For the past few months, we’ve been busy at Mosaic implementing vSphere 5 upgrades for many of our customers. This late adoption of the newest version is not uncommon, as this is the way it goes in terms of new technology. In most cases, any new version of software is not very popular until four to six months after it’s been released. This is because most IT professionals follow the mantra of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If you do – that will cause hate and discontent in your department and ultimately, you’re the one who has to fix it.

Sure, there will always be a small subset of people who want to have the latest and greatest versions of anything, right away. Those on the fleeting edge will occasionally find bugs in the programs, or find that the new version just doesn’t interact the way the older version did. This creates a learning curve and an additional knowledge base for the early adopters. Typically in four to six months, the new version has had time to be flushed out and an improved solution is ready to be adopted.

That is the wave that we find ourselves in right now. Everyone is ready to upgrade, and for good reason. When vSphere 5 was first released, I wasn’t pushing my customers into an upgrade simply because I’m of the same mindset – “Let’s sit back for a while and let things stabilize.” Now, moving forward, performance has dramatically improved in version five. There are a lot of high-end features to vSphere 5, but it’s the basic features that will impact the everyday VMware admin – and those are the ones that will make the difference.

vSphere 5 has three key benefits that make upgrading worth your while:

  1. Data protection – vSphere 5 can now support virtual machines up to four times more powerful than previous versions. This allows for a much better overall end-user experience. With version five, you can have bigger file systems that allow you to put more of your data together in a consistent format. Additionally, you can now thin provision the data that you don’t need, allowing for the proper interaction between the software and the array itself.
  2. High Availability – The high availability of protection in version five is much improved and allows for better resilience in the environment. In the event of a failure, high availability is the feature that would automatically start from a virtual machine somewhere else. In order to make this possible, version five was reloaded completely from the ground up and is now far more robust. Different methodologies make sure that the server is really down, as opposed to just having lost its network connectivity. There really are no metrics to measure its efficiency – it just works better and has a lower chance of failing.
  3. Storage Optimization – In vSphere 5, storage optimization is much better and more efficient. You can now set the storage policy of your virtual machine and automatically manage the balancing and placing of the VM across your storage resources. IT personnel are no longer needed to monitor or control your storage capabilities.

Do you think it’s time to look at upgrading your vSphere environment to version five? So do we. There are three key things to do ahead of an upgrade to be sure you’re optimizing your existing infrastructure as well. First, do an assessment of your environment – make sure it’s healthy and capable of handling an upgrade. Next, based on those results, optimize your environment as part of ongoing structural changes to make it more efficient along the way. Finally, check to make sure your environment is configured correctly.

Upgrading to vSphere 5 is a great starting point and foundation, especially if you want to roll out VMware View or Site Recovery Manager, or looking to extend out into the cloud. All of these things integrate with version five, so just making that first step puts you in a good position for future upgrades and enhancements to your virtual environment.

Does it sound like vSphere 5 could be right for you? We’re ready to come in and perform that assessment of your environment. We can take you through the upgrade and ensure that it’s both quick and painless. At Mosaic Technology, we’re here to make sure you’re getting the most out of your virtual environment. Contact us today to get the ball rolling.