Here is a quick reminder: on September 18th, 2018 VMware will end support for vSphere 5.5. In this article we will shed some light on the challenges and opportunities when migrating to version 6.5 and explain why a comprehensive strategy is key to a successful migration.
In IT it’s hard to say goodbye to a piece of long-standing and trusted technology. Particularly when it sits at the heart of your virtual environment.
However, this is what many companies will face on September 18th 2018, when VMware is pulling the plug on all support for vSphere 5.5 after five years of solid service.
With such change comes both challenge and opportunity:
vSphere 6.5 brings with it a host of new features and enhancements – from Virtual Volumes to Storage Policy-Based Management and vMotion. Read more
Remaining in an unsupported v5.5 environment introduces significant risks that have the potential to derail your entire strategy.
Migrating from v5.5 to v6.5 is a complicated endeavor that requires you to overcome some significant technical hurdles.
Potential Threats to Your Business
Where does the risk come from? vSphere 5.5 is deeply ingrained in many critical areas of a business’ IT infrastructure. Indeed, vSphere sits at the heart of a software-defined datacenter and is the fundamental building block of many cloud environments.
Taking away support, therefore, can lead to major business risks, as well as more operational concerns:
Discontinued support: after September, VMware Global Support Services can refuse support if the issue is related to vSphere 5.5 – which could impact other VMware solutions if problems are found to originate with vSphere 5.5.
Security exposure: the end of support means no more security updates, which in turn means your VMware environment will not be patched to counter emerging threats – unless you’re willing to pay exorbitant support fees to extend the arrangement.
Incompatible firmware updates: as hardware vendors will assume that you’re running a fully supported vSphere version, newer updates will not be designed for v5.5 – a problem that could affect your entire cloud environment.
Incompatible hardware: similarly, with hardware vendors anticipating a higher vSphere version than 5.5, it’s unlikely that any newly purchased kit in the future will support your ‘old’ arrangement.
Migration to vSphere 6.5
As for the migration itself, this too can potentially harm business-critical apps and databases.
As mentioned, vSphere is an integral component of any VMware product portfolio. That makes lifecycle management a great challenge when looking to move to vSphere 6.5 – from ensuring you’ve installed the right Platform Services Controller (PSC) to deploying compatible ESXi hardware.
There’s also the challenge of mapping areas of interoperability: with other VMware solutions, with 3rd party technologies (such as back-up/restore apps), and with any databases or other VMware solutions in your environment.
Developing a Comprehensive Strategy
Before you upgrade to vSphere 6.5, you need to review your entire vSphere configuration. Plus, if you’re looking to integrate a vSphere environment with your Microsoft Active Director infrastructure, you’ll also need to perform an in-depth functionality review.
On top of these technical hurdles, a migration to vSphere 6.5 could create potential compliance issues in terms of software licensing, and you’ll need to assess how the upgrade will impact your license portfolio.
In other words: there’s a lot of planning to be done, a lot of ‘moving parts’ and a lot of opportunity for human error.
Calling on the IT Expert
So how can SoftwareONE help? - The first step is to offer assistance in getting the planning and preparation phase off to a good start. What are the complexities and potential risks involved in your migration? Our experts are glad to help you answer these questions and develop a specific roadmap for your migration.