VMware Cloud on AWS – Improvements to service release cadence

Since the first availability of VMware Cloud on AWS back in the fall of 2017, we have released frequent updates to our service side capabilities and our VMware SDDC technologies (i.e., SDDC bundle) that power VMware Cloud on AWS with major releases; typically, every quarter. This has enabled our customers and partners to take advantage of a continuous stream of innovation.

As of June 4, 2020, we are adjusting our SDDC release cadence for new deployments and upgrades. This is part of our ongoing effort to provide customers with a better, more flexible change management model that incorporates their needs, while continuing our fast release cadence.

We are introducing two flavors of SDDC bundle deployments – “Essential” and “Optional” – that will typically alternate (as shown in the table, below).

Essential: These deployments (typically even numbered SDDC versions such as 1.10 and 1.12) provide the stable base as the Organization (“Org”) default for all new SDDC deployments as well as upgrade targets for existing SDDC deployments. The Essential release includes all “v” sub-releases for that parent SDDC release number – e.g., 1.10v2, 1.10v3 etc. – with the latest sub-release being the default SDDC deployment and upgrade vehicle.

Optional: These are optional SDDC deployments (typically odd numbered versions such as 1.11, 1.13) that can be enabled based on customer request. The Optional release includes all “v” sub-releases for that parent SDDC release number – e.g., 1.11v2 etc. – with the latest sub-release being the optional SDDC deployment and upgrade vehicle.

The table below illustrates the differences between both release flavors.

Essential Optional
Examples 1.10, 1.12 1.11, 1.13
Frequency ~ 6 months ~ 6 months
New SDDC deploy Org default set to Essential Exception process to request new deploy
Upgrade All SDDCS will be upgraded to every Essential release Exception process to request upgrade to Optional release


There is no change to Documentation, SLA, GSS, SRE support across these releases. Full support and access to online documentation will be available.

By introducing these two flavors of releases, customers now have the flexibility to skip an “Optional” release. For more information, please contact VMware GSS or your VMware customer success representative.

Commonly asked questions:

Q: What is the default version for new SDDC deployments?  

A: By default, all new SDDC installs will be on an Essential version.

Q: How can I get access to deploy an Optional SDDC version? 

A: Customers can request an Optional version through GSS.

Q: Can Optional SDDC versions be used for production deployments?  

A: Yes. Optional SDDC versions are fully backed by the VMware Cloud on AWS SLA and include GSS support.

Q: Can I have an Org with a mix of Essential and Optional SDDCs?  

A: It is highly recommended to maintain a consistent SDDC version within an Org.

Q: If I start off with an Optional SDDC version, what will be my upgrade version?  

A: The Optional SDDC will be upgraded to the next available Essential SDDC version.



For other information related to VMware Cloud on AWS, here are some more learning resources for you:

About the Authors

Suzy Visvanathan

Sr. Product Line Manager at VMware

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