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vSphere 6.5 Enhancements and Why You Should Upgrade

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vSphere 6.5 Enhancements and Why You Should Upgrade

vSphere 6.5 Enhancements

VMware updated vSphere to version 6.5 a little more than a year ago—and since a lot of customers tend to take a wait-and-see approach on software updates and new releases to ensure they really live up to the hype, it’s safe to say that vSphere 6.5 is stable, dependable, and built on infrastructure to keep up with new IT demands. If you haven’t upgraded yet, here are some reasons why you should consider making the move to vSphere 6.5.

While a changing IT landscape is exciting, it also comes with a new set of challenges such as combatting sophisticated cybersecurity threats. vSphere 6.5 offers comprehensive built-in security for protecting data, infrastructure, and network access more effectively. VM Encryption allows the encryption of a virtual machine, including disk and snapshots. Secure Boot for ESXi ensures that only digitally signed code runs on the hypervisor.

vSphere 6.5 also improved its ease of use. It now offers a more simplified experience for automation and management at scale and by having a universal app platform, the ability to run any app, anywhere has become that much better.

From an HA perspective, VMware’s vCenter High 6.5 has a new native high availability solution that is available exclusively for vCenter Server Appliance. This solution consists of active, passive, and witness nodes that are cloned from the existing vCenter Server instance. The VMware vCenter High Availability (vCenter HA) cluster can be enabled, disabled, or destroyed at any time. There is also a maintenance mode that prevents planned maintenance from causing an unwanted failover. This feature is a major improvement in HA configurations.

With ongoing new system requirements, it’s important to ask how up-to-date your environment is. VMware’s Wave Two technologies such as NSX, vSAN 6.5, VMware Cloud on AWS, or AppDefense, all require vSphere 6.5. If you’re considering any of those products, be sure to check all the system requirements. In addition, review the expanded hardware compatibility list as a hardware refresh may be required as well.

Last, vSphere (5.5.) is going end-of-support in September 2018 so if you’re on vSphere 5.5 and haven’t had a chance to upgrade, now’s a great time to do it. vSphere 6.5 was set as a major release so it has a five-year support cycle and will be supported until November 2021.

Upgrading your vSphere is not a simple process however; it’s not a point and click and call it a day procedure. It involves scoping out your environment, performing a health check, and applying the right set of rules to correctly and effectively ensure no loss of downtime while also maximizing the full potential of the software.

If you’re looking to perform an upgrade, GreenPages offers professional service engagements where we scope out your environment to ensure your upgrade is done correctly. You can certainly change the oil in your car, but why waste a good Saturday or worry if you’ve done it right when you can bring it to a mechanic who does hundreds of oil changes a day. Same with your VMware upgrade. Trust that your advisor will complete the upgrade correctly giving you peace of mind that your systems will see positive results.

For more information on how GreenPages can assist with your vSphere upgrade, please contact your Account Executive or sales@greenpages.com

By Rob O'Shaughnessy, Director of Software Sales and Renewals

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Back in 2008 I still had a faceplate for my car radio, Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis was crushing the pop charts, and organic bean sprouted bread was something you’d find in the pet food aisle. It’s also the year Microsoft released Windows 2008 and SQL 2008, leaving a lasting impression like a tune you can’t get out of your head. For Windows Server 2008, it was the first Windows edition that allowed you to license for virtualization. If you recall, there used to be an Enterprise Edition of Windows 2008 that allowed for 4 VMs and if you needed 12 VMs you had to purchase 3 licenses. Datacenter provided unlimited VMs, and Standard edition both covered standalone and virtual machines.  At the time Microsoft was really making us work to understand the minutia of their licensing rules. Thank goodness Microsoft’s licensing has gotten a lot easier to understand (insert sarcasm.) Windows 2008 and 2008 R2 and SQL 2008 and 2008 R2 had a good run, and like all good things, including Leona Lewis’s career, it will be coming to an end. SQL 2008 and 2008 R2 End of Support (EOS) is July 9, 2019. Windows 2008 and 2008 R2 EOS is January 14, 2020.  Once Microsoft products go EOS, Microsoft offers ZERO support for the product, meaning they’ll no longer provide updates and patching. With no support, it would leave the product vulnerable to security threats because no fixes will be available to prevent infiltration. Security updates are mission critical. In 2016, 4.2 Billion records were stolen by hackers. Twenty percent of organizations lose customers during an attack and 30% of organizations lose revenue during an attach. Not fun!  It would be like if John Rambo retired and stopped drawing blood, which is a bad analogy because Rambo: Last Blood is being released in September. This begs that question, is this really the Last Blood? Probably not, however you can be certain the Microsoft’s “Last Blood” is actually happening. So what to do when your support goes away? Well you’ll need to think about modernizing and in this case adopting cloud. It’s a good time to seize EOS as an opportunity to transform with Microsoft’s latest technologies. A jump to Azure will allow you to migrate your Windows 2008 and 2008 R2 workloads to Azure VM or Azure SQL Database. Customers who move 2008 and 2008 R2 workloads to Azure Virtual Machines (IaaS) “as-is” will have access to Extended Security Updates for both SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 for three years after the End of Support dates for free. Those that decide to move to Azure SQL Database Managed Instance (PaaS) will have access to continuous security updates, as this is a fully managed solution. Or you could stay with on-premises licensing and upgrade to Windows 2019 or SQL Server 2017 by leveraging your Software Assurance benefits to modernize on-premises or on Azure (i.e. Azure Hybrid Benefit), to help reduce security risks and continue to get regular security updates. Regardless of what investment you decide to make, GreenPages can help right-size you for the future and ensure your data continues to be protected. To have further conversations about Windows 2008 and 2008 R2 and SQL 2008 and 2008 R2, please connect with your Account Executive or reach out to us!