Nine FAQs for VMware vSphere ESXi End of Life

Nine FAQs for VMware vSphere ESXi End of Life | Loffler

This blog post was originally written to address end of support for VMware ESXi 5.5, but has been updated to include end of support dates for versions 6.0, 6.5, 6.7 and 7.0.

 

With some versions of VMware vSphere ESXi having reached or soon to reach their end of life, we prepared some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about what that may mean for your workplace and why you should care.

Lifecycle management is vital to the ongoing supportability, performance and availability of any business-critical IT system. Any software end of life is a good reminder to take a fresh look at your virtualization infrastructure. Doing so can help your organization identify opportunities to better its IT environment, including:

  • improved availability and reliability
  • increased performance
  • lower support costs
  • protection from data loss and disasters

This post focuses on the pending end of support date for VMware ESXi 5.5, but we’ve also included information for other versions.

Jump to a Question:

1. What is VMware vSphere ESXi?
2. What is a software end of life?
3. What VMware versions are ending?
4. When are the upcoming VMware vSphere ESXi end of life dates?
5. How do we know whether we’re running VMWare and which version?
6. What happens if we don’t update VMware vSphere ESXi?
7. What are the features included in the new versions of VMware vSphere EXSi?
8. Is our business at risk due to an unsupported version of VMware?
9. How do we upgrade to the newer version?

1. What is VMware vSphere ESXi?

VMware vSphere ESXi is a popular hypervisor that organizations use to create and manage virtual infrastructures in their IT environments.

2. What is a software end of life?      

End of Support Life (EOSL) occurs when a product is no longer supported by its manufacturer. End of support life for VMware is classified as either end of general support or end of technical guidance.

  • General Support Phase: General support for VMware typically starts on the day software is released and lasts until a pre-determined end date. Customers who have purchased support for their software receive maintenance updates, upgrades, bug fixes, security fixes and technical support.
  • Technical Guidance Phase: Technical guidance, if it is made available, goes from the end of general support to a pre-determined end date and is found via an online self-help portal. Customers can submit a support request online for support and workarounds for low-severity issues on supported configurations only. During the technical guidance, new hardware is not typically supported, nor are OS updates, new security patches or bug fixes. This phase is best for customers operating in stable environments with systems that are operating under reasonably stable loads.

3. What VMware versions are ending?

General support for VMware vSphere ESXi version 5.5 ended September 9, 2018.
General support for ESXi v 5.0 and 5.1 ended August 24, 2016.

4. When are the VMware vSphere ESXi end of life dates?

Important support dates:

VMware ESXi 5.0 and 5.1

  • End of General Support – August 24, 2016
  • End of Technical Guidance – August 24, 2018

VMware ESXi 5.5

  • End of General Support – September 9, 2018
  • End of Technical Guidance – September 9, 2020

VMware ESXi 6.0

  • End of General Support – March 12, 2020
  • End of Technical Guidance – March 12, 2022

VMware ESXi 6.5

  • End of General Support – November 15, 2021
  • End of Technical Guidance – November 15, 2023

VMware ESXi 6.7

  • End of General Support – October 15, 2022
  • End of Technical Guidance – November 15, 2023

VMware ESXi 7.0

  • End of General Support – April 2, 2025
  • End of Technical Guidance – April 2, 2027

5. How do we know whether we’re running VMWare and which version?

If you don’t know, the best thing to do is check with your IT department. If you don't have an IT department, contact Loffler's IT Solutions Group.

6. What happens if we don’t update VMware vSphere ESXi?

Your business may be at risk because VMware is under no obligation to provide product patches and updates. Security updates and bug fixes will no longer be supported. In addition, you may be missing out on new features, and there are other advantages to assessing your environment and selecting a modern approach to virtualization.

7. What are the features included in the new versions of VMware vSphere EXSi?

Notable new features in VMware vSphere 6.5:

  • New version of vCenter with enhanced features
    • vCenter Server Appliance High Availability
    • Fully integrated vSphere Update Manager
    • 3x increase in performance
    • HTML-5-based vSphere Client
  • Comprehensive security improvements
    • VM-level disk encryption
    • Secure boot model
    • Audit-quality logging
    • vMotion Encryption
  • Resource management improvements
    • Proactive HA detects and responds before a failure occurs
    • HA orchestrated restart to better control VM startup and dependencies
    • Enhanced host lifecycle management capabilities
    • Numerous improvements and enhancements to DRS, HA and Fault Tolerance

Notable new features in VMware vSphere 6.7:

  • Single reboot upgrade
  • Usability improvements and enhancements to the vCenter Server Appliance
  • Per-VM EVC – this is a huge improvement that allows individual VMs to be vMotioned between dissimilar hardware
  • ESXi quick boot can allow a host to reboot in less than two minutes
  • New configuration maximums
  • NVIDIA vGPU enhancements for graphics-intensive environments

8. Is our business at risk due to an unsupported version of VMware?

Below are some examples of questions to ask to self-assess your IT environment:

  • Does your business require increased performance or capacity for your server systems?
  • Which upgraded version is appropriate for your company?
  • Is it time to take advantage of new features and performance enhancements in ESXi 6.5, 6.7 or beyond?
  • Is your infrastructure ready to support an upgrade to a new version of ESXi?
  • Are you getting the best value for your current support subscription and licensed features?
  • Are you concerned about availability, data protection or disaster recovery?
  • What alternatives exist to maintaining your current configuration?
  • Is Hyperconverged computing right for our business?
  • Can you save money on hardware and software support?

9. How do we upgrade to the newer version?

We recommend you first assess your IT environment to make sure the upgrade you choose is a good fit for your infrastructure. If you need help with the assessment, contact an expert at Loffler. We can provide a VMware Health Check Assessment, which includes:

  • Assessment of VMware configuration
  • Assessment of performance and capacity
  • Assessment of server and storage hardware
  • Assessment of storage networking and server networking
  • Assessment of data protection and disaster recovery
  • Review of VMware licensing and support
  • Review of hardware lifecycle and support
  • Written report of findings and recommendations

Contact Loffler for a VMware Health Check Assessment

Read Next: Why an IT Consultant is Like a Personal Trainer for Your Business

Randy Anderson

Randy is a CISSP and Manager of the Cybersecurity and IT Consulting teams at Loffler Companies. He is currently focused on bringing his 25+ years of IT experience to bear on the development and delivery of new and enhanced security services that provide a practical approach to IT security. He enjoys long walks on the beach and never conducts online banking transactions when connected to public WiFi.

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