The Virtualization Room

Aug 28 2012   1:33PM GMT

VMware vSphere licensing changes — decoded

AlyssaWood Alyssa Wood Profile: AlyssaWood

Beth Pariseau, Senior News Writer

— As expected, VMware made a grand show of ending the much-reviled vRAM pricing program this week at VMworld 2012 in favor of per-CPU licensing and bundled up its products into a vCloud Suite.

Now, some IT shops wonder what they’re supposed to do with the additional licenses they bought to accommodate vRAM requirements for vSphere 5 last year.

VMware stated that vSphere licenses purchased for vRAM capacity can be used to license processors and expand existing vSphere environments.

Unfortunately, customers may also have scaled out servers, which racks up costs in network ports and other software licenses, rather than scale up and consolidate more VMs onto beefier hosts thanks to vRAM.

Though VMware maintains that it doesn’t try to compete with Microsoft on price, competition from Hyper-V was a factor.

“Competition forces you to listen to your customer base,” said Rick Jackson, a VMware spokesperson, during a press conference at VMworld 2012 here this week.

“You don’t compete with Microsoft on price…you compete with Microsoft on value,” he added.

There were also pricing details surrounding vCloud which might have gotten lost in the vRAM ruckus.

First, there are actually three editions of the vCloud Suite that are bundled into packages available as single SKUs:

  • Standard, which includes vSphere Enterprise Plus, vCloud Director, vCloud Connector, and vCloud Networking and Security Standard,  is priced at $4,995 per CPU, plus support and subscription;
  • Advanced, which includes vSphere Enterprise Plus, vCloud Director, vCloud Connector, vCloud Networking and Security Advanced, vCenter Operations Management Suite Advanced costs $7,495 per CPU, plus support and subscription; and
  • Enterprise, which includes  vSphere Enterprise Plus, vCloud Director, vCloud Connector, vCloud Networking and Security Advanced, vCenter Operations Management Suite Enterprise, vFabric Application Director, and vCenter Site Recovery Manager Enterprise. Itis priced at $11,495 per CPU plus SnS.

VMware vSphere remains available, in all its editions, as a standalone product as well.

The vSphere Storage Appliance is now bundled in with Essentials Plus licenses, and vSphere Replication has been added to all vSphere editions, rather than being packaged solely with VMware’s Site Recovery Manager.

But beyond the immediate, what is VMware’s long-term plan for pricing its wares? Is per-CPU licensing really the way of the future?

It depends. Site Recovery Manager, for example, remains priced per VM when bought standalone, though it is priced per CPU when purchased as part of the Enterprise vCloud Suite.

“When you’re just using SRM as a point solution, per-VM makes more sense,” said Neela Jacques, a VMware vCloud product spokesperson. “But when you’re using multiple products, it makes more sense to buy the suite.”

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