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UPDATE: VMware vSphere Enterprise is no longer available for purchase or support. View our latest VMware content here.

As of June 30th, VMware vSphere Enterprise was EOL and no longer available for purchase (although support for existing Enterprise licensing is still available through 2020).

VMware 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

The updated model simplifies navigating VMware’s suites, making it easier to select the one right for your business. The transition did create some uncertainty for users supporting their environment with vSphere Enterprise or vSphere Enterprise with Operations Management.

If you are not planning to add hosts in the future then you can continue in this environment, however; support ends in 2020. And, if you plan to expand your cluster you must evaluate how you want to move forward with VMware’s new model.

Here are the 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 upgrade costs of moving existing licensing from Enterprise to Enterprise Plus. However, expect some issues with feature-set gaps between existing hosts (licensed on Enterprise) and new hosts (licensed onStandard or Enterprise Plus). Basically, imagine the lowest common denominator. Your environment can only deploy the feature sets of the lowest licensed suite cluster-wide. Making it a disparate environment and making management of the licensing more complicated than it already was. Another potential issue comes in March of 2020 when vSphere Enterprise reaches EOS. At this point, users are forced to upgrade their existing Enterprise licensing to Enterprise Plus (at full upgrade prices) or let these licenses expire and purchase new vSphere Standard licenses to support those hosts licensed with Enterprise.
  2. The recommended approach: upgrade your existing Enterprise licenses to Enterprise Plus and purchase Enterprise Plus for any new hosts added to the cluster. Having a uniform environment is ideal and always easier to manage.  VMware makes 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 alleviates the feature set gap issue mentioned in Option 1 and would help you avoid the looming EOS date for vSphere Enterprise in 2020.

Why vSphere Enterprise Plus?

With these changes and deep savings in play, many users are evaluating a move to Enterprise Plus. Enterprise Plus has numerous features that make it extremely attractive for pursuing the SDDC vision. Most notably, vSphere Enterprise Plus gives you access to:

  • vSphere Distributed Switch – No longer configuring virtual network at the host level with individual virtual standard switches, but holistically configuring 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 robust 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 storing 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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