VMware is giving vSphere 6.5 and vCenter 6.5 users 11 months’ reprieve before ending support — which was due to end in November 2021. The move follows June 2020’s decision to also extend support for vSphere 6.7 through to October 15, 2022. VMware cited “challenges for some of our customers with regards to IT operations and strategic planning” resulting from a wholesale shift to remote working for the decision.
“The longer vSphere 6.5 supportability period is intended to help you work through an uncertain time with worry-free stability and introduce an added buffer period for planning future upgrades as you resume regular operations moving forward” said VMware VP Paul Turner on Friday March 26, 2021.
The extension comes with caveats: Adobe Flash was killed off at the end of 2020, but vCenter 6.5’s client needs it. VMware recommends that users “upgrade vCenter Server 6.5 instances to vCenter Server 6.7 and manage the ESXi 6.5 hosts using the upgraded vCenter Server 6.7 instances. vCenter Server 6.7 uses the HTML5-based web client as compared to Adobe Flash client in vCenter Server 6.5.”
VMware urged customers in June to make the switch to vSphere 7, released earlier in 2020, describing it as “the biggest enhancement to ESX in over a decade” and featuring the ability to run containerised applications natively on vSphere, “improved operations capabilities such as workload-oriented DRS, and enhanced intrinsic security.”
The company has been doubling down on its ability to support containerised workloads, including early in March with the acquisition of Mesh7, a security company. (“Once the deal closes, the integration of Mesh7’s contextual API behavior security solution with Tanzu Service Mesh will enable VMware to deliver high fidelity understanding of which applications components are talking to which using APIs” VMware noted on March 18 2021)
The company added at the time: “We know it takes time to plan and execute upgrades for vSphere, given how fundamental it is to our customers’ entire IT infrastructure footprint. This is especially true in the current environment.”