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 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!