Will the New VMware vSphere 5 Licensing Affect Blade Vendors? (PART 2)

Since my last post, I heard lots of rumors that VMware would make some changes in their new licensing model. Well, this week VMware made an official announcement of changes and posted here.

VMware made very clear that all the changes were motivated by the feedbacks they have received:

These changes generated debate in the blogosphere, across the VMware communities, and in conversations with customers and partners.  Some of the discussion had to do with confusion around the changes.  We have been watching the commentaries on the blogs very carefully, and we have been listening in the customer conversations very intently. We got a ton of feedback that probed the impact of the new licensing model on every possible use case and scenario, and equally important, reflected our customers’ intense passion for VMware.” Said the Product management VP, Bogomil Balkansky.

This shows how important feedback is! We can say that changes come from us.


So, let´s see the new comparison of vSphere 4.x licensing vs the vSphere 5 model:

To see the original document, click here.

The main changes:

  • Increased vRAM entitlements for all vSphere editions, including the doubling of the entitlements for vSphere Enterprise and Enterprise Plus.
  • Capped the amount of vRAM  in any given VM by 96GB.
  • Compliance policies will not be measured by high watermark. Instead, a 12 months rolling average of daily high watermark. That´s very important for testing and developing environments.

Plus: An official monitoring tool will replace all the scripts that have been circulating around the community to calculate how much “vRAM” customers are using now.

VMware confirmed that the new licensing model was made to keep up with the market changes and that changes are unlike, but necessary.

So, to compare apples to apples, let’s use the same example of last post: an IBM HX5 blade server with MAX5 maxed out with 640GB of memory with the NEW (I mean the newest) licensing model a user would need 7 VMware vSphere 5 Enterprise Plus Licenses to be “legal” vs 14 of the previous vSphere 5 licensing vs 2 with the current VMware vSphere 4.x licensing model.

That´s more reasonable. Especially if keep in mind that customers would not use all the physical RAM in the vRAM pool. They must have some free physical RAM to be able to do a vMotion for example.

We have to give VMware some credit to change so quickly and listen the community. Would any other vendor do something like this? I don´t know.


About the Author
Thales Osterne is a contributor for BladesMadeSimple.com.  He has over six years in the IT field with four years of experience in IBM BladeCenter and System X.  When he is not blogging, Thales works as a product manager for IBM System X & Bladecenter at Lanlink Informatica, a major business partner in Brazil.  He is fluent in Portuguese and English.

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14 thoughts on “Will the New VMware vSphere 5 Licensing Affect Blade Vendors? (PART 2)

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  4. CWC

    I understand VMware’s motivation here, but it runs counter to server vendor’s and DataCenter admins goals. 

    Personally, I would have prefered they just increase the cost of VS5 licenses and kept the same model.  For a 2 socket server, 192GB ram, that *might* be 3 VS5 licenses depending on *if* I use all 192GB, or it could be 4 VS5 licenese if I over commit ram, or it could be 2 if I only allocate 128 GB ram.  Why not change for MIPS while they’re at it??

    Sure, VMware is the best virtualization platform based on features and availability.  But for Dev / Test environments, I think a lot of folks are going to at least give HyperV or Xen another look. 

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  8. Jay Rogers

    Do you think this licensing change is a tactic for VMware to make money in the case of hosting everything in memory? Memory has become so cheap nowadays and I have been hearing of some software companies eliminating SAN and designing their entire cloud hosted solution to run in memory. Do you believe that VMware is just trying to stay ahead of the curve?

  9. Thales Osterne

    That´s a good point, Jay. But I don´t think that companies will eliminate SAN. Remember that we are talking about RAM (not ROM) so companies will have to mirror the memory to be fully protected against a slot failure or use the “Fault tolerance” feature from VMware in case of a host failure.
    The trend is to migrate to a converged network . It´s more reliable and cheaper.

  10. Jay Rogers

    I agree, but I heard someone speaking the other day that there is a company developing a cloud ERP system. I wish I remembered the name of that company, but supposedly they had an 8 hour failure because of their SAN (not sure exactly what went wrong). So instead of relying on a SAN, they decided to be cutting edge and run everything in memory. In their theory, they would be able to retain data because they custom developed a way for that memory to be spread across all of these data centers in the world. It was JAVA based and supposedly they had to manipulate JAVA to even support the amount of memory that they were using. Storing everything in memory allowed them to generate huge reports that would take a few minutes, compared to days with disk.

    Is all of this that I heard true? Who knows. But it definitely makes an interesting theory when you are cutting down job times from days to a few minutes. Like any other new technology — high risk = high return (but also a high chance of disaster). I thought this would be an interesting concept to keep an eye on, especially if they work out all of the kinks.

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