By Calvin Zito, @HPStorageGuy
This is a tough blog post to write. Last week when I heard about the support for 2TB of memory on several of our high-end servers in a VMware environment and heard about the benefits, I decided that it was worth having an "HP Storage Guy" - that would be me - cover the topic on the blog. As I watched the Twitter conversation during the VMware launch event (on July 12), the comments turned mostly negative when the topic of VMware's new licensing came up. Licensing and pricing of VMware's products is FAR from my expertise so I'm not the guy to listen to on this topic but I've tried to understand as best I can.
You can read about the new licensing in this "VMware vSphere 5.0 - Licensing, Pricing, and Packaging" white paper. Here are a few things I see:
- The licensing change boils down to this: vSphere 5.0 will be licensed on a per-processor basis with a vRAM entitlement. Each vSphere 5.0 CPU license will entitle the purchaser to a specific amount of vRAM, or memory configured to virtual machines. The vRAM entitlement can be pooled across a vSphere environment to enable a true cloud or utility based IT consumption model. (page 3)
- With vSphere 5.0, previous hardware limits have been removed (page 4). Now you are free to pay for exactly what you need.
A couple of bloggers have written articles with their perspective and trying sample calculations of what licensing fees look like with vSphere 5.0's new licensing versus vSphere 4.1. Here's links to those blogs:
- via @plankers: "The Five Stages of VMware licensing grief"
- via @virtualisedreal: "Understanding vSphere5 Licensing"
- via @gabvirtualworld: "vSphere 5 licensing with vRAM isn’t that bad at all"
Why did I address this on my blog? As you'll hear in my podcast, we talked a lot about the benefits of this larger memory. I tweeted that we had support for this larger memory during the VMware webcast and several people responded directly to me, very upset at the licensing costs for this memory. One of the responses I got said "That's 21 licenses of Enterprise Plus at $20k a pop." That works out to a bit over $400K in license fees to use the memory.
Well, from our vantage point, that isn't what it would cost. Consider that with vSphere 5.0 Enterprise Plus comes with a 48GB vRAM license. The publish cost of a single Enterprise Plus license is $3495 (not sure where the "$20K a pop" came from) so in a 4P system, you would get 192GB vRAM entitlement. With your 2TB memory, you would need 39 additional licenses to use all 2TB (2048GB-192GB=1856GB and 1856GB/48GB = 38.67 additional licenses). At a license price of $3,495, it would be about $150K.
I'm the last person you want figuring this out - but I wanted to give more context before I shared the podcast with you. So here it is - give it a listen:
I'm planning one more podcast on the VMware announcement - I'll talk about the enhancement to our P9000 Application Performance eXtender (APEX) software to support VMware. APEX allows customers to assign specific service level targets to VMs and prioritize all storage system resources to meet them and I believe this is an industry first (and only) for VMware. More on that later this week.