Nice knowing you, VMWare

Posted On 2011-07-15 by FortyPoundHead
Tags: VMWare Products HyperV News ESX Windows Server 2008
Views: 1334

It's been a good run. Running ESXi 4.x on my blades has been a joy. But this new licensing model is driving me away.


The current virtual infrastructure which I manage contains roughly 120 sockets, over 54 hosts. Most of these hosts contain 128 GB of RAM, while a smaller percentage contain either 64 GB or 192 GB. Most hosts are running Enterprise, and a few Standards thrown in there for dev/lab environments.

With the current vSphere 4 the list price for licensing this infrastructure is roughly $431,000 per year.

Now you want to charge me for using the RAM in my current hosts as well? Under your new licensing structure, the cost is going to more than double, approaching triple the cost of my current licensing.

Just so you know, I've been testing with HyperV already. You see, Microsoft has been dying to get on our floor, and be our virtualization solution. Got a nice little four-node cluster, humming right along, working great. Have you seen the new SCVMM 2012? It's great. I didn't have to buy Cloud Director, and they are not charging me for the 192 GB of RAM in each of the 2-socket blades, either. I am really digging it. It's far from the HyperV of yester-year.

For those that don't know, VMWare will be releasing vSphere 5 on August 22nd, which includes a new licensing model.

In the past, licenses were charge by the physical socket in each physical host. So if I have a HP BL490 G6, with 2 six-core CPUs and 128GB of RAM, I buy two licenses, one for each socket.

Not so with vSphere 5.

The new model still charges for per-socket licensing, but it also charges for the amount of RAM per socket.

Here's an example. The blade mentioned above describes one node of my 14 node production vSphere 4.1 cluster. Let's do some math, with current hardware config and list prices. Feel free to check my figures, because I am not a math wizard, even with help from Excel.

First, we'll work with vSphere 4.1 pricing:

Enterprise License, each$3,594.00
Enterprise Licenses per host2
Cost per host$7,188.00
Cost per cluster (14 node)$100,632.00

Now, let's take a look at the vSphere 5 licensing, for the same hardware:

Enterprise Plus, each$4,369.00
Enterprise Plus Licenses per host2
Enterprise License, each$3,594.00
Enterprise Licenses per host1
Cost Per Host$12,332.00
Cost per cluster (14 node)$172,648.00

A quick division operation shows that as a 58.29% increase in licensing costs. And that is just for my production cluster. I have 40 other hosts of varying configurations to think about as well.

Now to be honest, the company I work for utilizes a VAR for licensing of these products, so we get a bit of a break. But I think the percentage will still hold true, no matter what the break is.

How am I going to explain this increase to my bosses?

VMWare has a great product, a rock solid market leader (even if the support desk quality has been declining, but that is another story), and vSphere 5 has a lot cool tricks to show IT folks.

But I think I'll be not upgrading to vSphere 5, and will be stepping up my HyperV testing efforts. Heck, I might even look to Xen.

And I don't think I am the only one.

About the Author

FortyPoundHead has posted a total of 1974 articles.

Comments On This Post

By: FortyPoundHead
Date: 2011-07-15

I just re-read this, and realized it may seem like a rant. In a way, it is. My apologies for that. I just don't think it is the wisest choice that VMWare could make, when there are other alternatives, including open source, that provide the same functionality (or in some cases more) as their product.

I've supported VMWare for years, even when other questioned the choice. But that is what it boils down to, isn't it? Choice.

I choose not to let the company I work for get ripped off any longer.

By: FortyPoundHead
Date: 2011-07-15

Just realized something else. All of our blade enclosures have a MS Datacenter license tied to them already. Know what that means? The cost for HyperV on a blade enclosure is $0.00.

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