vRAM drives customers to Enterprise+

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UPDATE: 21st August 2012 – CRN have leaked news that VMware’s controversial vRAM licencing may be on it’s way out. No doubt we’ll find out at VMworld SF next week.

I like conspiracy theories, and this is mine for today. Back in 2009 VMware introduced the Enterprise+ licencing tier to the frustration of existing customers who felt they were already paying top dollar (especially the large enterprises with site agreements). They simultaneously announced that the existing Enterprise tier would be discontinued and offered a 50% discount on the upgrade to Enterprise+ but after disappointing takeup the Enterprise licence was allowed to persist. As the vSphere product suite has evolved  over the last three years the bulk of the new features have gone into the Enterprise+ tier but I still speak to plenty of users who aren’t prepared to pay the extra. As competitors (Hyper-V, Xen etc) improve VMware need to differentiate themselves but that’s hard to do if a chunk of your http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/zyban/ customers haven’t adopted your latest, greatest, features.

That’s where the new vRAM licencing model introduced with vSphere5 has a part to play. While not the driving reason for the move to this usage based pricing model it does mean that as hardware scales up (we’ve just gone to 192GB per dual socket server) you might find yourself moving to Enterprise+ just to get the extra vRAM allowance. Recently I’ve had to determine the best way to cope with a significant increase in the number of VMs we host (about a 170% increase) and the most cost efffective option was to move to Enterprise+. The alternative was to simply buy extra sockets of Enterprise just to get the vRAM allowance but that was more expensive and got us no extra functionality.
Voila – customers are driven to the Enterprise+ tier and VMware finally have their end goal!

One thought on “vRAM drives customers to Enterprise+

  1. Thanks Edward! Good analysis of the current state of the industry and current factors that are on the minds of many enterprise organizations. The extra vRAM licensing and Enterprise+ licensing to get many of the new enterprise grade features have been key concerns for many of the customers I work with as well.

    As you mention above, Microsoft and Citrix are not standing still and customers realize this. Windows Server 2012 RTM’d during the first week of August and there’s a ton of interest in the Enterprise space in evaluating Hyper-V v3.0 as an option, particularly with the ability to scale-up without additional vRAM licensing. Pair this up with live migration, storage migration, 64-host clustering and DR replication (all included in Windows Server 2012 at no added cost) and customers are seeing that they now have real alternatives that can deliver what they expect at a much lower cost point. Heck, customers can even get the same Hyper-V v3 scalability and high availability features in the free Hyper-V Server 2012 product.

    All-in-all, I firmly believe that the industry will become much stronger with this competition in place as Microsoft, Citrix, KVM etc move strong hypervisor features into “table stakes” features of an enterprise operating system rather than a separate added cost product and the industry begins to focus on enterprise management issues and private cloud as higher-value differentiators.

    Best regards,



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