SuperSpike
Contributor
Contributor

vSphere 5 Licensing

I took a minute to read the licensing guide for vSphere 5 and I'm still trying to pull my jaw off the floor. VMware has completely screwed their customers this time. Why?

What I used to be able to do with 2 CPU licenses now takes 4. Incredible.

Today

BL460c G7 with 2 sockets and 192G of memory = 2 vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses
DL585 G7 with 4 sockets and 256G of memory = 4 vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses

Tomorrow

BL460c G7 with 2 sockets and 192G of memory = 4 vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses
BL585 G7 with 4 sockets and 256G of memory = 6 vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses


So it's almost as if VMware is putting a penalty on density and encouraging users to buy hardware with more sockets rather than less.

I get that the vRAM entitlements are for what you use, not necessarily what you have, but who buys memory and doesn't use it?

Forget the hoopla about a VM with 1 TB of memory. Who in their right mind would deploy that using the new license model? It would take 22 licenses to accommodate! You could go out and buy the physical box for way less than that today, from any hardware vendor.

Anyone else completely shocked by this move?

@Virtual_EZ
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1,980 Replies
Frank_Heidbuche
Contributor
Contributor

well MS is't waiting...

it's like they knew vmware was throwing away it's customers.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/07/13/windows_server_8_peek/

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stevieg
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

aarondovetail wrote:

Never touched Hyper-V before, downloading the trial now to see what it's all about

If like me you are having a first look, check out some of these videos from TechEd 2011:

I've only watched a few so far but they look fairly good, especially the first.

Steve

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solgaeDK
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

I would probably point out a couple things based on VMware's new licensing model for vSphere 5:

1. This will definitely penalize customers who have servers with more RAM than the vRAM entitied by each processor license. For instance, if someone has 2-socket servers with 128GB RAM, customers will be affected since they will only be able to provision up to total of 48GB (standard), or 64GB (enterprise), or 96GB (enterprise plus) vRAM. Even if it's a pooled license, it's still a concern.

2. This will discourage people from virtualizing apps with high-memory requirement. Then again, I still see people deploying such apps in physical because the value savings becomes less and less as your resource requirement for the app increase, not to mention a storage overhead to store the VM swap files. And before you think about moving to Xenserver or Hyper-V, keep in mind that Hyper-V's RAM limit per VM is 64GB (same as ESX 3.5), and XenServer is 32GB - way below vSphere 4's limit, which is 255GB per VM.

3. Either way, things aren't exactly looking good for VMware who is trying to promote people from virtualizing everything. It probably won't be a concern for people who have servers with RAM below vRAM limit (unless overcommitted) and have lots of smaller VMs, but it will be a huge concern for people who buy servers with high amount of RAM and planning on virtualizing apps with high-memory requirement. Either they will be forced to put more effort to right-size their VMs (which won't guarantee that they won't need to buy more license), or they will forgo virtualization altogether. Then again, you need to think of a value proposition - is it really economical to virtualize big apps?

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Mnemonic
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

This is definitely NOT a Kodak moment!

I was expecting VMware to finally realize that they need to lower prices to keep up with competition, not raise it. ;(

At the very least they could make the Enterprise Plus License vRAM Unlimited. Otherwise it makes NO sense to even have a pCPU limit in the license.

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qwerty22
Contributor
Contributor

You would think that being a SMB, this licensing issue would not effect us, but less than 4 weeks ago I pulled the trigger and purchased 3 new servers and the Essentials Plus license.  I put in dual six core processors and 48 GB of memory into each box.  I over provisioned the CPUs thinking that sometime down the road, I would double or triple the amount memory to enable us to add or consolidate more servers onto each host.  With the new licensing, I have no option to upgrade memory at all without moving to the standard licensing. 

I, for one, will not be rushing out to upgrade to 5 any time soon.

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Rumple
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

A co-worker made a goo0d point to me about how licensing based on utilization makes it extremely hard to budget on since you do not really know how your loads will change throughout the year.

Similarly licensing based on Allocated is also hard to budget since that changes throughout the year.

The one thing that doesn’t change (without an actual plan/budget) is the amount of physical ram in a server…if vmware made you license the pRAM in the boxes that would give them a strong usage based model for licensing, and it would allow us to oversubscribe (hey…if we can buy 128GB and allocate 256GB..good on us and for that we’d thank vmware), otherwise we’d sigh and wish the VM’s could share memory better.

VM licensing based on allocated is too much of a moving target and which really means we’ve lost advantage of oversubscription as its not saving us any real money

Vmware – change licensing to be based on actual combined Host Memory available if CPU is no longer a feasible licensing model.

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ArtIW
Contributor
Contributor

Hey all,

My name is Art Wittmann, I work for InformationWeek.  If any of you would like to comment on this new pricing policy, preferrable on the record, but possibly off the record too, please drop me an email.

awittmann@techweb.com

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SuperSpike
Contributor
Contributor

I'm happy to see this thread is getting the attention it deserves. 2500 page views and counting (+1000 since this morning). Thank you all for participating.

