VMWare 5’s new licensing model.

After reading up on the new VMware licensing&pricing model I understand the uproar. Limiting vRAM is a reasonable constraint, but 32GB per socket for Enterprise? 48 GB for “Enterprise Plus”? If you have a dual CPU server with 144 GB (easily configurable last year), with 4.1 you’d only need 2 enterprise licenses to use all 144 GB, since in 4.1 an “Enterprise” license covered 1 CPU (up to 6 cores) and up to 256 GB memory on the host.

But with 5.0 you’ll either have to buy 5 Enterprise licenses (160 GB) or 3 Enterprise Plus licenses (144 GB) just to use the full 144 GB. I guess VMware has done away with memory overcommit as a selling point? They used to tell us it was recommended to go up to 2:1 so we could safely put ~140 GB of VMs on a 72 GB machine – with the new model that’s completely gone.

To put it in monetary terms, on the machine with 144 GB ram from above, the cost for 4.1 would be $2875 * 2 = $5750. To stick with Enterprise it would be $2875 * 5 = $14,375, or $3495 * 3 = $10,485. A gigantic price jump. I haven’t read up on any features of vSphere 5, but I don’t think any feature can make up for at minimum nearly doubling the cost, with loss of a major selling point (memory overcommit). I mean, you can still overcommit as long as you’re willing to pay for the overcommitted memory. Also, the above numbers are per-host, so if you’ve got a 5-host cluster you’re looking at a $25,000 price hike.

VMWare has long been one of my favorite products, but this is making me consider alternatives. Almost 100% of the feedback I’ve read about this change has been negative. Seems like a huge mistake on VMware’s part.

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