VMware vSphere 6 was groundbreaking when it was introduced in February 2015, paving the way for the virtualization of mission-critical applications and services. Its scale, performance and availability made IT managers more comfortable with virtualizing applications that demand high I/O and low latency.
VMware built on that foundation with the release of vSphere 6.5 in October 2016. This version provided a universal application platform and integrated security. Built on the vCenter Server Appliance, vSphere 6.5 was also easier to deploy and enabled complete visibility and centralized management across the virtualized environment.
Next came vSphere 6.7. Released in April 2018, vSphere 6.7 provided greater support for diverse applications and hybrid cloud environments. It featured an enhanced user experience, simplified administration and updates, and significant performance improvements.
vSphere 7 was introduced in March 2020. This latest version offers a host of features not available in earlier releases, including intrinsic security, container support, improved configuration management and more.
vSphere 6.x products, while innovative when released, have been superseded by vSphere 7. As a result, VMware is sunsetting them. General Support for vSphere 6.5 and 6.7 will end on Oct. 15, 2022, and Technical Guidance will end on Nov. 15, 2023. General Support for vSphere 6 ended on March 12, 2020.
End of General Support for vSphere 6.5 and 6.7 was originally slated for Nov. 15, 2021. However, the COVID-19 pandemic created operational and strategic challenges for many organizations, so VMware decided to extend it to give customers more time to plan. The End of Technical Guidance date did not change.
Organizations that are running these products should move quickly to upgrade to the latest version. End of General Support means that VMware won’t be issuing security patches or updates, putting the IT environment at risk.
The VMware Product Lifecycle
The VMware product lifecycle comprises four phases:
- General Availability. VMware has released the product for installation on supported systems, with full support (24×7 for most licenses) and subscription services.
- End of General Support. VMware no longer supports the product. There are no security patches, bug fixes, OS updates or hardware support. If the product has a Technical Guidance Phase, users will be directed to a self-help portal, or may open online support tickets in certain cases.
- End of Technical Guidance. The Technical Guidance Phase, if available, has ended and VMware no longer offers any technical support for the product.
- End of Availability. The product is no longer available from VMware.
Generally, VMware announces product lifecycle dates well in advance. There is also a Product Lifecycle Matrix to aid in planning.
Overcoming Upgrade Challenges
Upgrading to vSphere 7.x isn’t always straightforward. Not all hardware that supports vSphere 6.x will support vSphere 7. Customers will need to analyze their production platforms and potentially make hardware upgrades. Sufficient time should be allocated due to supply chain issues within the IT industry.
Additionally, upgrading vSphere requires careful consideration of integrations and compatibilities. This can be time-consuming, particularly when mission-critical applications are involved. The vSphere upgrade process needs to be thoroughly planned, and infrastructure assessed to ensure that it can support mission-critical application requirements.
That’s why it’s important to begin the upgrade process sooner rather than later. To ensure a successful transition, organizations should also consider partnering with a technology integrator who understands what hardware and software are compatible. Cerium’s experts are here to help you evaluate your environment and develop an upgrade plan.
While sophisticated virtualization platforms have removed longstanding obstacles to virtualizing mission-critical applications, some versions of these venerable products are reaching End of General Support. Contact Cerium for assistance with your upgrade to vSphere 7.
We're here to help!
If your organization is running vSphere 6.x, you should start planning now to upgrade to vSphere 7 before Oct. 15, 2022. Cerium is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a thorough assessment of your environment so that we can develop a strategic plan that will ensure a smooth transition.