Be Careful What you Wish for…

I recently had a difficult conversation with a customer… They adopted VMware Cloud on AWS early in 2019, with a 3-host cluster. Their intent was to use the environment as a testing / staging area while they learn to operationalize their cloud environment. One morning they logged into their cloud and found their 3-host environment was now a 4-host environment, and they were being charged on-demand rates for the additional host! What happened? Why did we add a host? What were we thinking?

They didn’t realize in May of 2019 we had added a feature to automatically scale a cluster if datastore capacity thresholds were breached….

In this post, I would like to highlight how we notify you of upgrades / maintenance, and how to stay up to speed with ongoing feature releases in VMware Cloud on AWS.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way…

Notification of Upgrades

Do we inform you of impending updates? Of course we do!!!

The members of the VMware Cloud Organization will absolutely receive a notification of impending updates and maintenance. It will look like the email below:

Looks pretty innocuous, right? Careful though – you may see a reference to Release Notes at the bottom of the notification email!

It should go without saying, but –

Be sure to read the Release Notes!

I understand that many of our customers are probably not used to automatically receiving the latest vSphere software with no effort on their part – upgrading your infrastructure is after all labor intensive, fraught with risk and requires lots of planning (we know! we do this as a service for you!).

But consider – you receive automatic upgrades of vSphere. That right there should be enough to give you pause and start to think about what is available in the product, what you might take advantage of, and how to do so.

But we also periodically release additional capabilities in the product – for example automatic cluster scaling events if you run out of capacity on the datastore! Why would we do that? Frankly in this case it is easier to remediate than it would be if we were to let the datastore fill. Have you ever run out of space on a vSphere Datastore? Fixing it can be a real bear…

Not only do we notify you of impending maintenance via email, but you are also warned in the cloud portal, as depicted below:

As you can see in the graphic above, you have an option to “GO TO MAINTENANCE” where you can actually set your preferred maintenance window, as in the screens below.

Finally, the separate phases are broken out to inform you of the expected window for upgrades / maintenance to the Control Plane, Hosts, and NSX.

See the following blog for additional discussion and documentation on maintenance in VMware Cloud on AWS: https://cloud.vmware.com/community/2019/05/22/vmware-cloud-aws-understanding-sddc-updates-maintenance-visibility/

But always remember – READ THE RELEASE NOTES! You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find!

In my next post, I will review the entire upgrade procedure in a bit more detail, as well as provide an additional understanding of what to expect.

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