VMware’s vSphere 5.5 has served countless businesses, and many Red Level clients, exceedingly well. As a cloud computing virtualization platform, vSphere 5.5 placed features and functions that were undreamed of previously, and made managing complex hybrid cloud environments incredibly easy and effective. Our clients reported outstanding stability and security, and they came to count on vSphere 5.5 to a remarkable degree – and many have been more than a little reluctant to let it go.
Giving up vSphere 5.5, though, is now not a matter of choice, but of necessity. Even the best and most technologies ultimately reach their end-of-life, and vSphere was originally scheduled to go “End of Support” last year. To their credit, VMware pushed back the timeline in response to users’ requests, but that grace period is now coming to an end.
As of September 19, support for vSphere 5.5 will “go dark.” That means no more patches or security updates – and remaining on the outmoded platform will become a very risky proposition. Considering that this is now just a few days away, users who count on vSphere 5.5 can justifiably begin to get nervous at this point, if they aren’t already.
At this point, organizations should definitely upgrade beyond vSphere 5.5 on their existing servers – but the sad fact is that a quick and easy migration to the latest version of vSphere may not be possible for many. The current version of vSphere has some distinctly different hardware requirements than 5.5, and their existing infrastructure just may not be up to the task of running the state-of-the-art release. Fortunately, such users are not entirely without options.
Customers who are on an existing VMware support and service agreement are likely eligible for a no-cost upgrade to an iterative version that’s more current, still supported, and capable of operating well with their existing hardware. However, we feel that in most cases the best solution is a complete upgrade to the latest version of vSphere – and if necessary, upgrading hardware as well. The advantages of a complete upgrade are clear: The newest vSphere offers the best available features, functions and security. Users can expect sustained support for many years to come, and compatibility with the latest applications and technologies – both today and tomorrow. It’s a meaningful modernization that provides big payoffs to companies willing to make the leap. Naturally, though, this requires a more substantial investment, but we believe that most customers will find it to be well worth the price of admission.
All vSphere 5.5 customers will need to consider their position and evaluate whether an iterative move or a full-on upgrade is best suited to their needs and budgets. Whatever their decision, Red Level will be ready, willing and able to help throughout the upgrade process to ensure that it goes without a hitch. At this point, though, the important thing is to decide – and to make a move: The security and reliability of your hybrid cloud environment depends on it.