Being on the latest and greatest VMware ESXi version definitely can have it's benefits. Not only do you get the advantages of making use out of some of the new features, but 6.0 also has some scalability benefits that kick the butt out of 5.5. If you haven't checked on the EOS dates, 5.0 and 5.1 are slated to go end of support in August 2016. Version 5.5 should have support into late 2018.
One of the most important aspects of upgrading is to confirm that your current hosts are compatible with version 6.0. What you find may surprise you. Processors built before June 2006 will not work. Also, possibly to your surprise, many processors even made fairly recently won't work. Just this past week, Cyber Advisors ran into 3 customers that have fairly new blade environments (one had Cisco UCS and the other HP blades) that are not on the VMware HCL for 6.0. This may be an unexpected six figure expense for you.
In 2 of the cases above, Cyber Advisors has found the Dell FX2 system to be an excellent replacement candidate for HP and Cisco blades. Let me explain both cases:
Case 1: Customer had a C7000 blade chassis with all 16 blades full. These blades are not on the VMware HCL for 6.0. They had a quote to replace these with 6 new HP blades (and 10GB interconnects) for well over $120,000.
Cyber Advisors offering: Instead of replacing the HP blades, Cyber Advisors proposed an FX2 system with 4 high power server nodes (16 core processors and 1TB RAM) with build in redundant 10GB fabrics. This was into the customers hands at under 50K. In the end, the core count was the same and they had 10GB right in the box without expensive interconnects, and they are now using 2U instead of 10U of rack space.
Case 2: Customer had Cisco UCS with blades that were not able to be upgraded to ESXi 6.0 as they were not on the HCL. They had a chassis with 8 blades in production and DR. Upgrade costs were $112,000 on each side.
Cyber Advisors offering: A Dell FX2 with (8) FC430 server nodes in each 2U chassis (one on prod and one in DR) allowed them to replace the UCS blades at 2/3 the cost. Also included was an upgrade to 10GbE by using Dell N4032F redundant switches. The customer is also using 1/3 of the rack space.
Cyber Advisors offers free assessments around VMware environments. Would you like for us to get you a report of hardware not on the VMware ESXi 6.0 HCL? Use us as a "no cost" assistant to come in and map out your VMware upgrade strategies.