With the introduction of vSphere 5, VMware is changing the licensing model to provide the opportunity for customers to move to a more cloud-like, “pay for consumption” approach. The changes set the stage for a more modern IT cost model that is based on consumption and value rather than components and capacity. The buzz on the new model seems to center around vRAM or virtual RAM. vRAM is the total memory configured to virtual machines.
VMware vSphere 5 is licensed on a per-processor basis with a vRAM entitlement. Each vSphere 5 processor license comes with an entitlement to a certain amount of vRAM capacity or memory configured to virtual machines. In vSphere 4, core and physical entitlements are tied to a server and cannot be shared among multiple hosts but in vSphere 5 the vRAM entitlements of vSphere 5 licenses are pooled or aggregated across all vSphere servers managed by a vCenter Server instance or multiple vCenter Server instances in Linked Mode. Virtual machines can now grow four times larger than in any previous release to support even the largest applications. Virtual machines (VM) can now have up to 32 virtual CPUs and 1 TB of RAM.
What are the advantages of the vRAM licensing model?
- Simplicity- removes two physical constraints (core and physical RAM), replacing them with a single virtual entitlement (vRAM) . This provides a clear path to license vSphere on next-generation hardware configurations.
- Flexibility- allows the aggregation and sharing of vRAM entitlement across a large pool of servers
- Value- provides better alignment of cost with actual use rather than with hardware configurations and capacity
What are the initial concerns about vSphere 5’s new licensing rules?
- Initial concerns about vSphere 5 centered around cost increases. With the vRAM model, there has been concern that spikes in usage such as for test dev cases and monthly peaks for financial applications- no matter how brief- would be considered consumed vRAM and would be costly.
- For business critical applications that require large amounts of RAM, these cost concerns have been even greater.
How has VMware alleviated these concerns about vSphere 5?
- VMware listened to customer concerns about having to potentially purchase additional vSphere licensing because of vRAM limits and responded by significantly raising the vRAM for each edition shortly after the original announcements.
- Enterprise Plus- 96 GB from 48 GB per processor license
- Enterprise- 64 GB from 32 GB per processor license
- Standard- 32 GB from 24 GB per processor license
- Essentials Plus- 32 GB from 24 GB per processor license
- Essentials – 32 GB from 24 GB per processor license
- Free vSphere hypervisor- 32 GB from 24 GB per processor license
- For business critical VM applications that may go over 96 GB, VMware has capped the amount of vRAM counted per VM at 96 GB. The size might be up to 1TB but the monitoring is still going to view it as 96 GB.
- VMware is going to count a 12 month average of configured vRAM rather than a peak. Instead of charging for consumed memory based on a spike, it will be actual consumed vRAM tracked and averaged over a 12 month time period.
Other Highlights of what’s new in vSphere 5
- On the Compute side, vSphere 5 supports Apple Xserve servers running OS X Server 10.6 (Snow Leopard) as a guest operating system
- On the storage side:
- Profile Driven Storage- vSphere 5 can identify the appropriate storage to use for a given virtual machine depending on service level. This provides a streamlined approach to selecting the correct storage and ensuring its delivery.
- vSphere File System- vSphere 5 can leverage enhanced scalability and performance through a no-disruptive upgrade to the platform’s latest clustered file system
- On the network side:
- vSphere Distributed Switch- vSphere 5 improves visibility of virtual machine traffic through NetFlow and enhances monitoring and troubleshooting through Switched Port Analyzer (SPAN) and Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) support.
- On the availability side:
- vSphere High Availability- vSphere 5 architecture enables superior guarantees, simplified setup and configuration, and expanded scalability
- On the core management side:
- VMware vCenter Server Appliance- with vSphere 5, run vCenter Server as a Linux based virtual appliance.
Other VMware news- SRM 5.0
SRM 5.0 provides VM based replication. It allows you to take a full VM and move it to a DR site as opposed to having it at the storage level.
SRM 5.0 includes:
- Automated failback
- Bi-directional recovery plans
- Automates failback to original site
- Planned Migration
- New workflow that can be applied to any recovery plan
- Ensure no data-loss and application consistent migration of virtual machines
- Typical Use cases for SRM
- Disaster failover
- Disaster avoidance
- Planned migration
Please contact Broadleaf Services (firstname.lastname@example.org or 866-337-7733) if you would like more information to see if the new pricing impacts your licensing or to decide if you should upgrade to vSphere 5. Also stay tuned for a lunch seminar in your area on vSphere 5 licensing and backing up VMware – http://www.broadleafservices.com/events/ to look for an event near you.