VMware vSphere 5 licensing aka #vTax : the opinions and math

A lot of discussion on internet about the new VMware vSphere 5 licensing.Even a new Twitter hashtag was created #vtax

I will try to update this post with as much info I can find on the info!

At August 3 VMware announced a revised policy. vRAM entitlements are doubled and more adjustments.

At August 1 Microsoft responds to the VMware memory tax with a posting on Technet.com titled BEWARE THE VMWARE MEMORY VTAX; PLUS–GOOD NEWS FOR HYPER-V…

At August 1 VMware is sending out emails to its partners announcing webinars which will inform about three significant changes in the licensing policy based on customer and partner feedback. First webinar is for the USA at August 3, first EMEA webinar is at August 4.

End of July Gabrie van Zanten publishes a posting on his site describing about a rumour VMware will announce a change in the licensing policy because of the customers feedback. Read more about the possible change here.

At July 19 Paul Maritz, CEO of VMware responded to the storm of protest of customers reacting to the new licensing scheme. He believes 95 % of the customers are not affected.
VMware CEO Maritz Tries To Clear Air On vSphere Licensing at crn.com

VMware has setup a team to review the overwhelming negative response to the change.

If you haven’t already, EMAIL vi-hotline-replies@vmware.com with your complaints and scenarios on how this is going to be terrible. 

Fill in the survey and let the world know your thoughts. Preliminary results can be seen here

Download the presentation VMware gave at July 18 explaining the new licensing.

Watch this video on CRN explaining  Carl Eschenbach , VMware Co-President  the new vSphere 5 licensing. He really said at 2:45 of the video  ‘I actually think our channel and customers are excited about this change” (the new licensing). How wrong could he be.

Microsoft commented about the new licensing scheme and showed partners at the WPC 2011 the costs of Microsoft versus VMware. Read the article Microsoft: New VMware Pricing Makes VMware Cloud Costs 4x Microsoft’s by CRN.com

At July 21 VMware responsed to the Microsoft claims VMware is far more expensive in a blogposting titled http://blogs.vmware.com/virtualreality/2011/07/setting-microsoft-straight-on-the-vmware-service-provider-program-vspp.html
VMware states Microsoft is comparing apples to a fruit basket.

VMware understands the customers concerns. There will be three VMware webcasts titled Pricing and Packaging for VMware vSphere 5.  Registration can be done here
VMware also posted a blogposting explaining the new policy and how it was developed. A tool was created to calculate the used vRAM entitlement in your current environment:vSphere 5 License Entitlements by Alan Renouf. Alan wrote a  script to give you not only the current license information but how this will relate to v5 licensing, the script will detail each license type and tell you how much vRAM you will be entitled to and how much you are using.

The URL’s below give some food for thought. Lots of people created postings on blogsites about the subject of vRAM.

Luckily the VDI infrastructure is not limited by the vRAM limit because VMware will release vSphere Desktop Edition.

In the VMware Communities forum lots of posting from angry customers and resellers with real life examples of how much vSphere 5 will cost.

To calculate the costs for vSphere 5 compared to vSphere 4 , Rynardt Spies created a nice Excel sheet. Simple type in the number of hosts and specs and you will see the cost of both editions. Download here

If you do not like the license of vSphere 5, you can downgrade vSphere 5 licences to vSphere. How this is done is explained at the VMware vSphere Upgrade Center 

The quote taken from Softchoice can be a way out of the vSphere 5 #vTax

After the official release, previous versions of VMware or vSphere will no longer be available for purchase.  If you are looking for additional licenses for your environment and running a previous version you will have downgrade rights as long as you have active support.  If you downgrade you will also be required to follow the present licensing model in VMware vSphere 4.1.

At July 13 VMware silently released information on a new vSphere 5 edition called ‘vSphere Desktop’ vSphere Desktop is a special edition running on vSphere 5 Enterprise Plus Edition for running virtual desktops only. There is no vRAM limit as there is for the other vSphere 5 editions. Licenses are sold per 100 VM’s. vSphere Desktop can be purchased for new licenses only. Current customers using vSphere 4 editions will need to upgrade to the corresponding vSphere 5 edition. Besides View also third party VDI solutions can be used on vSphere Desktop.

All is explained in this FAQ on vSphere Desktop

VMware decided to limit the free vSphere Hypervisor edition as well. In the 4 version the configured memory for VM’s was unlimited. As long as the host had enough resources you could run as many VM’s as you want.
No more in the 5 version of vSphere Hypervisor. It has a vRAM entitlement of 8 GB. per CPU

General almost all current customers are not happy about #vTax. In some situations (when already lots of hosts are deployed with vSphere and not much memory is in use) there is enough spare vRAM to replace vSphere 4 with vSphere 5 with no cost penalty. However, when using more VMs in the future the economics might be less attrative for a replacement by vSphere 5.

If a customer runs short on vRAM you cannot simply but an additional Standard Edition license if all other licenses are Enterprise Plus. Another not so nice restriction.

