VMware vCenter 2.5 Update 4 was released this week and the top bloggers already covered some of the important changes in this release. I wanted to take a moment to explain a nice improvement with the recent vCenter (VirtualCenter) releases that may have gone unnoticed.
First, some background: VMware makes extensive use of build numbers to track specific releases of products. As of version 2.5, the vCenter Server distribution includes a number of other components, such as Update Manger and Converter — along with a “Unified Installer” to make the installation of these various components more straightforward for customers.
As for the workflow, first the individual products are built and then they are all packaged up in the .zip or .ISO file with the unified installer, which itself has a build number. One side-effect of this is that the package customers download has the build number of the installer in the filename instead of the vCenter Server build number — which led to some confusion.
For example, take a look at this entry from the VI3 download page for an older release:
VMware vCenter Server 2.5 Update 2
Version: 2.5 Update 2 | 2008/07/25 | Build: 104263
It’s not obvious to the casual observer that the build number referenced there is for the unified installer and not vCenter. In fact, in my previous role at VMware, I spent a lot of time analyzing customer Service Requests (SRs) looking for trends. I noticed that there were a fair number of customers with a similar concern along the lines of:
“I downloaded VC 2.5 build 104263 and after installing, it shows up as build 104215. Did something go wrong with my upgrade?”
I explained the situation to several groups at VMware and and we came up with a pretty simple solution — rename the files that will be distributed to customers, replacing the build number with something meaningful to humans. This took effect with VC 2.5 Update 3 and Update 4 continues the trend.
I hope you enjoy VMware-VIMSetup-2.5.0-U4-English.iso. Please read the release notes — much time and effort goes into producing them in order to give customers the best possible experience.