For IT folks in the Enterprise space, the release of a new version of vSphere means it’s time to start designing their next platform implementation. In most shops I’ve worked, Fall/Winter is where you spend time working on these designs. Budgets are tapped out, seasonal holidays start, big projects slated for the next fiscal year haven’t started yet and change freezes in many verticals mean “Business As Usual” becomes a little more introspective. In shops with large IT infrastructure, the next platform is not based on the upcoming or current release, but an implementation of the previous version of product. Many call this the “n – 1” strategy. Where n is the latest General Availability (GA) release, n – 1 is the version before the GA version. This version has been in the wild for so long, the presumption is that all of the bugs and performance issues are fixed. No new features will be added, and as a result, no new instabilities – it’s considered stable enough for enterprise production infrastructures.
There are some solid arguments against using an n-1 strategy. Quality Assurance teams in software organizations like VMware work tirelessly to ensure that GA releases are production ready, so the risk of instability is small. By limiting yourself to a previous version of a product, you won’t be able to take advantage of the latest features available. But many large enterprises prefer to bet their business on n – 1, choosing a conservative risk posture over the latest features and benefits.
In the spirit of the upcoming design season, and with the release of vSphere.next on the horizon, here’s a collection of links to get you started on your vSphere 5.5 implementation plans.
VMware documents, blog posts & Knowledge Base articles:
What’s New in vSphere 5.5
vSphere 5.5 Configuration Maximums
Performance Best Practices for vSphere 5.5
Deploying Latency-Sensitive Applications in vSphere 5.5
What’s New in vSphere Flash Read Cache 5.5
What’s New in VSAN
Enhanced LACP support in vSphere 5.5
MSCS Enhancements in vSphere 5.5
vSphere Replication 5.5 Performance Findings
One last link for you. The VCAP-DCD certification is relatively new, and it’s built to test IT professionals on their ability to design & implement large, multi-site virtualized environments. Whether you choose to work on that certification or not, the exam blueprint has a number of links to documents and tools that will help you in your efforts to deploy 5.5!