@Virtual_EZ
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Watch22
Contributor
Contributor

We just bought 4 new Dell R910's with 256GB of Ram, I guess we don't fit into the 90% of the customers will not be affected by the license change. I guess we will be sticking with 4.1 for a while.  We will have to buy 6 more enterprise+ license to use all of our memory in these boxes. I will not be able to hold off management wanting to move to Hyper-V since we own data center licenses already. Maybe VMware will have a sale like they did when v4 came out, and gave a really good price to upgrade.

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admin
Immortal
Immortal

Hi all, I work for VMware but am not a licensing specialist. I've asked for some of them to come by. We anticipate that this new model won't cause a price increase for most people - but you need to calculate your real-world numbers before you can tell.

The key to understanding the model is that you have to look at your full data center and your full real-world environment, because it's a vRAM pool. The other key concept is that you license vRAM (the amount of RAM your VMs use), not the physical RAM in the box. So you have to take into account memory utilization (60-85%?), HA spare cluster capacity (you've got that, right? Those machines take a license but cost zero vRAM from the pool.), DR capacity if you can pool the vCenters, and all the rest of your lower-utilization clusters and machines around your organization.

They based the allocations on actual real-world data from customers, and we expect almost everybody to come out a little ahead (i.e., some excess vRAM capacity) just from their regular SnS upgrade from vSphere 4. This is not to say that there aren't some monster VM scenarios where you'll pay more, but until you do that calculation, you don't know where you stand. And in those cases, talk to your VMware rep or partner. This is also the right time to start looking at VM rightsizing -- do all those VMs really need all those GB?

This is a conceptual shift to a pool of resources, not physical devices. It takes everybody a few days to get their heads around, even VMware folks. I encourage you to read the following resources and do some calculations. Then let's start a new thread on some real-world scenarios -- that will be most useful for all of us to understand real-world implications. We're here and we're listening.

White paper: http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vsphere_pricing.pdf

http://lonesysadmin.net/2011/07/12/the-five-stages-of-vmware-licensing-grief/

http://www.vtesseract.com/post/7557543715/vsphere-licensing-doing-some-math

http://virtualisedreality.com/2011/07/13/understanding-vsphere5-licensing/

http://www.gabesvirtualworld.com/vsphere-5-licensing-with-vram-isn%E2%80%99t-that-bad-at-all/

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aarondovetail
Contributor
Contributor

Monster scenarios? With vSphere Standard only having 24GB of allotment that gives a 2-CPU box 48GB of memory. I have at least 72GB of memory in each and was thinking about upgrading further. Most 2-CPU boxes these days can support 200-300+ GB of memory.

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cvbarney
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Steve Goodman wrote:

Pascal Watteel wrote:

well except for complaining here in this forum, is there anything else we can actualy do...

to let vmware revise this?


One suggestion is to speak to your VMware reseller, let them know your concerns and what you plan to do about it if there isn't a change. I know I have.

Steve

Or write a letter to VMware Smiley Wink

http://www.autechheads.com/blogs/entryid/369/dear-vmware

But seriously, we have to make our point and let VMware know it will result in loosing marketshare if they stand by their licencing point. Peoply who go away don't come back easily. I'm working with VMware products since 2002 and I've never seen this much negative reaction after a product launch! VI3 was amazing, vSphere-4 awesome....How do we remember vSphere5 after a couple of years?

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SuperSpike
Contributor
Contributor

John,

Thanks for your comments. I think everyone here realizes that vRAM is a pool of resources, but that doesn't really change anything. No one is buying a bunch of memory and then just sitting on it. We buy memory because we need it. We want the utmost in density, something that VMware has been preaching for years.

The new licensing model completely contradicts VMware-touted features such as TPS and compression. These are features that have allowed IT shops to over-subscribe memory for years. Why bother over-subscribing anymore when I'm paying by the GB? What good does TPS do anymore?

I think the general consensus here is that if you're not going to charge solely by the CPU socket anymore, then you have to at least charge by memory UTILIZATION rather than ALLOCATION.

The 48G per socket Enterprise Plus license also seems extremely shortsighted. It's based on hardware memory maximums that were available 18-24 months ago.

I really question the statement about "real-world data from customers." No one I know (and this thread is proof) loads up their hosts with memory and then just sits on half of it. We strive for 75% utilization across every host. Everyone that virtualizes servers runs out of memory first, so we've been loading our hosts as much as we can afford so that we can continue to enjoy high consolidation ratios. This licensing change will reduce density.

Monster VM scenarios - like SQL? vFabric? Even VMware's newly advertised 1TB VM would require a whopping 22 (rounding up) Enterprise Plus licenses to run. Why virtualize systems with large memory requirements anymore if we have to pay a memory tax? We're already buying the physical RAM, now we have to pay more to assign it to virtual machines.

I started this thread based on a real-world scenario. I read the vsphere pricing guide you referenced and it's exactly why I started this thread.

