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VMware vSphere Enterprise is End of Life so What’s Your Next Step

UPDATE:  vSphere Enterprise to vSphere Enterprise Plus 50% off Promo Expiring July 29th, 2017!

For those of you that are unaware, as of June 30th VMware vSphere Enterprise is EOL and no longer available for purchase (although support for existing Enterprise licensing will be available through 2020). VMware has moved from the previous vSphere suites:

  • Standard
  • Standard with Operations Management (vSOM)
  • Enterprise
  • Enterprise with Operations Management (vSOM)
  • Enterprise Plus
  • Enterprise Plus with Operations Management (vSOM)

To the new, simplified vSphere suite licensing model:

  • Standard
  • Enterprise Plus
  • Enterprise Plus with Operations Management

While this model greatly reduces the complexity of navigating VMware’s suites, making it easier to choose which one is right for your business, it does create some uncertainty for those of you who are currently supporting your environment with vSphere Enterprise or vSphere Enterprise with Operations Management. If you are not planning to add hosts in the future then you don’t need to worry about anything until 2020 (cue ominous laugh). However, if you plan to expand your cluster then you definitely want to evaluate how you want to move forward with VMware’s new model. There are two options that you can choose between.

  1. Keep your existing Enterprise licenses and simply purchase vSphere Standard or Enterprise Plus for any new hosts added to the cluster. This is a viable option for those that don’t wish to incur the upgrade costs of moving your existing licensing from Enterprise to Enterprise Plus. However, you will run into the issue of feature set gaps between existing hosts (licensed with Enterprise) and new hosts (licensed with Standard or Enterprise Plus). Think of  the lowest common denominator; you’re environment will only be able to deploy the feature sets of the lowest licensed suite cluster-wide. This creates a disparate environment and can make management of the licensing more complicated than it may already be. Another potential issue will arise in 2020 when vSphere Enterprise reaches EOS. At this point you will be forced to upgrade your existing Enterprise licensing to Enterprise Plus (at the full upgrade price) or let those licenses die and purchase new vSphere Standard licenses to support those hosts licensed with Enterprise.
  2. Upgrade your existing Enterprise licenses to Enterprise Plus and purchase Enterprise Plus for any new hosts added to the cluster. This is the recommended course of action, as having a uniformed environment is ideal and always easier to manage.  VMware is making this option extremely attractive by offering an upgrade promotion that offers 50% off when you upgrade from vSphere Enterprise (or vSphere Enterprise with Operations Management) to vSphere Enterprise Plus  (or vSphere Enterprise Plus with Operations Management). This would alleviate the feature set gap issue mentioned in Option 1 and would help you avoid the looming EOS date for vSphere Enterprise in 2020. More details can be found here.

VMware vSphere Enterprise Upgrade Path

Why vSphere Enterprise Plus?

Many of you, and rightfully so considering the aggressive pricing promotion, are seeing this as a great time to move to Enterprise Plus. Enterprise Plus has numerous features that make it extremely attractive for those of you who are actively pursuing the SDDC vision. Most notably, vSphere Enterprise Plus gives you access to:

  • vSphere Distributed Switch – No longer configure your virtual network at the host level with individual virtual standard switches, but holistically configure your virtual network at the cluster level (one and done!). Provision, administer and monitor virtual networking across multiple hosts and clusters from a centralized interface. The vSphere Distributed Switch provides rich monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities, including rollback and recovery for patching and updating the network configuration, as well as templates to enable backup and restore for virtual networking configurations.
  • Host Profiles and Auto Deploy – Host profiles, which store configuration settings shared by vSphere hosts, can be attached to one or more vSphere hosts or clusters. The host configuration is compared to the host profile and any deviations are reported so configuration drift can be corrected automatically. Administrators can create a profile once and then use it for multiple vSphere hosts, eliminating the need for specialized scripts or manual configuration. When storage, network or security configuration changes are required on multiple hosts in a cluster, administrators can edit the host profile and apply it across the cluster.
  • Virtual Machine EncryptionData at rest encryption for VM data and disks.
  • Distributed Resource Scheduler – Automated VM load balancing across hosts within the cluster.

You can find a complete list of feature comparisons here.

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