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vSphere 5: Technologically Superior, Financially Draining

Vmware’s new vSphere 5 is technologically superior, but financially draining. Vsphere’s new licensing model has the virtualization community, and Vmware’s online community up in arms — and for good reason.

Their new cloud-inspired licensing model changes their pricing from their traditional hardware-based framework to a more cloud-like consumption model. The new licensing model gives up their per-processor pricing and instead will license pooled vRAM — in a move dubbed a cash grab by users and a flexibility improvement by VMware. The only silver lining to this is that vSphere users can distribute the vRAM however they see fit.

The goal of the change, according to VMware, is to create a more flexible environment. But the goal according to VMware Certified Professional Justin Paul is a cash infusion for the company, “these days with servers that can hold hundred of gigabytes of RAM VMware probably feels that they are getting screwed over and losing a of of cash on all those extra CPU licenses that you’re not buying anymore. When you stop and think about it, its really obvious from the bean counter side of things.” In Paul’s blog entry, — vSphere 5 vRAM Considerations, he does some neat calculations based on example vSphere environments, and in almost every example calculation the price doubles.

The VMware online forum is abuzz with users who are having a hard time trying to justify the upgrade due to the cost — and many users considering switching to Xen or Microsoft’s Hyper-V R2. Vince77, a VMware forum participant, and current vSphere user, agreed with Paul’s logic on the huge price jump for those running huge servers with few processors, “very shocked here, I can’t go to my boss and explain that our recent investment in three new bladeservers with 128GB memory and 2 CPUs has to be licensed with extra VMware licenses because there’s ‘so much RAM’ in it.”

Now while the new licensing model is debatable, no one is questioning the technological gain’s achieved by the upgrade. The new vSphere 5 includes 200 new or improved capabilities and supports VMs up to 4x more powerful than before. There are also three new major improvements: Auto-Deploy, Storage DRS, and Profile-Driven Storage.