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After Complaints, VMware Revises VSphere 5 Licensing 80

Posted by timothy
from the think-of-them-as-pretend-instances dept.
msmoriarty writes "Three weeks after IT shops began complaining loudly that the licensing changes with vSphere 5 would cost them significantly more, VMware has revised the requirements (although not as much as some users would like)."
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After Complaints, VMware Revises VSphere 5 Licensing

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  • ...I still think this was nothing more than a cash grab by their corporate parent, EMC.

    As if mugging you for all your lunch money at disk-adding time wasn't enough for EMC, right?

    • As if mugging you for all your lunch money at disk-adding time wasn't enough for EMC, right?

      ...and that explains why all my lunch money is mugged instead by NetApp!

      Oh, wait...

    • by lucm (889690)

      For storage, EMC is pretty much dead in the water; it was a leader ten years ago but it's over now. With SSD and SAS drives price dropping quickly, the name of the game is now sub-volume tiering, a technology that EMC promised (and licensed) a long time ago with FAST2, but has yet to actually deliver, while the competition is already there (like the impressive Compellent, now part of Dell).

      For large enteprise, the top dogs are now IBM (with the V7000 that has built-in storage virtualization) and Hitachi (wh

  • by Tihstae (86842) <Tihstae@gmail.com> on Saturday August 06, 2011 @10:15AM (#37007040) Homepage

    I hate to say it but EMC has finally influenced VMware.

    Of course the new licensing model doesn't limit CPU. That is because there are VERY FEW VMware deployment that max CPU. RAM is usually the cap. But trying license based on physical RAM would be too easy for them. Let's license on what everyone uses most. Virtual (non existant) RAM. I know in my environment everyone that wants a server says they need XX GB of RAM and they use about 1/4 of the RAM they request. So rather than argue with them, I give their server the XXGB of RAM knowing that I can over subscribe the RAM. This is the greatness of VMware. Effeciency.

    So now they are going to license us on the one thing that we don't really use. We aren't licenced on what we own or what we use but what we "MIGHT" use. Ridiculous scheme trying to squeeze every dollar out of their market share. This is what EMC does. To get any real funtionality out of their products you have to license more and more features that are already right there in the product. And we see how well that has worked for them. They are bleeding customers. VMware really doesn't have any competitors right now. If they keep this model, they will.

    • by cthulhu11 (842924)
      Sounds like HP. Their already-inferior iLO has the ability to do remote virtual media redirection, but one has to pay $250 extra for a license key. Worse yet, their goofy Smart Array HBA's need a $300 license key to enable RAID6 -- and they don't do triple-parity RAID at all.
  • I hate to say it, so instead of my bill being someplace between 2-3x of what it is presently, it will end up being around 2x..... So Anyone have a pretty gui built around one of the open source/free hypervisors with all the same basic features as vCenter (live migration, live storage migration, performance reporting)? oh, and the GUI needs to be easy for a windows person to use.

    • by Courageous (228506) on Saturday August 06, 2011 @10:31AM (#37007190)

      No, but you could look a Citrix XenServer. They are behind on features, however they license per SERVER. Unlimited cpus, unlimited cores, unlimited RAM. From a technical implementation perspective, they are second to VMware. Hyper-V is third technically, but of course will likely surpass XenServer in a year or two due to Microsoft's continued heavy investment.

      • by VTI9600 (1143169)

        Unlimited cpus, unlimited cores, unlimited RAM.

        That wasn't always the case. I suspect someone came along and informed them that their software is open-source [xen.org].

        • by VTI9600 (1143169)

          It's been a while since I looked at Xen so I decided to do some searching to see what additional value XenServer adds to it. I found this document [infotech.com], which says:

          Differentiation between virtualization offerings, and between Xen offerings, comes from the value added management features enabled by the parent console.

          ...and not much else. They took an open-source project, "bought" it for $500 million, did nothing more than put a GUI on it, and were then shocked to discover that no one wanted to buy it. Corporate incompetence never ceases to amaze.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There is always Redhat Enterprise Virtualization. Runs on KVM and has a nice web GUI (the GUI only runs on windows thought).

