VMware 5.0 Licensing Changes: Your voices have been heard

VMware 5.0 Licensing Changes: Your voices have been heard

Summary: VMware alters its 5.0 licensing model based upon customer feedback. Toast the company that listens to its constituents. Can a company run for public office?

TOPICS: VMware, Telcos

Do you think big companies don't listen to your insignificant voice? Ordinarily, I might agree that they don't. I would join the chorus in saying that big corporations bow to their boards and investors. And, we'd be right. However, VMware is different. They don't have to be different but they are. VMware is the Microsoft of the virtualization space and they don't have to pander to anyone's murmuring, complaining or whining. They could hold you for ransom. Some of you thought that's exactly what was happening with the new VMware 5.0 licensing model announced in mid-July. Today, VMware shows that its focus is on you, the customer.

They have heard your voice and have answered you.

The following is the meat of their announcement:

Nonetheless, these changes have generated a great deal of discussion and debate in the blogosphere, across the VMware communities, and in direct conversations with customers and partners. Some of the discussion has reflected confusion about technical terms and the exact nature of the changes. Other comments are more specific to customer and partner use cases and future planning. In all instances, we have been watching the commentaries on the blogs very carefully, and we have been listening to customers very intently. We have collected a huge amount of feedback about the impact of the new licensing model on every possible use case and scenario.

We are a company built on customer good will, and we take customer feedback to heart. Our primary objective is to do right by our customers. Therefore, we are announcing three changes to the vSphere 5 licensing model that address the three most recurring areas of customer feedback: We've increased vRAM entitlements for all vSphere editions, including the doubling of the entitlements for vSphere Enterprise and Enterprise Plus. We've capped the amount of vRAM we count in any given VM, so that no VM, not even the "monster" 1TB vRAM VM, would cost more than one vSphere Enterprise Plus license. We've adjusted our model to be much more flexible around transient workloads and short-term spikes that are typical in environments such as test & dev. Summary of Changes and Impacts Below is a description of what we have heard from our customers and partners, the changes we are making, and the positive impacts we expect they will have:

Customer feedback Changes to the vSphere 5 licensing model Impact

The vSphere 5 licensing model…

1. Affects only a small percentage of customers today, but customers are concerned about their future-looking business cases based on powerful new hardware capabilities. Substantially raise the vRAM entitlements per vSphere edition from 48/32/24/24/24 GB to 96/64/32/32/32 GB. With these increased vRAM entitlements, hardly any customer will be impacted by higher licensing costs upon upgrading to vSphere 5.

2. Introduces additional hesitation for virtualizing business-critical apps. Cap the amount of vRAM counted per VM at 96GB.¹ No application, no matter how big, will require more than one vSphere (Ent+) license to be virtualized.

3. Penalizes short-lived usage "spikes" in dev & test, and transient VMs. Calculate a 12 month average of consumed vRAM rather than a high water mark. Short lived "spikes" will increase the 12-month average in a minimal way, but a customer will not be required to pay for them in perpetuity.

To recap, here is a comparison of the previously announced and the currently unveiled vSphere 5 vRAM entitlements per vSphere edition.

vSphere editionPrevious vRAM entitlementNew vRAM entitlement
vSphere Enterprise+48 GB96 GB
vSphere Enterprise32 GB64GB
vSphere Standard24 GB32 GB
vSphere Essentials+24 GB32 GB
vSphere Essentials24 GB32 GB
Free vSphere Hypervisor8 GB32 GB²

Customers have also asked us about their use of vSphere for VDI. This has already been addressed with the vSphere Desktop edition. The vSphere Desktop edition does not have any vRAM entitlements; it allows customers to purchase vSphere for VDI use case on a per user basis.

We have several resources available to help customers understand how the new licensing model applies to their environment. We have developed a tool you can apply against your VI3.5 or vSphere 4 environments to ascertain your vRAM consumption, and therefore any impact on vSphere 5 licensing. Learn more by visiting our on-demand virtual event on this topic.

We remain confident that our vSphere 5 licensing model based on pooled vRAM is the right one for the cloud computing era. We are fully committed to meeting our customers' and partners' unique needs. Your continued feedback is important to us as we move forward together on the virtualization and cloud computing journey.

Thank you, VMware. We, your customers, appreciate you and your position.

What do you think of VMware's decision to alter their license model based upon your feedback?

Topics: VMware, Telcos


Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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  • I was beginning to warm to the original terms,

    however now that warming is complete. I think these new terms work well.
  • RE: VMware 5.0 Licensing Changes: Your voices have been heard

    Wow, that's is great for someone. We've pretty much moved away from vmWare because both Microsoft and Red Hat have their own versions of virtualization (Xen, and KVM) and they both work just fine. No more vmWare tax and maintaining another platform for us. We spent a week writing what we needed for management tools and we are done. We have been doing this for about 2 years now, and have experienced few issues. We have about 1,500 virtual machines and it is growing rapidly.

    It is inevitable, Microsoft and Red Hat will be their own masters in the virtualization space and you can run the O/Ss as guests on each other. Plus you have paravirtualization, which is a huge gain for those that actually care about real performance and control.

    Certainly vSphere is a nice product, it just not as cost effective as keeping a few smart people around. :)

    Take care.
  • RE: VMware 5.0 Licensing Changes: Your voices have been heard

    It's a step in a positive direction, but clearly VMware wants to ride the hardware train for more licensing fees as servers grow because they remain conservative with the vRAM entitlements. The entitlements will obviously need to be increased every year as servers become more and more dense, otherwise this vRAM model will be seen as increasingly abusive.
  • RE: VMware 5.0 Licensing Changes: Your voices have been heard

    I still think it sucks! The per socket pricing was fair. They got their money, now they know they are just getting greedy and figuring out ways to get more money out of their clients. For educational facilities it might push us away to other vendors. We can't afford higher and higher cost. We just don't have the money in this economy!
    • RE: VMware 5.0 Licensing Changes: Your voices have been heard

      You might check with VMware to see if there are educational discounts. Otherwise, if you're looking to switch vendors, check out Parallels (http://www.parallels.com).
  • [removed by poster]

    Nothing to see here, move along, move along.
  • RE: VMware 5.0 Licensing Changes: Your voices have been heard

    Anyone who is using big machines and are highly virtualized are going to take it in the shorts. We oversubscribe memory 150-200%. The licensing for our 8 processor 48 core 1.5TB machine will go up 4 times. Before VMWare was so generous and doubled the vRam allocation, it was 8 times. For the small entry customer, cost may go down. Anyone using all of the capability of the technology will get hurt, bad. VMWare is greedy. Microsoft, Citrix and others are in the streets celebrating.
  • Just Wait

    Someday we'll be counting CPU cycles to decide on a license model.