Big changes in licensing model for VMware vSphere 5 UPDATED [VMware]

There has been major adjustments to the vSphere 5 licensing model since this blog post. Please see updated post for full details.

Today VMware announced the release of VMware vSphere 5. This exciting new product comes with a lot of new features that I will explain in a future post, but also important are the significant changes to the licensing structure that you need to be aware of. These changes go into effect today, and as of a to-be-announced date in Q3 2011, you will only be able to purchase new licenses in vSphere 5.0. This means that  if you are already invested in VMware, you should take some time in the upcoming months to understand which licensing model is best for your organization.

The 4 key changes that are explained in this post are as follows:

  1. VMware is no longer licensing just based on the cores within a CPU.
  2. After the official release, VMware will no longer be selling previous versions of vSphere.
  3. In the new release of VMware vSphere 5.0, VMware will no longer be supporting the ESX hypervisor.
  4. In the new version, they will be eliminating the Advanced Edition of vSphere and migrating those customers to the Enterprise Edition.

Why change?

vSphere 4.x licensing did not reflect the fact that vSphere excels at pooling physical hardware resources across the entire data center and presenting them as a single, unified, shared infrastructure—an innovation that is one of the core pillars of cloud infrastructure. The hardware-based licensing model of vSphere 4.x made it difficult for customers to transition to the usage-based cost and charge back models that characterize cloud computing and IT-as-a-Service.

The new licensing model

vSphere 5.0 will be licensed on a per-processor basis with a vRAM entitlement. Each vSphere 5.0 CPU license will entitle the purchaser to a specific amount of vRAM, or memory configured to virtual machines. The vRAM entitlement can be pooled across a vSphere environment to enable a true cloud or utility based IT consumption model. Just like VMware technology offers customers an evolutionary path from the traditional data center to cloud infrastructure, the vSphere 5.0 licensing model allows customers to evolve to a cloud-like “pay for consumption” model without disrupting established purchasing, deployment and license management practices and processes.

The vSphere 5.0 licensing model is per processor (CPU) with pooled vRAM entitlements. It offers customers the following benefits relative to the previous vSphere 4.x model:

  • Simplicity– Removes two physical constraints (core and physical RAM), replacing them with a single virtual entitlement (vRAM). Customers now have a clear path to license vSphere on next-generation hardware configurations.
  • Flexibility– Extends the concept of resource pooling from technology to the business of IT by allowing aggregation and sharing of vRAM entitlement across a large pool of servers.
  • Fairness – Better aligns cost with actual use and value derived, rather than with hardware configurations and capacity.
  • Evolution – Allows customers to evolve to a cloud-like “pay for consumption” model without disrupting established purchasing, deployment and license-management practices and processes.

The new vSphere licensing model applies only to new purchases of vSphere licenses [Read more…]