What happens if you let VMware Support Expire?

There is a pretty short answer to this question. If you purchase perpetual permanent licenses for your VMware vSphere infrastructure (or Horizon) and let the Support Subscription lapse, you lose the ability to get upgrades or support. Let’s dive a bit deeper into that statement though.

Upgrade entitlements

When you purchase your license, you are entitled to all minor upgrades for the life of the product. So if you purchase vSphere 6.x licensing and let your subscription expire, you will still be able to download all 6.x patches and upgrades.. so 6.0, 6.5, and 6.7 would have been covered by your 6.x licensing with all patches in between. You would NOT be able to download 7.x software though without current support.

Technical Support

This one is pretty easy to understand I think. If your support subscription expires, you can no longer call 800-VMware for technical support. I mean, you can probably still call but you will have to pay a per-incident fee. So if your subscription expires, you are on your own with just this blog and Google to help you.

I understand your environment is down but I’m going to need some sort of credit card or purchase order to actually help you.

Lloyd Braun

Tech Support

Reinstatement fee

So the scenario I hear about with budget-constrained clients is – Purchase the VMware license, run it for 2 or 3 years leveraging the minor updates and then buy back in when it is time to do a major upgrade. In practice, this rarely works out. When you go to reinstate your Subscription, you will be asked to pay back all missed fees retroactively plus a 20% reinstatement fee. The other choice is to just purchase new licenses and toss the old ones. From speaking with the sales folk at IPM, renewal costs are about 25% of the software licenses so you would need to run SnS free for at least 4 years to actually save money assuming you want to upgrade at some point in the future.

Here is the actual wording from VMware’s Terms and Services (that no one reads) 🙂

Section 3.1 (c)
“(c) For Software that is licensed on a perpetual basis, if Customer purchases Services after acquiring the Licenses, or had elected not to renew Services and later wishes to re-enroll in the Services, Customer must move to the then-current Major Release of the Software and must pay: (i) the applicable Services Fees for the current Services Period; (ii) the amount of Services Fees that would have been paid for the period of time that Customer was not enrolled in the Services, and (iii) a twenty percent (20%) reinstatement fee on the sum of the Services Fees in (i) and (ii).”


Based on the renewal costs and the rate of upgrades plus the reinstatement fee, it will most likely be a very small minority that would find financial benefit from running without support. For the vast majority of businesses, VMware has structured the financial incentives and terms in a way that pretty much compels the businesses to keep renewing the Support. Without financial gains, it seems like a major risk to run production software without the ability to call the vendor for tech support.

Additionally, with the new change in version numbers, it is possible the window for downloading minor releases will get even shorter. As an example, switching from Horizon 8 to 2006 (June[06] 2020), the definition of a major release might be at most 12 months when the first part switches (2101 for instance). I’m not exactly sure how this is going to be handled but this seems like an additional strike against running without renewals.

Happy Renewing!