I'll recap my real-world scenario again:

Today - a data center filled with the following

BL460c G7 with 2 sockets and 192G of memory = 2 vSphere Enterprise Plus  licenses


Tomorrow

BL460c G7 with 2 sockets and 192G of memory = 4 vSphere Enterprise Plus  licenses

It doesn't matter if the vRAM entitlements are pooled. At the end of the day, I want to use at least 70% of that memory in my host. Using the specs above, that's about 135GB (out of 192GB). Using 2 Ent+ licenses, I can only allocate 96GB per host (50%) - a 39GB delta per host. Extrapolate that across a data center full of these hosts, and I've now got hundreds of GB of RAM that I need to license in order to allocate.

@Virtual_EZ
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Rumple
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Thanks for the Post john. Here are the problems:

#1 - The other key concept is that you license vRAM (the amount of RAM your VMs use), not the physical RAM in the box. – Actually. The correct wording is “vRAM ALLOCATED” to the VM’s…so if I ALLOCATED 128GB of RAM to VM’s on a 96GB Farm I need to license 128GB..but guess what…I am only ACTIVELY using 90GB…classic oversubscription methodology and I am paying for using oversubscription…

#2 - This is also the right time to start looking at VM rightsizing -- do all those VMs really need all those GB? - I want you to call the oracle/Microsoft/ also will never use all the RAM they are asking for.

In ESX before 5 I could gently shake the corporate tree and recommend a lower ram method. When the vendor insists that they will not support the product without the recommended RAM allocated to the system, then I’d smile, give them their RAM and call it a day..knowing it never really hurt me too much.

Now if we go through the same scenario in the middle of the year, I need to seriously look at my “allocated” memory (remember..not used or physically purchased) and break the bad news that their project calls for another $10k in licensing….

Big business does NOT utilize a chargeback model, nor do they allocate costs to projects in most cases…they are still old school…and you are not going to see them change their business processes to match what vmware (and even I) think…

They will insist on a cheaper product…plain and simple…

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Full_Halsey
Contributor
Contributor

I don't think I follow your assessment of not affecting most people. vRAM assigned is the highest memory accounting. The license model doesn't say active  but assigned. vRAM assigned is usually always higher than active, therefore the amount of vRAM assigned on a host is usually very close to the physical amount of RAM on an ESX host. And I don't get why people keep saying "across you entire data center". Does VMware think I have ESX hosts sitting around idle just waiting for stuff to happen?

I don't know what data center you evaluated or work in but it sounds a bit like fantasy land.

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admin
Immortal
Immortal

I was thinking more monster databases - wasn't trying to make you into an outlier. Only you know what's going on in your DC, so you may be one of the folks affected. but you do need to look at all your licenses and all your clusters and machines, not just a single machine.

* You have 72GB in a 2-way box. What's the memory utilization? 60-85%? You need to only license the vRAM you use, not the full physical box

* Do you have a cluster with excess capacity for HA? N + 1 or 2? The +1 or 2 licenses add more vRAM in your pool, but cost zero vRAM

* Do you have other less-utilized clusters and servers around that will add to the vRAM pool.

Once you do this, most have excess capacity.

Even if that number of unaffected customers is 90% or 95%, that still leaves 1 out of 10 or 20 shops do have pricing implications, and that's a big deal. And as I began with, I don't know your DC, you do -- but you can't be sure until you look at your entire pool of resources.

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aarondovetail
Contributor
Contributor

Most of our applications are high memory and low CPU --

I currently have 3 boxes with 216GB memory total, and was about to upgade them to 288GB total between all 3 boxes. I'm using the Essentials Plus kit currently, which will bring me down to 144GB vRAM total.

I will use at least 60% of that, so I require at least 170-180GB allotment. This will now require me to upgrade to the Standard Kit (15,000$ vs 4,300$)

That's worse than the Netflix price increase that they just did.

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Rumple
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

I think vmware has confused the issue with the CPU and vRAM being tied together.

Here is what I understand from the document:

VMWARE in their wisdom seems to have associated a CPU with a unit of measure. 1CPU=32GB RAM, 2 CPU=64GB RAM vs 1 license = 32GB, 2 licenses = 64GB

In reality, the CPU doesn’t come in at all according to the documents…you can have 1 CPU or 1000CPU’s in a physical host…all they want you to cover is the vRAM you allocated to the VM’s.

So..you have a single CPU (6 core) host with 128GB of RAM and vsphere standard …and you allocated 120GB of VRAM to virtual machines…you need to license 5 UNITS of vRAM to cover that vRAM allocated….

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Full_Halsey
Contributor
Contributor

Again I question your statistics. I am very familiar with several large data canters, larger than mine. I only have 50 UCS blades with 2 procs and 256GB of RAM. I'm aware of data centers with well over 100 UCS blades with 256GB of RAM on each. We all have vRAM allocations in the 90% range with active memory in the 70% range. I seriously question the numbers you are quoting. 

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maxel
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Sorry John, but a license model which takes 21!! Enterprise plus Licenses to run one! 1 TB VM must have an failure...

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