Currently running vsphere essentials for our little IT Dept. Running v7 on two hosts, each with 7 to 8 VMs. Hosts are HPE ProLiants bought from a local vendor who also sold us the vSphere license, but they're not a VMWware partner or anything, they just sold us the thing we we bought the hardware.
I have budgeted this year an upgrade to Essentials Plus, mainly so I can get vMotion and juggle machines without shutting them down.
But, I'm not sure if it's best to upgrade from 7 to 8 (or if I even need to yet since v7 looks like it's supported for a couple more years) before I get Essentials plus or after. In fact, the Online Store makes no mention of a version# with E+, so I'm not even sure if I MUST be on 8 to get it at all.
Any tips/best practice when doing a couple simultaneous things like this?
Once you buy a vSphere license, you always get the latest version. However, you can downgrade (and later upgrade again) your license keys to the required version in your customer connect portal.
First check the compatibility matrix for your hardware support for version 8, see doc:
vMotion is supported for both version 7 and version 8, so you can go for Essentials Plus anytime even before and after upgrade.
If your server is compatible with version 8, it better to go with the latest.