As of July 2017, VMware Enterprise was no longer available for purchase. While most news outlets out there still says you can renew your VMware Enterprise support through March of 2020, we are now hearing from VMware that this date is extended into 2022. The exact date, however, has not yet been defined.
While this provides a bit of a delay for you having to decide what to do next, here are the different paths you can consider for when 2022 comes.
Option 1: Keep Enterprise and Live Without Support
While going unsupported leaves you without features and help if you run into an issue, it’s a valid option that many organizations will take. Currently, vSphere is on 6.7 and it will continue to function with Enterprise keys. We suspect that vSphere 7 might require new keys, but that’s probably several years away. So, you could ride out your support to 2022 and wait until something else drives you to upgrade, like licensing new hosts or upgrading to vSphere 7.
Any new hosts you add to your clusters going forward will have to be Standard or Enterprise Plus, though, and that will make management of your environment and your licensing a little more complex.
Option 2: Upgrade Everything to Enterprise Plus
With Enterprise Plus you’ll get some added functionality, like distributed switching, distributed resource scheduling (DRS) and VM encryption. So, if you need any of these features, a full move to Enterprise Plus makes sense.
If you go this route, remember to budget for larger licensing and ongoing support costs throughout the years.
Option 3: Let Your Enterprise Expire and Buy Standard
VMware Standard meets the basic needs of most SMBs. Even though Enterprise Plus’s advanced features are nice to have, they may not be necessary. The only important feature missing from Standard that most organizations use is DRS, and if you can manage your environment well without it, then VMware Standard might be your best option.
Standard is a significantly lower cost from both a licensing and a support renewal perspective.