    • by DuckDodgers (541817) <keeper_of_the_wolf AT yahoo DOT com> on Saturday August 06, 2011 @10:59AM (#37007386)
      I never used one of the commercial products for virtualization. We were constrained to $0 for the software budget for virtualization, so we toyed with VirtualBox and KVM on Linux. Our development machine was not on a UPS, and over the course of a few weeks we had the occasional 20 second power outage in the building. Some of our VirtualBox images were corrupted by the outage, the KVM images were not, and that was enough to put us onto KVM for production (even though our production servers are of course on UPS with a backup generator). It's possible whatever problem we had with VirtualBox has been fixed in more recent versions or that we misconfigured the storage settings, I don't know. But KVM was more reliable without any tweaking right out of the box, so we went with that.

      KVM supports live migration and live storage migration, although we have not used either feature. The virt-manager GUI you can use with KVM is easy enough - create, clone, start, stop, change settings, and view and interact with the virtual machines all with clicks in the GUI. I'm sure VMWare has earned its impressive reputation, but free is always nice. Good luck.
    • by tnk1 (899206)

      Hell, if it was just about a GUI, that would be almost easy to replicate. Live migration of VMs or Storage is hardly a "basic" feature for someone to develop even if they are just manipulating the API on the hypervisors.

      Of course, you can't do Storage vMotion in 4.1 without an Enterprise Plus license anyway, so that being premium is hardly new.

    • by Junta (36770)

      (Disclaimer, though I don't work for the mentioned company, I do stand to benefit for business they conduct)

      So, the *storage migration* feature (where backing store changes with nothing else changing) is not currently implemented as far as I know by anything other than VMware in x86 world (though perhaps the building blocks are there now in one way another). Other than that (live migration, DRS but with more flexible criteria, HA VM restart, and failure avoidance), Adaptive computing has an offering built

      • by mysidia (191772) *

        I've seen marketing material for RHEV-M which suggests a vCenter-like set of capabilities, but no hands on to *really* vouch for or against it.

        RHEV lost a lot of respect from me, when I learned about certain "limitations" that they weren't very forward with.

        Last I checked, You have to shutdown a VM to take a snapshot.

        VLAN support in a later release, maybe

        If your RHEV-M server goes down, auto-restart-VMS capability also goes down

        No graphical management if RHEV-M server goes down; no ability to c

        • by Junta (36770)

          Last I checked, You have to shutdown a VM to take a snapshot.

          Odd, the underlying stuff is agnostic, though a shutdown is a good idea in lieu of something like vmware guest utils to coordinate disk activity with the hypervisor snapshot.

          VLAN support in a later release, maybe

          That is an odd omission, that's pretty easy to do...

          If your RHEV-M server goes down, auto-restart-VMS capability also goes down

          A disappointing limitation, but do they at least support some sort of fail-over to have multiple HA RHEV-M instances?

          No equivalent to storage vMotion

          Not surprised, most people in KVM town misunderstand what storage vMotion specifically does, and the few instancesc when they learn, they tend to respond with a strange

    • by rabbit994 (686936)

      If you are virtualizing Windows only, Hyper-V is probably the best bet. Completely supported by Microsoft for low low cost of nothing. Supports Live Migration, Dynamic Memory (servers only start with X but can request up to Y if needed) and has very usable GUI and yes, it's true HyperVisor just like ESXi or Xen.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Xenserver has free edition that has a nice feature set. Does not have LM or auto provisioning. GUI is simple but precise. Ms hyper is great but clumsy to implement in advanced scenarios. But both have been very stable production environments for the most part. They both still lack virtual appliances which suck, maybe one day.

      • by mysidia (191772) *

        Does not have LM or auto provisioning.

        XenServer free edition has XenMotion.

        Oddly, it doesn't have Live snapshotting (which is free in VMware)

        It seems like the virtualization vendors are all making the mistake of charging money for new features they had to develop, out of proportion to their place within the software.

