Following a usual weekly phone call with one of my old colleagues, the question of upgrades raised its head.
The issue was focused around a vSphere 5.5 to 6.0 upgrade but it did make me realise I had not recently checked the support Matrix for End of Support.
In both cases, the level of support can vary dependant on Product Family and expected customer (e.g. Consumer / Enterprise).
The one that stands out for me, as I still hear of it within mainly Enterprise customers, is the end of General Support for vSphere 5.0 / 5.1 which ends on the 24/08/2016. So not long should you have a big upgrade to plan and complete.
So what if I am out of General Support, no biggie! I hear you cry. Well this could be true for many customers and it all depends on your company’s appetite for risk and running out of mainstream support. You will notice that the above screenshot shows that the lifecycle policy for ESXI falls under the EIP (Enterprise Infrastructure Policy). If we follow that link we can find what the definitions are.
General Support Phase
The General Support phase begins on the date of general availability of a Major Release (“GA”) and lasts for a fixed duration. During the General Support phase, for customers who have purchased VMware support, VMware offers maintenance updates and upgrades, bug and security fixes, and technical assistance as per the Support and Subscription Terms and Conditions.
Technical Guidance Phase
Technical Guidance, if available, is provided from the end of the General Support phase and lasts for a fixed duration. Technical Guidance is available primarily through the self-help portal and telephone support is not provided. Customers can also open a support request online to receive support and workarounds for low-severity issues on supported configurations only. During the Technical Guidance phase, VMware does not offer new hardware support, server/client/guest OS updates, new security patches or bug fixes unless otherwise noted. This phase is intended for usage by customers operating in stable environments with systems that are operating under reasonably stable loads.
End of Support Life (EOSL)
A product has reached its end of support life when it is no longer generally supported by VMware. End of support life for a specific product is either end of General Support or end of Technical Guidance, if available for that specific product.
What does it all mean?
In the above I have highlighted the key takeaways but in a nutshell once you move in to Technical Guidance, there are no new security or bug fixes, no phone support, and you cannot log high severity calls. Now I am not sure how rigorously these would be enforced if you infrastructure was down (I have always found VMware Support very helpful) but it is another hurdle you would have to navigate should you have an issue on your production environment.
Risk vs Reward
If vSphere 6 is just too new, especially given some of the CBT bugs found that my friend Dean Lewis has blogged at length about, then I would suggest at least moving to 5.5 as the end of General Support for 5.5 is until 19/09/2018.
As always it is about your Company, and your processes but i thought it would be better to call it out now rather than August 🙂
Thanks for reading