FAQ: vFabric Suite Integration and Off-Cycle Releases

VMware certifies the products listed in the vFabric Suite 5.2 Component table as an integrated suite of components. This certification ensures seamless integration when you use components together in development or production deployment environments.

In addition to the specific component versions listed in the component table, all Maintenance releases within each component Minor release line are fully integration tested and supported with vFabric Suite. For example, support for vFabric tc Server 2.8.0 ensures full integration testing and certification for vFabric tc Server 2.8.1, 2.8.2, and so on, within the context of vFabric Suite 5.2.

Because vFabric Suite components are loosely coupled, component products may release independently of a vFabric Suite release in order to meet their distinct customer needs in a timely manner. Thus a particular component occasionally requires an off-cycle Major or Minor standalone release. A vFabric Suite license includes full production support for an off-cycle release of a component only when that component becomes formally included in a Generally Available (GA) vFabric Suite release.

Can I get early access to off-cycle component releases?

Yes, customers can get early access to licensed releases for development and evaluation use only.

How do I get access?

The easiest way for you to access an off-cycle release is to download and install an evaluation version from http://www.vmware.com/products/. Evaluation downloads provide a 60-day evaluation cycle, which in many cases is sufficient time for the next official version of vFabric Suite to be released.

What if I need a non-evaluation license?

Your existing vFabric Suite license covers your non-evaluation use. However, in some cases a component product may implement runtime constraints that are recognized by the installed license key and that may require an updated license key in order to run correctly in non-evaluation mode. VMware will publish a Knowledge Base (KB) article for each off-cycle release that tells you whether an updated license key is required, and if so, tells you how to obtain and install it. Search the KB archive using your product name and off-cycle as keywords.

What support am I as a vFabric Suite customer entitled to for off-cycle releases?

Support is provided to you equivalent to development use. VMware makes every attempt to work with you and resolve any issues with an off-cycle product release. However, VMware does not identify any issues as production-critical because this particular support is for development use only. Because only development-level support is offered for the off-cycle product, customers are encouraged to use the latest available vFabric Suite release components when working with the off-cycle version.

As previously mentioned, a vFabric Suite license includes full production support for an off-cycle release of a component only when that component becomes formally included in a Generally Available (GA) vFabric Suite release.

Why doesn't VMware offer vFabric Suite production support for off-cycle releases?

VMware does significant integration testing for each vFabric Suite release. Certifying a specific combination of component product versions on a twice-yearly basis gives customers a predictable and consumable release schedule. This schedule allows customers to deploy applications with the confidence that production support is available and consistent on that combination of products over an extended period. Because VMware does not perform full integration testing of all vFabric Suite components with each off-cycle release of a particular vFabric Suite component, we are not prepared to offer production support for the use of an off-cycle release with vFabric Suite as an integrated suite of component technologies.

As previously mentioned, a vFabric Suite license includes full production support for an off-cycle release of a component only when that component becomes formally included in a Generally Available (GA) vFabric Suite release.

Can I still get production support for the standalone product?

Yes. All off-cycle releases are certified for production use in the context of their use as a standalone product. Note that full production support for an off-cycle release generally requires a license for the standalone product that is separate from a vFabric Suite license.

Can I mix and match component versions between vFabric Suite versions?

If you are using two components in an integrated fashion and depending on them to work together seamlessly, you need to use component versions from the same vFabric Suite version to ensure component compatibility. However, if your use requires no integration between the components, you can mix and match to suit the upgrade and deployment needs of your application.