Will VMware’s new licensing portal end vSphere licensing nightmares?

The new My VMware centralizes vSphere license management and support, possibly putting an end to VMware customer licensing problems.

IT pros hope VMware’s upcoming centralized licensing portal, dubbed My VMware, will put an end to licensing and support confusion.

The new portal, currently in beta, lets users and channel partners manage product licenses and support at a customer account level instead of by users’ email addresses, according to an FAQ and video on VMware’s website.

This means corporate assets will no longer be tied to individual employees, potentially clearing up confusion when employees leave the company. It also allows one point of visibility into the licenses and support a company owns.

Delegation of license management and support is also a key theme in the new portal. It will allow users to control who has permissions to view and manage license keys and delegate who can file support requests.

As it stands, VMware licensing and support confuses customers and partners, particularly when channel partners are working alongside internal admins to keep licenses and support agreements up to date.

“A couple years back, with the release of vSphere 4, we had an incident with a VAR managing our [support and subscription] with VMware,” said Bill Hill, infrastructure IT lead for a Portland-based logistics company. “They dropped the ball on some renewals because they did not have full visibility into what we had. Being able to delegate access or their having some level of automatic visibility into our contracts…may have aided in dodging that issue in the first place.”

Some channel partners are already testing out the new portal. One VAR said that the role-based mechanism will allow clients to get a much better grasp on providing licenses and downloads to their staff.  

“Specifically, for a VAR, I can now provide access to specific parts of my available license to my staff without opening the keys to the kingdom,” said Michael Letschin, an integration architect with Convergence Technology Consulting, an IT consulting firm in Glen Burnie, Md. “Also, we will most likely have our clients provide access so that we can view, escalate and monitor their support and renewals.”

Another channel partner describes VMware's current licensing process as a “nightmare.” One reason is that there is no easy way to discover what a customer purchased in the past, when all the licenses expire, and what the updated quote will be, said Tim Antonowicz, senior architect for Mosaic Technology, an IT solutions provider based in Salem, N.H.

“I have had sales people working for days, sometimes weeks, trying to get customers quotes on maintenance renewals,” Antonowicz said.

Sometimes requests leave off licenses that are known to belong to a customer, but VMware can’t find. Other times, a customer registers licenses on their portal from different email addresses and they become lost. 

“In a few cases, we have had customers that upgraded eight sockets of vSphere Enterprise to Enterprise Plus, and the maintenance quote from VMware showed all 16 sockets, old and new, as Enterprise Plus and active for maintenance,” Antonowicz said. “The customer was tempted to pay maintenance for all 16 and avoid having to buy new licenses, but he didn’t do that and reported the variance to us to correct.”

He says he will remain skeptical until he sees My VMware portal in action.

Beth Pariseau is a senior news writer for SearchServerVirtualization.com. Write to her at bpariseau@techtarget.com.

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