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VMware Announces New vSphere 5.0: Exciting Features…Confusing Licensing?

Yesterday VMware announced several new products, including vSphere 5, which has several new and exciting features, such as enhanced 3D graphics and disk I/O optimization for VDI environments.  It also has a VSA virtual storage appliance which allows one to build a fault tolerant virtual environment without the requirement of shared storage.

However the biggest (and somewhat confusing) announcement was a change in the licensing model for vSphere 5. Traditionally, vSphere has been licensed in a ‘per socket’ manner based on the number of physical CPUs (not cores) contained within a physical server host.  This was causing a problem with VMware because today I can go and buy a blade server with 20 cores and 384GB of RAM which leads to extremely high consolidation. So, where I would have had to purchase maybe 6 or 8 CPU licenses with older hardware, now I can fit that same number of virtual machines in 2 sockets.  Doesn’t take a math whiz to realize a 2, 3, or 4x decrease in the required VMware license requirements. So the new model includes a concept of licensing vRAM ‘pools’ in that you still need the socket licenses, but now there is a limit to the amount of memory that virtual machines can actively use ‘per socket’.  Not only that, but the memory limits change depending on the edition of vSphere you have.

Next week I’ll be attending the bi-annual meeting of the VMware Partner Technical Advisory Board (PTAB) where I am sure there will be lively discussion and debate on this new license model. In fact, between last night and this evening, there has been a single e-mail thread going through the VMware board with at least 70 messages. I’ll check back after the PTAB and update with any new information. I’ll also be training some of our internal teams on these changes in the coming days and weeks so GreenPages will be able to properly discuss them with our customers. In the meantime, VMware has published a good document outlining these changes which is available here: ( Stay tuned…

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