Note that all hosts in a vRAM pool must be licensed with the same vSphere edition or, in other term, vRAM entitlements are pooled by vSphere Edition. It is possible to manage mixed environments of hosts licensed with different vSphere Editions from the same vCenter, however this will create multiple vRAM pools. vRAM capacity can only be shared among servers licensed with the same vSphere Edition.

For sure vSphere 5 will prevent server sprawl and will give show back or chargeback a new impulse.

The Hyper-V word has been said many times in forums and Tweets since the annoucement about the new licensing scheme. Mind Hyper-V and vSphere are different products! vSphere is a mature, feature rich, stable hypervisor. Hyper-v gets more and more the feature a mature hypervisor needs. I design, built and manage both Hyper-V/SCVMM and vSphere.
For an overview of features of vSphere 4, Hyper-V and XenServer see this posting. See also this post in which I compare Hyper-V with vSphere.

As a start to understand the new schema, read this VMware whitepaper titled VMware vSphere 5 licensing, pricing and packaging 

vSphere 5 License Entitlements by Alan Renouf. Alan wrote a  script to give you not only the current license information but how this will relate to v5 licensing, the script will detail each license type and tell you how much vRAM you will be entitled to and how much you are using.

Please post the results of the license query in this thread at the VMware communities.

Query vRAM by LucD. This is a very usefull PowerShell script which shows if your current vSphere 4 infrastructure needs additional licenses if an upgrade to vSphere 5 is done or not. Great stuff!

Azlan vSphere 4 vs vSphere 5 calculator

VMware vSphere 4 versus vSphere 5 for VDI desktops licensing cost calculator  by Brian Madden
vSphere 5.0 VDI Licensing Changes by Derek Seman. Good overview of licensing for VDI

Softchoice has a good posting about the new licensing scheme

An interesting, economical focus article  on the situation at VMware at The Motley Fool. Good read!! No blogger this time.

vSphere 5 Licensing… my 2¢ by Doug Baer

Uitgebreide toelichting nieuw licentiemodel by Jeremy van Doorn, VMware

Will the New VMware vSphere 5 Licensing Affect Blade Vendors? by Thales Osterne of bladesmadesimple.com

Experts analyseren licentiebeleid VMware (Dutch) in Computable.nl

A Deeper Look Into VMware vSphere 5 Licensing by Rynardt Spie showing lots of calculations.

Scale Up with VMware vSphere 5: “I’m Not Dead Yet!” by Aaron Delp . A very good article showing the costs of a scale-up scenario versus a scale-out scenario.

Scale Up/Out and impact of vRAM?!? (part 2) by Duncan Epping. Duncan  does a calculation for a scale-out versus scale-up scenario. As complementary to the vRAM discussion. Interesting comments.

New vSphere 5 Inciting Upgrade Debates by Hosting Industry Watch New vSphere 5 Inciting Upgrade Debates by Hosting Industry Watch

VMware’s new license model may have admins running to Hyper-V at infoworld.com

vSphere 5 may result in fewer multi-vendor VDI environments by Simon Bramfitt

vSphere 5.0 and 2TB of memory By Calvin Zito, @HPStorageGuy

vSphere 5 licensing with vRAM isn’t that bad at all by Gabrie van Zanten
VMware is not evil – my opinion on their new licensing model by Tommy Trogden
The Five Stages of VMware Licensing Grief by Bob Plankers

vSphere 5 Licensing Thoughts  by Mark Vaughn. Gives an overview of a couple of scenario’s. Good read!

If you’re thinking of virtualising Exchange 2010 on VMware, you might want to consider your options… by Steve Goodman

#vTax FUD real live example  by Hans De Leenheer

vSphere 5 – Did VMware Misjudge its Licensing Changes? by Simon Bramfitt

VMware licensing : vRAM entitlement explained by Martijn Baecke

Understanding vSphere 5 licensing by Barry Coombs

vSphere 5 Licensing Model – Death to Scaling Up?  by Chris Wahl

vSphere 5 Licensing: A few things to consider. by Carter Shanklin

vsphere 5 and new licensing good or bad by Ed Czerwin

vSphere Licensing – Doing Some Math
Veeam.com forum on vtax

ARS Technica forum

Dear VMware..

vKernel mentions chargeback

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About Marcel van den Berg
I am a technical consultant with a strong focus on server virtualization, desktop virtualization, cloud computing and business continuity/disaster recovery.

4 Responses to VMware vSphere 5 licensing aka #vTax : the opinions and math

  1. Brian Singer says:

    With the new VMWare changes, capacity management and optimization become even more important. If you aren’t using your resources well, you will end up paying more.

  2. Pingback: Is VMware’s new vRAM licensing private cloud poison? - The Troposphere

  3. Diederik says:

    Here is an audio fragment from the vmware communities #149 podcast, John Troyer doesn’t want to talk about licensing… and suggest asking for a discount. I tried to leave as much context in the fragment as possible. For the whole story listen tho the whole podcast.

    Fragment: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4393/vmware-podcast-vsphere5-lic.mp3
    Podcast “#149 – Raising the Bar, Part V” (around 20 minutes): http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/19367

  4. Pingback: New vSphere 5 Inciting Upgrade Debates

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