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vSphere Acceleration kits and Essentials kits

I am bit confused over the various licensing options that VMware has now.   It is my understanding that for Full Versions (ESX4 and ESXi) that the Enterprise licensing option is no longer available.   However, there is another set of licenses now that does offer an Enterprise option.   This is offered in the vSphere Acceleration and Essentials kits.

However, I also understand that the Acceleration and Essentials kits are limited in the number of hosts and VMs the license supports.   Additionally, it is my understanding that should a company want to later upgrade to the Full license that there is NO upgrade discount option.   The company must purchase full retail licenses for the Full version.  Is that correct?   And, if they do this.....does this mean they will need to do a full remove and reinstall of ESX and vCenter  or is it just a matter of the license keys being changed.

This is important because many of my clients are currently small/mid sized companies and the Acceleration and Essentials kits service their current needs but as they grow they may very well want to go with the full version.

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To move between differenting licensing levels simply requires replacing the license key - there will be no need to reinstall the software. In terms of an upgrade price - it is my understanding as long as the product has an SnS contract they will be able to upgrade at a reduced cost -

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I think there are a lot of misunderstandings here:

  • The Enterprise edition is still available. With 4.0, VMware first planned to drop it, however due to customer requests they did not.
  • Essentials and Essentials Plus are kits, designed for small businesses and are limited to 3 hosts, but they are also upgradeable. See e.g. http://www.vmware.com/landing_pages/standard-ak-promo/ (there are other upgrade options too)
  • The Acceleration kits are basically bundled starter kits with full licenses, but for a reduced price. Each customer can usually order only 1 Acceleration kit.
  • The limit to 3 hosts in some of the Acceleration kits is due to the cheaper vCenter Server Foundation license which - if you grow and need more than 3 hosts - can be upgraded to vCenter Server Standard.
  • The binaries (vCenter Server and the hosts) are the same for all editions. It's just a matter of replacing the license keys to activate the licensed features. No need to reinstall after a license upgrade.

For an overview see http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/buy/small_business_editions_comparison.html