VMware vSphere 5.5 End of General Support

VMWare vSphere v5.5 reached the end of general support (EOGS) on 19th September 2018 with extended support ending on September 2020. VMWare strongly recommends customers upgrade to vSphere v6.5 or 6.7 and above to maintain a full level of support and subscriptions.

What does this mean for you?

EOGS means that VMware will no longer offer new hardware support, server/client/guest OS updates, new security patches or bug fixes unless otherwise noted. If you run into a problem and call the VMWare helpdesk after 19th September 2019, they will simply refer you to the knowledge base.

This introduces great risk to your data infrastructure and can impact security, reliability, regulatory, compliance and compatibility issues. Therefore, it is important to consider your options and next steps to move your data platform to the latest supported solution.

So what options are available to you?

  • Extend your support in one year increments for a maximum of two years after EOGS. Likely to be the most expensive option
  • Upgrade to vSphere 6.x. Requires careful planning to be done without risk and is the best option
  • Do nothing. Never the best option

Option 2 is 9/10 times the best one when a product goes EOGS, not only does it get you onto the latest version but also gives you access the new enhancements. However, you cannot go straight to vSphere 6.7 from 5.5, you have to either upgrade to 6.0/6.5 first or do a full migration. Also, a vCenter Server 6.0 or 6.5 instance managing ESXi 5.5 hosts cannot be upgraded or migrated until the hosts have been upgraded to ESXi 6.0 or later.

vSphere 6.7 brings a number of important enhancements to enrich your experience and provide a better end user experience. Some enhancements include:

  • Major performance improvements to significantly save time and costs – 2X faster vCenter Server operations/second, 3x memory reduction
  • Introductions of vCenter Server Hybrid Linked Mode, enabling unified visibility and manageability across an on-premises vSphere environment running on one version and a public cloud environment based on the vSphere platform, such as VMware Cloud on AWS, running on a different vSphere version
  • Simplification of the architecture and enhancements in monitoring to improve lifecycle management
  • Cross-cloud hot and cold migration for a seamless and non-disruptive hybrid cloud experience

Make the change with new hardware

Doing a major software revision upgrade can be a big task for any organisation, especially when the newer version is an architectural change, retiring old features and bringing in new ones.

A great time to carry out an upgrade like this is when you also have an upcoming hardware refresh. This provides an opportunity to evaluate newer technologies to best utilise the new software. It can also help to de-risk an upgrade as you can have the new environment sat side-by-side to the older one whilst you carry out testing and then the migration.

Software defined data centers are becoming ever more popular and VMWare is the technology leader in this space. When combining the move to vSphere 6.7 and a hardware refresh, you can start to look at vSAN for a core hyper-converged platform and NSX for software-defined networking.

Download VMware vSphere 6.7 Whitepaper

CDW helps to de-risk complex projects

At CDW, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience to help de-risk large projects such as this. Our solution architects and technical experts can offer the support you need to correctly assess your current environment, plan for a successful upgrade and remove complexity. Our processes streamlined over many years has allowed us to develop methodologies which reduce the time and cost for our customers. CDW have professional services to help carry out the work on your behalf, augmenting or freeing up your own resources.

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