAMI then use the preferred Lifecycle Manager method of updating your ESXi hosts to 7.0U3. Alternatively, you can use TinkerTry's documented ESXCLI method of updating ESXi 7.0 to 7.0U3.

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

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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

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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.

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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 or VIEW at the bottom

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

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As of Oct 06 2021, only 7.0U2a (7 Update 2a) is available, here's the 2 files:

VMware vCenter Server 7.0 Update 2a

Name: VMware-VCSA-all-7.0.2-17920168.iso
Size: 7 GB

VMware vSphere Hypervisor [ESXi]

File: VMware-VMvisor-Installer-7.0U2a-17867351.x86_64.iso
Size: 372 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 6 years since I created that video, and during that same time I've changed day jobs roles 4 times at 3 companies 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 2021 - Smoothly moving from VMware vCenter 7.0.x to 7.0 Update 3
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

See also at TinkerTry

easy-update-to-latest-esxi

my-vmware-vsphere-67u3-experience

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

See also

  • Booting ESXi from SD/USB devices? Time to reconsider when buying new hardware!
    Sep 17 2021 by Duncan Epping at Yellow Bricks

  • vSphere SSD and Flash Device Support [2145210] Knowledge Base Article
    Sep 23 2020 updated

    vSphere ESXi Boot Disk
    A USB flash drive or SATADOM or local SSD can be chosen as the install image for ESXi, the vSphere hypervisor, which then boots from the flash device.
    This usage model has been supported since vSphere 3.5 for USB flash devices and vSphere 4.0 for SCSI/SATA connected devices.
    Installation to SATA and SCSI connected SSD, SATADOM and flash devices creates a full install image which includes a logging partition (see below) whereas installation to a USB device creates a boot disk image without a logging partition.

    VMware Support Policy
    In general, if the SSD’s host controller interface is supported by a certified IOVP driver, then the SSD drive is supported for ESXi provided that the media meets the endurance requirements above. Therefore, there are no specific vSphere restrictions against SATADOM and M.2 provided, again, that they adhere to the endurance requirements set forth in Table 1 above. For USB storage devices (such as flash drives, SD cards plus readers, and external disks of any kind) the drive vendor must work directly with system manufacturers to ensure that the drives are supported for these systems. USB flash devices and SD cards plus readers are qualified pairwise with USB host controllers and it is possible for a device to fail certification with one host controller but pass with another. VMware strictly recommends that customers who do not have a preinstalled system either obtain a USB flash drive directly from their OEM vendor or purchase a model that has been certified for use with their server.

  • vSphere Flash Device Support on The Cloud Platform Tech Zone
    This seems to contain the same exact information as KB 2145210 listed above, but I recommend you double-check both to see which has the more recently updated content.

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