The general support timeframe for VMware vSphere 5.5, including both ESXi and vCenter, ends later this year – specifically, September 19. That might not seem close, but a few months can burn by quickly in the IT world. While there are some options for extended support at a very premium price, we strongly urge anyone who is on VMware 5.5 or below to upgrade to VMware 6.5.
VMware 6.5: Vetted and Ready
Although we are very cautious with new releases at InterWorks, VMware 6.5 has been out for quite some time. While we started using it for new installs only, we have been successfully upgrading customer environments for the past several months.
With any new version, there are many new features, functionality changes and compatibility concerns to consider. We are unaware of any compatibility defects or major issues at this point from related products, so long as those products are also kept under support and up to date. Additionally, we’re past the bake/soak-in period, as the first update released back in November.
Why You Should Upgrade to 6.5
So, the update works. That’s great, but why should you really update to 6.5? Aside from support being good to have in a pinch and the upgrade being free for existing customers, there are several new enhancements and features coming from 5.5. Here are just a few:
- The vCenter migration tool – The vCenter Server 6.5 installer has a built-in migration tool to help move to the new version, especially to the appliance.
- vCenter high availability – Natively supported in 6.5, you can create clusters of vCenter appliances.
- Updated web client – The HTML5 web client is improved and more widely adopted, but it’s also the only option. While this may seem like a point of administrative pain, this has been coming down the wire for a while. It’s time to update.
- Encryption – vSphere 6.5 allows for the encryption of VMs at the hypervisor level for any guest OS or datastore type. Along with that, on a per-VM basis, you can support vMotion encrypted in-transit.
- HA & DRS – There are several improvements here, including DRS taking into consideration network utilization, improved DRS load balancing decisions and proactive HA.
- Storage – More LUNs, NFS v4.1, automated UNMAP and advanced format drives.
Official release notes for VMware 6.5 can be found here.
The Final Word
There are many good posts about upgrade pros and cons, new features, update paths and all that, but we want everyone to know that our VMware experts are ready to jump in and help you with the upgrade. To that end, we will be reaching out to several of our clients in the coming days. If you’re new to InterWorks or want to get started now, you can get in touch with us below.