        More enterprises need snapshotting mechanisms to take backups (IMO) than need live migration. The features everyone needs should have the lowest cost, to encourage users with basic nee

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "So Anyone have a pretty gui built around one of the open source/free hypervisors with all the same basic features as vCenter (live migration, live storage migration, performance reporting)? oh, and the GUI needs to be easy for a windows person to use."

      That would be a way to take advantage of the market opportunity presented by the price increase.

    • by mysidia (191772) *

      So Anyone have a pretty gui built around one of the open source/free hypervisors with all the same basic features as vCenter (live migration, live strage migration, performance reporting)? oh, and the GUI needs to be easy for a windows person to use.

      XenServer + XenCenter.

      Add-on features are easy to come by; core product robustness is not.

      Good luck trying to run FreeBSD, Solaris, or one of those less-common OS VMs on those 'free' hypervisors with performance comparable to VMware.

  • I am surprised at the arrogance of VMWare! It is not as if there is not an extremely viable, free/open source alternative to VMWare, i.e. Xen. I would have thought the executives would be concerned about competition from a free product. There is also KVM/QEMU and I know of a few enterprises that use it.
    • by Junta (36770)

      Keep in mind that increasingly, VMware is seeing the individual hypervisors as little more than an means to the end of selling their higher-order management software (vCenter and such). I would not be surprised if one day vCenter ends up managing Xen and/or KVM the same way it will manage ESXi.

      • by mysidia (191772) *

        I would not be surprised if one day vCenter ends up managing Xen and/or KVM the same way it will manage ESXi./em>

        I would be surprised. If VMware were to add this ability to vCenter, it would increase the value of their competitors' hypervisors... now suddenly you wouldn't even need to change management tools or admin skillsets to migrate to the competitors' platform....

        • by Junta (36770)

          now suddenly you wouldn't even need to change management tools or admin skillsets to migrate to the competitors' platform....

          That's my point, already VMware is less a virtualization company and more a virtualization *management* company. The free hypervisors before and particularly the mantra that no VMware infrastructure is complete without vCenter make that plain enough. It also *seems* from an outsider's perspective that the people working ESXi half are a very different team than vCenter (they just seem very very differently minded, and I think I like some philosophies in ESXi that clearly aren't central to vCenter developme

      • Heh... Yeah. Agreed.

        Why don't they just release the complete automation suite that removes 100% human work and then start using a random number generator to come up with prices...you know...for the fun of it.

    • This reminds me of a custom computer building company I used to work for that got a military contract and then decided to raise their prices on all non-government builds to a disgusting price and basically shun all previous customers as well as making all potentials laugh.
      So uh, what happens on that day you lose the contract, eh?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Start pushing VirtualBox's features more and more

    Make it a true alternative to VMWare.

    • VirtualBox is not the same as vSphere. You're thinking of VMWare Player or Workstation. I believe Windows Server's Hypervisor is a similar type of thing to vSphere though (I haven't used hypervisor stuff so I don't know) and someone else in these comments mentioned Linux's Xen.
    • Right.. Cause Oracle isn't going to try to squeeze juice out of that turnip..

  • The BSA feeds on might use licensing and not what you are really useing.

    Licensing needs people need to stop taking in legal and talk in what people can under stand or soon IT will there own legal guy on staff.

  • by C_Kode (102755)

    We've started migrating to KVM with vertio because VMWare is just too cost prohibitive when it comes to the expansion we've required recently. I've got to say with with vertio, I'm actually pretty impressed with KVM's performance.

    There aren't quite as many features as VMWare offers, but we are lucky enough not to require them.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The VMware "standard" license used to be for 1 physical CPU with 1-6 cores, and up to 256 gig ram.

    The new, improved VMware "standard" license is now 1 physical CPU with unlimited cores, and up to 32 gig of ram.

    Given that most VMware installations are constrained by memory and not CPU, you're now paying up the wazoo.

