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VMware pros hail death knell for vRAM

VMware experts cheer on reports from sources who say VMware will do away with its vRAM licensing at VMworld next week.

VMware will abolish its much-maligned vRAM licensing scheme with the release of vSphere 5.1 at next week’s VMworld 2012 conference, sources said, and these reports are music to administrators’ ears.

The company had introduced the virtual RAM (vRAM) pricing scheme last summer with the launch of vSphere 5 but will move back to physical CPU-based licensing.

“A lot of people got jaded when VMware introduced the vRAM tax,” said Bill Hill, a senior engineer who works in the public sector. “Moving back to CPU-based licensing would allow [VMware shops] to achieve the [VM] densities they had before.”

The short-lived licensing policy originally entitled vSphere 5 Standard, Essentials and Essentials Plus licensing levels to 24 GB RAM per license; vSphere 5 Enterprise to 32 GB per license; and vSphere 5 Enterprise Plus to 48 GB per license. If the number of powered-on virtual machines (VMs) in a pool of ESX hosts consumed more vRAM than the host licenses allowed, the user would have to buy more licenses to add to the vRAM pool.

Following an uproar from customers, VMware raised the vRAM limits per license to 32 GB per license for Standard, Essentials and Essentials Plus; 64 GB per license for Enterprise; and 96 GB for Enterprise Plus.

That change quelled the furor a bit, but frustrated VMware shops have since eyed Microsoft’s Hyper-V 3.0 “as another option, simply because they didn’t have to pay an additional price to use memory,” said one source with direct knowledge of the licensing change, who requested anonymity.

“Some of my customers are switching to Hyper-V just because of the premium they have to pay for vSphere without getting much extra value,” said Marcel van den Berg, a virtualization consultant from the Netherlands. “I am very happy, and seeing the responses on Twitter, everyone in the VMware eco-system is happy, [that] this bad idea called vRAM is off the table.”

The change back to a per-CPU licensing model would remove one of Microsoft’s main selling points for Hyper-V, said Christian Mohn, senior infrastructure consultant for EVRY Consulting, based in Norway.

It remains to be seen what will happen for VMware customers who bought additional CPU licenses, or upgraded to a higher tier license, to be in compliance.

“I am very happy, and seeing the responses on Twitter, everyone in the VMware eco-system is happy, [that] this bad idea called vRAM is off the table.”

Marcel van den Berg, a virtualization consultant from the Netherlands.

Bundling up vCloud, breaking out vSphere Replication
VMware also plans to offer a new bundle of its products under one SKU, which is meant to push adoption of the vCloud product line, according to sources. The bundle, dubbed the vCloud Suite, will include VMware’s Site Recovery Manager, vFabric Application Director, vCenter Operations,vCloud Director and vSphere.

This new SKU will come at a price, but it was unclear as of press time just what that price would be; sources said the bundle would be at least “heavily discounted” for current Enterprise Plus users.

In another area of the portfolio, two products will also be un-bundled with next week’s announcements: VSphere Replication will no longer require Site Recovery Manager, sources said.

“This would take away the unique selling point of Hyper-V Replica,” said van den Berg.

VMware did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Beth Pariseau is a senior news writer for SearchCloudComputing.com and SearchServerVirtualization.com. Write to her at bpariseau@techtarget.com or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.

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