VMware has pulled all versions of ESXi 7.0 Update 3 and VCSA 7.0U3b (Jan 27 2022 - Re-released as 7.0U3c on Jan 27 2022)
UPDATE - VMware vSphere 7.0 Update 3c was announced on Jan 27 2022:
I'm working on home lab testing 7.0U3c today, Jan 28 2022, and will be creating a new article at TinkerTry today about me updating my lab to it. I had updated to (since recalled) VCSA 7.0U3b (Build 18901211) when it came out in November, and left it running with my one ESXi 7.0U3b (Build 18905247) SuperServer Bundle 2 ever since with out issue, per VMware's guidance in KB86398:
Q. Is my environment still supported even though it's already upgraded to a removed version, or will I need to roll back?
A. These versions are still fully supported by VMware. A rollback is not necessary unless desired.
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VMware has pulled vSphere 7.0 Update 3b and all ESXi 7.0 Update 3 versions from vmware.com downloads, explained in VMware's Nov 19 2021 announcement Important Information on ESXi 7 Update 3, and in VMware KB 86398. This recall is described by others here and here. The Important Update: vSphere 7 Update 3b blog post for some PSOD certain customers was also pulled, but here's a Nov 15 archive copy.
In summary, VMware has pulled the following vSphere code and original release notes:
- ESXi 7.0 Update 3 (Build 18644231 dated 2021/10/05, release notes archive)
- ESXi 7.0 Update 3a (Build 18825058 dated 2021/10/28, release notes archive)
- ESXi 7.0 Update 3b (Build 18905247 dated 2021/11/12, release notes archive)
- VMware vCenter/VCSA 7.0 Update 3b (Version 7.0.3 Build 18980211, release notes archive)
This "recall" is unfortunate, and it brings me no joy to report this. In well over 10 years of staying on top of vSphere releases in my home lab, I can't recall any major VMware vSphere release pulled many weeks after it became GA. I sure hope VMware is more conservative in their approach to future major update releases, and ships code only when it's ready, not when it was expected to be ready. I expect transparency, especially in enterprise products, and I look forward to seeing how VMware handles the next steps. Probably best for me to leave it at that.
What should you do if you've already updated to any of the 7.0U3 releases, like I did? If you're in a lab like I am, it's not big deal, just wait for VMware to issue a fix. There is no need to roll-back if you're not experiencing issues, and my 2 node home lab is in that camp. Read onward for details.
VMware explains in kb.vmware.com/s/article/86398:
Q. Why are these releases being pulled?
A. VMware has identified critical issues with these builds. For further information, please refer to KBs 86287 & 86281. For more details behind the decision, please review Important Information on ESXi 7 Update 3 .
Here's an excerpt from Important Information on ESXi 7 Update 3:
Removal of ESXi 7 Update 3 from Download Site
Select customers have encountered issues while upgrading their environments to the ESXi 7 Update 3 release.
After careful consideration, we have removed the ESXi 7 Update 3 release from our Product Downloads site. We made this decision to protect our customers from potential failures which may occur as they upgrade to ESXi 7 Update 3. While we believe that this would only impact a limited set of customers, it was serious enough for us to take the action. When we have resolved the upgrade issues in ESXi 7 Update 3, we will notify our customers that they may resume upgrades to ESXi 7 Update 3 at that time. For more details on the underlying issues, please refer to KB article 86398.
Our review process uncovered partner driver interoperability problems which prevented certain upgrade paths from completing in some customer environments. Specifically, driver VIB changes caused naming collisions in ESXi. This resulted in upgrade failures and related HA failures. Unfortunately, our quality testing and certification process missed this issue. We investigated options to address it with patches, however, due to certain operational complexities for our customers we removed the ESXi 7 Update 3 release from our download site.
Note that the VMware vCenter Server 7 Update 3 release remains stable and available. Customers may continue to download and upgrade to this latest vCenter Server release.
For customers who have already successfully upgraded to ESXi 7 Update 3, you may remain on this release and will have full support from VMware.
We will reissue ESXi 7 Update 3 as soon as we have the driver issues fully resolved–which involves working with our partners. Customers will be notified when the release is available via our normal release notifications, including a post on this vSphere Blog site.
The issues still haven't been resolved.
This paragraph is admittedly conjecture. Given December's Log4j vulnerability issue with many VMware products impacted including VMware vCenter Server, it seems likely VMware is also busy remediating those vulnerabilities before releasing whatever comes next. Logically, those could be called VCSA 7.0 Update 3c and ESXi 7.0 Update 3c, we'll have to wait and see. It's most unfortunate so many IT Professionals were affected with having to patch during the holidays, and home lab enthusiasts like myself were disappointed that we couldn't update our home labs quite yet either during any days that were off from work.