VMware Cloud on AWS is a service and therefore VMware handles all patching. The customer cloud administrator does not have access to patch or upgrade the underlying infrastructure. VMware has developed automated workflows that are optimized for managing many Cloud SDDCs at scale. Wherever sensible, existing products, such as vSphere Update Manager, are leveraged as components of the overall management framework. This is largely transparent to customers using the VMware Cloud on AWS service.
The version of ESXi that makes up the foundation of your SDDC on VMware Cloud on AWS is a variant of the traditional vSphere release, but completely compatible from the application point of view. ESXi running on VMware Cloud on AWS may have a more frequent update cadence so that customers can take advantage of regular service enhancements. VMware controls the ESXi and component versions. There are no plans to offer customer-selectable version options for the underlying infrastructure components. This consistency enables VMware to operate at scale.
VMware will provide installers for a designated release of VMware Tools for all supported guest operating systems, and will update those from time to time. Customers have the option of using a different version of VMware Tools than the one shipped with VMware Cloud on AWS to ensure there is a standardized version between their on-premises and VMware Cloud on AWS environment. Customers can either upload the desired VMware Tools ISO to vSphere Datastore or they can use Guest Operating System tools to deploy the desired VMware Tools version using Microsoft Windows SCCM, Linux apt-get, etc.
When VMware Cloud on AWS hosts are patched, vMotion enables zero-downtime migration of virtual machines so that these updates can be executed transparently. Customers are not required to maintain N+1 capacity—the upgrade workflow will automatically provision additional resources as needed in order to support the customer applications without negatively impacting performance.
An additional ESXi host is provisioned to avoid ESXi host resource reduction during maintenance operations. Note that data is not evacuated during maintenance operations to avoid performance regression and bandwidth consumption.
VMware is responsible for managed delivery of SDDC software updates and emergency patches. This involves maintaining consistent software versions across the SDDC fleet with continuous delivery of features and bug fixes. VMware is mindful of customer IT processes and ensures the minimum impact of changes. Detailed information is available in SDDC Upgrades and Maintenance page.