VMworld 2016 generated a whiz-bang of announcements around new and enhanced advanced software-defined datacenter technologies. It’s easy to forget about the crown jewel of VMware’s business – the VMware vSphere platform.
VMware vSphere has become such a staple in a majority of datacenters that it gets little fanfare at conferences like VMworld. The reality is VMware ESXi 6.0 is still a critical component for realizing the exciting visions around modernizing datacenters, hyper-converged technologies, and achieving DevOps IT that’s also part of a larger hybrid cloud.
If you’ve been hesitant on upgrading to vSphere 6, here are some of the top reasons why you should take the plunge.
No Longer A “Dot-Zero”
IT professionals cringe when deploying anything that ends in a dot-zero. Deploying these releases are akin to a public beta test, as a software publisher cannot possibly test every type of environment and scenario that exists in actual production within their customers’ sites.
IT professionals usually wait for a service pack update or two before deploying a major new technology. VMware vSphere 6.0 has had two major updates so far and currently sits at 6.0 Update 2 (6.0U2).
vSphere 5.0 & 5.1 are “End of Support” now (and 5.5 comes up in 2018!)
A couple of major versions of VMware vSphere, 5.0 and 5.1, ended general support in August 2016. This means VMware will no longer publish security updates and software patches for both versions. Even if you are running vSphere 5.5, now is an optimal time to upgrade and get ahead of the curve, as the end of support of vSphere 5.5 will come up in just two short years.
Continued Datacenter Scalability
Intel just released their 7th generation of Core processor architecture, and typically new processor architectures are not fully supported on older editions of vSphere. Upgrading to vSphere 6.0 ensures that your datacenter will remain compatible with newer hardware solutions for the foreseeable future.
vSphere 6 brings enhancements to two long-standing features, vMotion and Fault Tolerance, in a big way.
In the past, Fault Tolerance required special processor instruction sets and restricted to virtual machines with 1 vCPU assigned. vSphere 6 removes the processor limitations, allowing fault tolerance VMs to operate with up to 4 vCPUs assigned.
vMotion can now be triggered between different vSwitches and even between two different vCenter Server management platforms, with up to a 150ms ping turnaround on the network. This allows for true workload mobility and disaster-avoidance, the ability to move a live workload to a wholly different datacenter in case of forecasted weather events, planned downtime, or other events. Combined with NSX and/or Site Recovery Manager, this feature becomes even more powerful when you realize that you can do this workload movement without worrying about changing network connectivity or security policies. This extends your datacenter beyond physical (and even virtual!) boundaries.
Most Exciting Enhanced Technologies Require vSphere 6
Are you considering software-defined networking with NSX? Software-defined storage with Virtual SAN?
In the case of NSX 6.2, while you can install it on vSphere 5.5, you cannot take advantage of some of the most powerful features of the software like cross-vCenter NSX features that allow you to stretch network and security policies across multiple datacenters.
In the case of Virtual SAN, the latest release, VSAN 6.2, is actually embedded into the code of the vSphere ESXi 6.0U2 hypervisor and there’s no way of running it separately.
To learn more about vSphere 6 or to obtain help with next steps, please email email@example.com.