Thank you Microsoft Hyper-V for providing the weapon which killed vSphere vRAM

Today VMware announced it terminated the vRAM licensing for vSphere 5.1. From now on it needs to be licensed only per physical processor again. An unlimited number of VMs can be run as long as physical memory in the host is available. VMware told us today:


That is very good news for VMware vSphere users. Killing vRAM makes vSphere a lot more attractive for running it on hosts with a large amount of physical memory.

But lets not forget that VMware introduced vRAM 1 year ago for reasons that have not been changed today!
VMware stated back in 2011 that they wanted customers getting used to the ‘pay what you consume’ model of charging which is common for cloud computing.

They also claimed reduced revenue because of modern CPUs delivering more value for money. Licensing based on CPU alone would lead to less revenue for VMware and thus less innovation for customers.
What VMware forgot when introducing VRAM was:

  • customers are not stupid;
  • the economic situation for a lot of customers was and is not very good. IT-budgets are tight and reduced.
  • last but certainly not least: the big upcoming competition of Microsoft Hyper-V;

Back in 2011 Microsoft made it no secret that the next release of Hyper-V and System Center would deliver a lot more features than the Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V release. Hyper-V is a lot cheaper to buy than vSphere .

Lets see what Microsoft has to offer with Windows Server 2012 and what VMware announced today:

  • vSphere Replication free in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V enabling host based , a-synchronous, storage agnostic replication.
    VMware today announced: vSphere 5.1 Essentials Plus and higher editions will have vSphere Replication comparable to Hyper-V Replica. Also Site Recovery Manager can be used for Essentials Plus and higher editions. Used to be Standard Edition and higher.
  • Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V offers shared nothing Live Migration. Move a VM from one host to another without shared storage.
    VMware today announced Enhanced vMotion which can be compared to Hyper-V feature
  • Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V supports 64 vCPUs per guest max
    vSphere 5.1 supports 64 vCPUs per guest max
  • Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V supports an unlimited number of nodes using in-guest clustering
    vSphere 5.1 support 5 nodes (was 2 nodes in vSphere 5.0)
  • Microsoft System Center 2012 which enables private cloud is licensed per physical processor which makes it an attractive suite.
    VMware has a collection of solutions which enabled cloud. They were licensed per VM. Not anymore for the new vCloud which is licensed per physical processor
  • Using Microsoft Windows Server 2012 it is possible to create  a highly available shared storage solution based on Scale Out File Services and Just a Bunch of Disks or Storage Pools. Without the need to by an expensive SAN or NAS virtual disk files can be presented to Hyper-V hosts allowing vMotion and HA alike protection.
    VMware responded to include vSphere Storage Appliance in the Essentials Plus and higher editions of vSphere 5.1. Prior to vSphere 5,1 VSA needed to be purchased separatly. Now one VSA license is bundled with vSphere.

Why did VMware change it’s licensing policy and gives away more features?
Simple answer: because of the competition getting stronger and stronger and delivering value for money, Microsoft in the lead. The migration to vSphere 5.0 was not at a speed VMware hoped. Adoption of vCloud Director for private and public clouds is lower than expected. Customers were evaluating Hyper-V and stopped investments in new vSphere deployments.

If Microsoft would not have a mature solution for private cloud, customers would probably still have to deal with vRAM. Besides stronger competition the VMware suggested reasons for vRAM have not changed.

Thank you Microsoft (and Citrix and Red Hat) for your competition!

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