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In previous posts related to vSphere 5 upgrade, I’ve talked several time about the HCL and his relevance. For a production environment, have a completed supported configuration, in each parts (hardware, software, firmware, …) IMHO is mandatory. But “not supported” not always means “not working”.
There are different scenarios with an “unsupported configuration”:
- It works fine, but with some (usually well-know) limits: for example with a SQL Express database for vCenter Server and more than 3 hosts or 50 VMs… it works but you may fill the DB and reach the 4 GB max of SQL Express.
- Technically it works, but there is no commercial support on it: for example when you use a supported hardware, but its maintenance is expired.
- It’s in the HCL, but you do not meet some requirements: so it works, but is not tested… and you can have issues (that could be difficult to troubleshoot). For example with an old firmware on a server or storage.
- It isn’t in HCL, but somebody say that it works. For example the several whitebox configuration for hardware that are able to run ESXi.
- it does not work (or it works but isn’t stable enough): in this case it is really simple… you cannot use it!
But please note, that an unsupported configuration, also if it works, means that the technical support may refuse (or not resolve) a case. This could be a reason enough to discourage this kind of solutions in a production environment.
Site to check for compatibility of VMware vSphere:
- Hardware Compatibility List (HCL)
- VMware Product Interoperability Matrix (software components compatibility)
- Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP) for Microsoft software in a virtual environment