    The big benefit of virtualization is that most computers are CPU idle much of the time, so it's very easy to run multiple virtual machines on 1 physical server and still have great performance.

    Th

    • by Courageous (228506) on Saturday August 06, 2011 @12:05PM (#37007836)

      It's worse than you say.

      It's not RAM they are licensing to you, it's vRAM, which means memory that you've allocated to the VM's, but may not be using. vRAM is calculated by summing up the allocated memory of each virtual machine. Which is to say, after spending years saying, "but our product is better than our competitors, because you can oversubscribe your memory," they have now said "gotcha!". This move was A) evil, as they told customers with fully paid up maintenance contracts "no, we won't honor the contract, you'll have to buy more product," and B) stupid, as the licensing model directly undermines one of VMware's principal advantages.

      C//

      • by mysidia (191772) *

        "no, we won't honor the contract, you'll have to buy more product," and B) stupid, as the licensing model directly undermines one of VMware's principal advantages.

        They did this once before, at the last major release when they introduced Enterprise+.

        They had been publicizing new advanced features that would be in vSphere for many months.

        Then, when the release actually came out, they introduced a new license tier "Enterprise+" which would get all the new features.

        So, even though the upgrade to vSpher

  • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Saturday August 06, 2011 @12:54PM (#37008230)

    It seems many of you don't know (as did I until not so long ago) that Parallels, the virtualization folks of Mac fame, also do "Parallels Bare Metal" [parallels.com] which is essentially a direct attack on VMWare's lunch money.

    The Parallels Bare Metal 4 is near VMWare ESX 2.x functionality or so but the new Parallels Bare Metal 5 (which is now in beta) has pretty much most of the VMWare 3.x-4.x ESX/vSphere series features. Although it is much more command-line centric - which is good for some of us - and the procedures for converting physical and virtual machines from other vendors are quite different - which you simply have to learn and get used to (yes you can convert ESX/vSphere crap on-disk and via Parallels "importer" in-guest agent).

    The thing comes with Windows, OSX and Linux management consoles ala the VMWare editions of old.

    So for all of you out there who need to appease corporate demons with a commercial product with proper support arrangements etc, take a look.

    I was quite pleasantly surprised and I am holding back any moves to vSphere 5 for many of my clients with the aim of deploying Parallels instead.

    Oh and pricing: $499 per-host (no idiotic per-core or per-ram or per-disk nonsense here) for "Small Business" (which has everything you need really, even for big shops since you can script everything using their command line tools) or $999 for their "Standard" which comes with a wacky centralized automation/web-interface/event-ticket/delegation/who-knows-what-else management gizmo.

    See those numbers and weep, oh vSphere 5 victims!

    They also have a "Virtuozo" product that seems aimed at the VPS rental market.

  • Will have a per-CPU "Window size" entitlement.

    For every CPU, you can have 2000x2000 pixels worth of open windows.

    To determine if you are in compliance, add up the widthXheight pixel sizes of the open windows for all running applications (whether minimized or not), if the number of vPixels used exceeds your entitlement, then you are not in compliance and must buy additional OS licenses.

    This applies whether you paid in advance for yearly free upgrades or not.

    If this is a problem for you, we rec

    • No, no, no... You completely misread that. You're only allowed to move your mouse pointer 2000 pixels per window, per day. Licensure of pixels is then 100 "points" per 1000 above that.

      That's why they have Xbox Live getting people used to the term "points" so the transition is smoother. Also makes the "Microsoft Dollar" sit well in society for the day it comes into worldwide use.

      [Kidding, as well... Or am I?] :}

      • by mysidia (191772) *

        No, no, no... You completely misread that. You're only allowed to move your mouse pointer 2000 pixels per window, per day. Licensure of pixels is then 100 "points" per 1000 above that.

        Hm... maybe we should try a car analogy

        You buy a truck with a twin engine turbodiesel and two fuel tanks.

