Differences between vSphere 6.7 and 7.0 and how to upgrade

May 1, 2024

Differences between vSphere 6.7 and 7.0 and how to upgrade

What are the differences between vSphere ESXi 6.7 and 7.0


VMware ESXi is a hypervisor that enables the creation and management of virtual machines (VMs) on a physical server. ESXi 6.7 and 7.0 are two major releases with various improvements and new features. Here are some of the key differences between ESXi 6.7 and 7.0:

  1. Architecture: ESXi 7.0 introduces a new architecture to enhance security, performance, and scalability. In ESXi 7.0, the VMkernel has been optimized for better performance and includes improvements to scheduling and load balancing.
  2. Hardware support: ESXi 7.0 has better support for the latest hardware, including new processors, such as the Intel Ice Lake and AMD EPYC Rome processors, and new devices, like high-performance NVMe SSDs.
  3. vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM): ESXi 7.0 replaces the vSphere Update Manager (VUM) with vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM). vLCM provides a unified, simplified approach to managing software, firmware, and driver updates for ESXi hosts.
  4. Improved DRS: ESXi 7.0 includes a rearchitected Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) with improved workload balancing, resulting in more efficient resource usage and performance.
  5. Kubernetes integration: ESXi 7.0, as part of the vSphere 7.0 release, introduces native Kubernetes integration, providing a consistent platform for managing both VMs and containerized workloads. This feature is called vSphere with Tanzu.
  6. Scalability: ESXi 7.0 has increased scalability compared to 6.7, with support for more hosts per cluster, more VMs per host, and larger virtual disks.
  7. Security enhancements: ESXi 7.0 comes with several security enhancements, including support for Secure Boot for ESXi, Identity Federation, and the vSphere Trust Authority.
  8. Virtual hardware version: ESXi 7.0 introduces virtual hardware version 17, which includes support for precision clock synchronization, Virtual Watchdog Timer, and more.
  9. Simplified certificate management: ESXi 7.0 introduces a simplified certificate management workflow to help administrators more easily manage and renew certificates.
  10. Removed features: Some features from ESXi 6.7 have been removed or deprecated in ESXi 7.0, such as the Flash-based vSphere Web Client and the vSphere Data Protection (VDP) backup solution.

These are some of the major differences between ESXi 6.7 and 7.0. Each version comes with its own set of improvements and enhancements to better support the ever-evolving IT landscape.

End of life date of vSphere ESXi 7.0

VMware vSphere 7.0, released in 2020, brought significant advancements in performance, security, and Kubernetes integration. As with all software products, it has an end-of-life date, which marks the point when the vendor discontinues support for the product. The end of general support (EOGS) for vSphere 7.0 is scheduled for October 15, 2026. After this date, VMware will no longer provide technical assistance or software updates for vSphere 7.0, encouraging users to upgrade to a more recent version to ensure continued support and access to the latest features and enhancements.

A detailed step-by-step guide on how to upgrade vSphere ESXi 6.7 to 7.0

As a technical IT professional, it is essential to carefully plan and execute an upgrade from ESXi 6.7 to 7.0 to ensure minimal downtime and maintain the stability of your virtual environment. Here is a detailed step-by-step guide to upgrade your ESXi 6.7 host to 7.0:

  1. Review system requirements and compatibility:

Before starting the upgrade process, make sure your hardware and software components are compatible with ESXi 7.0. Check the VMware Compatibility Guide to verify your hardware is supported. Additionally, review the release notes and product documentation for any known issues and prerequisites.

  1. Backup and snapshot:

Create backups of your virtual machines (VMs) and configurations, as well as snapshots of the current ESXi host. This step ensures you have a fallback option in case something goes wrong during the upgrade process.

  1. Prepare the vCenter Server:

If your ESXi host is managed by a vCenter Server, you must first upgrade the vCenter Server to version 7.0. This is because vCenter Server 7.0 is required to manage ESXi 7.0 hosts.

  1. Put the ESXi host in maintenance mode:

Before upgrading the host, ensure that all running VMs are either powered off or migrated to other hosts in the cluster using vMotion. Afterward, put the ESXi host into maintenance mode.

  1. Download the ESXi 7.0 offline bundle:

Visit the VMware website and download the ESXi 7.0 offline bundle. This file contains the necessary components for the upgrade.

  1. Upload the offline bundle to a datastore:

Using the vSphere Client, upload the downloaded offline bundle to a datastore accessible by the ESXi host you want to upgrade.

  1. Connect to the ESXi host via SSH:

Enable SSH on the ESXi host, and then use an SSH client (e.g., PuTTY) to connect to the host. You will need the host's IP address and valid credentials to log in.

  1. Execute the upgrade command:

Run the following command to upgrade the ESXi host, replacing "your_datastore" with the appropriate datastore name and "offline_bundle.zip" with the actual filename:

esxcli software vib update -d /vmfs/volumes/your_datastore/offline_bundle.zip

Wait for the command to complete. It may take several minutes.

  1. Reboot the ESXi host:

After the upgrade is complete, reboot the host with the following command:

reboot

  1. Exit maintenance mode:

Once the host has rebooted and is running ESXi 7.0, exit maintenance mode.

  1. Verify the upgrade:

Using the vSphere Client, verify that the ESXi host is running version 7.0 and that all hardware components and VMs are functioning correctly.

  1. Update VMware Tools and VM hardware compatibility:

Upgrade VMware Tools and VM hardware compatibility to ensure optimal performance and compatibility with the new ESXi version.

By following these steps, you can successfully upgrade your ESXi 6.7 host to version 7.0. Remember to perform the upgrade in a controlled environment, test thoroughly, and have a rollback plan in place to minimize potential disruptions.

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