VMware Cloud on AWS regularly performs updates on your SDDCs. These updates ensure continuous delivery of new features and bug fixes, and maintain consistent software versions across the SSDC fleet.

Updates to the SDDC software are mandatory and must be done in a timely manner. When an SDDC update is upcoming, VMware sends a notification email to you. Typically, this occurs 7 days before a regular update and 1-2 days before an emergency update. Delays to upgrades could result in your SDDC running an unsupported software version. See Supported SDDC Versions.

You also receive notifications by email when each phase of the update process starts, completes, is rescheduled, or is canceled. To ensure that you receive these notifications, whitelist vmc-services-notices@vmware.com.

Upgrade Process for SDDCs Using NSX-T

The figure below shows the upgrade process for SDDCs with networking based on NSX-T.

This diagram shows a block labeled Phase 1: Control Plane Window, containing the steps Backup, Update Pod, Update POP, Update NSX Edges, Update vCenter, and Update HCX. This block is followed by a waiting period, and then another block labeled Phase 2: Host Updates (ESX and NSX) , containing the steps Backup, Add Host, Host Updates, Remove Host. It is followed by another waiting period, and a third block labeled Phase 3: NSX Appliance Window, containing the steps Backup and Update NSX Appliances.

The impact of the upgrade on different elements of the SDDC infrastructure is shown in the figure below.

A diagram showing the impacts of different migration phases on availability of different components of the infrastructure. In Phase 1, the Control Plane Window, the Control Plane and Migration functionality are unavailable. Workloads remain available except during a 10 second NSX Edge downtime during Phase 1. During Phase 2, Host Updates, Migration functionality is unavailable, and the Control Plane and Workloads are available. During Phase 3, NSX Appliance Window, Migration is unavailable, and the Control Plane and Workloads are available.
Important: During upgrades:
  • Do not perform hot or cold workload migrations. Migrations fail if they are started or in progress during maintenance.
  • Do not perform workload provisioning (New/Clone VM). Provisioning operations fail if they are started or in progress during maintenance.
  • Do not make changes to Storage-based Policy Management settings for workload VMs.
  • Ensure that there is enough storage capacity (> 30% slack space) in each cluster.

Maintenance is performed in three phases.

Phase 1: Control Plane Updates. These are the updates to vCenter Server, NSX Edge. A backup of the management appliances is taken during this phase. If a problem occurs, there is a restore point for the SDDC. A management gateway firewall rule is added during this phase. There is an NSX Edge failover during this upgrade phase, resulting in a brief downtime. You do not have access to NSX Manager and vCenter Server during this phase. Otherwise, your workloads and other resources function as usual subject to the constraints outlined above.

When Phase 1 is complete, you receive a notification. After Phase 1 is complete, there is a waiting period until Phase 2 starts. Phase 2 is initiated at a designated start time.

Phase 2: Host Updates. These are the updates to the ESXi hosts and host networking software in the SDDC. An additional host is temporarily added to your SDDC to provide enough capacity for the update. You are not billed for these host additions. vMotion and DRS activities occur to facilitate the update. During this time, your workloads and other resources function as usual subject to the constraints outlined above. When Phase 2 is complete, the hosts that were temporarily added are removed from each cluster in the SDDC.

When Phase 2 is complete, you receive a notification. After Phase 2 is complete, there is a waiting period until Phase 3 starts. Phase 3 is initiated at a designated start time.

Phase 3: These are the updates to the NSX-T appliances. A backup of the management appliances is taken during this phase. If a problem occurs, there is a restore point for the SDDC. A management gateway firewall rule is added during this phase. You do not have access to NSX Manager and vCenter Server during this phase.Otherwise, your workloads and other resources function as usual subject to the constraints outlined above.

Note: Upgrades from SDDC version 1.8 to version 1.9 or higher require NSX appliance configuration changes. This results in an NSX Edge failover that causes an additional downtime of approximately 10 seconds.

When Phase 3 is complete, you receive a notification.

For more information on estimating the duration of each phase, see Estimating the Duration of SDDC Maintenance.

When an SDDC upgrade for your SDDC is scheduled, you can see information about upcoming or ongoing maintenance in the Maintenance Tab of the VMC Console. For more information, see View an SDDC Maintenance Schedule Reservation.

Updates for VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension (HCX)

For customers using HCX:
  • The VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension (HCX) for the SDDC managers will not be upgraded as part of this release.
  • Avoid starting HCX migrations that might overlap with the SDDC upgrade window. HCX bulk migration processes might be halted, and HCX vMotion migrations might fail.
  • For more details, see the VMware HCX User Guide at https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-NSX-Hybrid-Connect/index.html.

Updates for the VMware vCenter Cloud Gateway

For customers using the VMware vCenter Cloud Gateway:

Updates for Horizon Enterprise

For information about the impact of an SDDC upgrade on a Horizon Enterprise installation running on VMware Cloud on AWS, see https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/74599.