        Next you buy a 50' trailer with a compartment system that is sold based on how many engine sockets you have, so you pay your two $4500 "Engine licenses" plus a $5,000 door handle license for $14,000 total for the

  • I've been managing ESX environments for over 6 years now and the change makes complete sense to me. VMware based their initial licensing on the number of processor cores in a box. This made sense when we were putting 16, 32 or 64 GBs of ram into a 2 or 4 core box. At max we were seeing 32 GBs of RAM per core and VMware found a price point that worked under this model. With changes in technology (mainly memory virtualization in the Cisco UCS platform) we are now seeing 100s of GBs per core and less total
    • I've been managing ESX environments for over 6 years now and the change makes complete sense to me. VMware based their initial licensing on the number of processor cores in a box. This made sense when we were putting 16, 32 or 64 GBs of ram into a 2 or 4 core box. At max we were seeing 32 GBs of RAM per core and VMware found a price point that worked under this model. With changes in technology (mainly memory virtualization in the Cisco UCS platform) we are now seeing 100s of GBs per core and less total cores due to the expanding number or processors we can fit on a chip. Simply put, we used to get x number of VMs per core license. Now we are getting 4 to 10 times that many per license. That's a losing equation for any licensing scheme and they needed to make changes. All of that said I was on the initial bandwagon of outrage when the news came out. The starting point for vRam entitlements as well as some of the other changes were concerning. Realizing that now single VMs could cost thousands just in VM licensing was not appealing and had me second guessing whether or not VMware was the platform of the future. After seeing the recent changes they've made to the licensing scheme (upping vRam entitlements, maxing out vRam counts on individual machines, pooling, and soft limits) I feel the changes are completely reasonable/understandable considering how things have changed for virtualizing systems. I'm sure many will disagree but I still don't feel like VMware is gouging anybody...

      When it costs MORE to virtualize a server due to licensing then it does to build a physical server then that is gouging. VMWare is just shooting themselves in the foot trying to bleed more money. Though greed seems to be the big equalizer. A company gets big, makes a ton of cash, gets really greedy, and then gets wiped out by company B: coming along with a decent product at 1/2 the cost or less.

      Personally I have had great luck with VMWare Server which is free.

      At one time I had thier "technet" of vmware an

      • by lgarner (694957)
        You're mostly right, but you need to look up "price gouging." Since there are so many alternatives to Vmware, *including using physical servers*. Not liking the alternatives isn't the same as having none. A company's failure to consider alternatives, regardless of the reason, is tacit approval of their current vendor's product and pricing.
      • by javanpa (2431294)
        I'm not sure how you are figuring out that it costs more to license vmware than it does to build physical servers. I only have the scenarios that I've worked with but I've found that virtualization licensing still is significantly cheaper than physical servers and provides benefits that physical boxes don't provide natively (HA, DRS, FT, Hardware/Software separation, etc...)

        If I were to buy a VMware box now, maxing out the licensing as it stands, I would purchase a server with 2 of Intel's E7 processors
    • by eharvill (991859)
      The licensing change should appease most shops. Except for some of our clients running very large hosts (2-4 procs with 256GB+ RAM), there will be no difference between ESX4 and ESX5 licensing. Most of our clients aren't even oversubscribing and even if they are, they build their clusters to lose a host, so the VRAM entitlements all work out.

      Check out this nice script for folks to run in their current environment to determine how they will be affected by ESX5 licensing - here. [virtu-al.net]

  • by pxpt (40550)

    I had been pressing that we go the VMWare route for our virtualisation. Looks like I'll have to look at the alternatives as the extra unexpected cost will not go down very well with the management.

  • There are plenty of other solutions out there and many have found out that virtualization (or cloudization of your server park) is not the end-all be-all of many problems we encounter (such as performance issues, security problems, conflicts between applications) it still doesn't fix and in many cases (usually due to bad understanding and management of the virtual server park) makes things worse than they should be.

    There are certain people (I would say 60% of departments deploying virtual server parks) that

  • Some companies do not even listen, let alone ...do something about what their client's think....consider yourselves lucky

C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]

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