Tag Archives: licencing

The VMTN subscription is back (via VMUG Advantage)

vmtnSummary: It’s not quite the full VMTN Subscription that I think some envisaged but it’s a very good start. Through the VMUG Advantage program you can now get 365 day eval licences for various VMware products. About time.

Back in the mists of time (2005 through 2007) VMware offered the VMTN subscription, their equivalent of Microsoft’s Technet program (itself now sadly gone to heaven/clouds too). This allowed various people to licence software. However this was discontinued in 2007 as it was felt that newly introduced free editions (VMServer and VMPlayer) combined with an expanded partner program provided sufficient access.

Fast forward to 2011 and the range of VMware products had multiplied. Independant consultants, bloggers, and even customers were beginning to struggle with limited trials and restrictive licencing. Cue Mike Laverick, a well known blogger, calling for the return of the VMTN subscription in a forum post which to date consists of over 23 pages of comments, with almost universal agreement that it should be brought back. As recently as June this year there was no sign it was ever going to happen – indeed Mike (who now works for VMware) had chatted to the relevant people internally and been told it wasn’t likely. There’s now a comment (quick work Duncan Epping) that http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/birth-control/ most will welcome…

This morning it looks as if VMware finally relented. It’s not comprehensive access to every product VMware offer (consider it a v1.0 release) but it’s a good start including the following products;

  • VMware vCenter Server™ 5 Standalone for vSphere 5
  • VMware vSphere® with Operations Management™ Enterprise Plus
  • VMware vCloud Suite® Standard
  • VMware vRealize™ Operations Insight™
  • VMware vRealize Operations™ 6 Enterprise
  • VMware vRealize Log Insight™
  • VMware vRealize Operations for Horizon®
  • VMware Horizon® Advanced Edition
  • VMware Virtual SAN™

Luckily I’m a VMUG Advantage member so have access as of this morning (you should get an email if you’re a member). I get many of these as a vExpert but it’s nice to know there’s a more inclusive way of getting this access. For the small army of home lab enthusiasts the cost of a VMUG Advantage membership is well within reach (approx £130, or US$200pa) and means no more rebuilding labs every 30 days. Combined with the freely available HoLs there really is a good choice now.

I think this will massively drive adoption of VMUG Advantage. Previously the benefits were of limited use – the best discount was on full training courses and the rest were largely ignored. I must admit I was likely to let mine lapse at the end of the year but I may now reconsider.

vRAM drives customers to Enterprise+

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!

Using vCenter Operations v5 – What’s new (2/3)

In part one of Using vCenter Operations I covered what the product does along with the different versions available and deployment considerations. In this post I’ll delve into what’s new and improved and in the final part I’ll cover capacity features, product pricing, and my overall conclusions. I had intended to cover the configuration management and application dependency features too but it’s such a big product I’ll have to write another blogpost or I’ll never finish!

Introductory learning materials

UPDATE APRIL 2012 – VMware have just launched 2.5 hrs of free training for vCOps.

Deep dive learning materials;

What’s new and improved in vCOps

Monitoring is a core feature and for some people the only one they’re concerned about. As the size of your infrastructure grows and becomes more complex the need for a tool to combine compute, network, and storage in real time also grows. Here are my key takeaways;

  • there’s a new dashboard screen which shows health (immediate issues), risks (upcoming issues) and efficiency (opportunity for improvements) in a single screen. The dashboard can provide a high level view of your infrastructure and works nicely on a plasma screen as your ‘traffic light’ view of the virtual world (and physical if you go with Enterprise+). The dashboard can also be targeted at the datacenter, cluster, host or VM level which I found very useful although you can only customise the dashboard in Enterprise versions. There is still the Operations view (the main view in vCOPS v1) which now also includes datastores. This view scales extremely well – even if you have thousands of VMs and datastores across multiple vCenters they can all be displayed on a single screen.
    NOTE: If you find some or all of your datastores show up as grey with no data (as mine did) there is a hotfix available via VMware support.
  • Continue reading Using vCenter Operations v5 – What’s new (2/3)

Using vCenter Operations v5 – Introduction and deployment (1/3)

At VMworld 2011 in Copenhagen VMware unveiled a significant revamp of their management suites, including a new version of vCenter Operations Manager (v5 to align with the vSphere release). vCenter Operations is now a suite of tools which includes vCenter Configuration Manager, the new vCenter Infrastructure Navigator (which I’ll cover in a later blogpost) and vCenter CapacityIQ (which is now fully integrated into vCOps, the standalone CapacityIQ is now end of life).

Although announced at VMworld it wasn’t publicly available until Jan 2012 when VMware formally launched vCOps v5. Coming less than a year after the release of the first version it’s apparent that VMware see this as an important product which is evolving fast. Steven Herrod, VMware’s CIO stated recently at the Italian VMUG (around the 5 minute mark) that vCOps ‘is becoming the most adopted new technology that VMware has ever had’. The vCenter Operations suite is still aimed at infrastructure monitoring as opposed to application monitoring (despite the addition of Infrastructure Navigator) – VMware’s solutions aimed at the application tier belong to the vFabric suite. For a good overview of where vCOps and vFabric Hyperic fit into VMware’s cloud suite read Dave Hill’s blogpost on the subject.

If you aren’t familiar with vCenter Operations here are the kind of problems it aims to address;

  • Is your virtual infrastructure healthy?
  • What serious problems should I address immediately?
  • Is the workload in my environment normal?
  • Am I using the resources in my environment efficiently?
  • How long do I have before resources run out?
  • What impact did a recent change have?

A few people have already posted articles which I’d recommend reading;

With v1.0 I concluded that it was a great product but there were a few reasons why it wasn’t for me, primarily the lack of email notifications and pricing. In this post I’ll cover the requirements and deployment considerations for the new version and in part two I’ll cover day to day use and new features. The final part will cover the capacity features along with info about pricing and my conclusions.

UPDATE APRIL 2012 – VMware have just launched 2.5 hrs of free training for vCOps.

Continue reading Using vCenter Operations v5 – Introduction and deployment (1/3)

Why I take Oracle’s virtualisation licencing policy personally

It was a typical Friday. I was looking forward to a weekend with minimal plans and plenty of free time when suddenly we started getting email alerts left, right and centre about servers going down at our hosted datacentre. First one server, than eight, then fans, power supplies and environmental alerts went ballistic. There goes the weekend I thought…

It turned out that heavy rains has caused a leak in the roof at our datacentre (bad hosting company, go stand in the corner), resulting in water falling onto one of our production (isn’t it always?) HP bladecentres. Electronics and water obviously don’t mix well but the HP hardware managed surprisingly well. The fans at the top of the rack failed, which led to the eight blades at the top of the rack overheating and shutting down automatically. That probably saved the data and the blade hardware.

So where does Oracle licencing fit into this? Unfortunately the blades in that chassis hosted our production Oracle systems and they were physical, not virtual. This was largely due to Oracle’s http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/soma/ infamous support stance on VMware as we run most other systems virtually. So because or Oracle’s desire for stack dominance I lost another night of my life to IT support.

Sigh.

Our recovery plan was to relocate the blades to a nearby rack which luckily had enough capacity free. Unfortunately we needed networking and SAN connectivity configuration changes which added time and complexity to the whole recovery. Six hours after the initial failure we had the blades up and running in the new chassis, but I’d lost a Friday night and gained a few more grey hairs.

How simple could this have been? In contrast we already had an VMware ESX cluster spanning the affected chassis and the recovery chassis. Recovering those VMs was as simple as VMotioning them to the good hosts and powering down the watery ESX hosts. About ten mins would have done it. While not a solution to everything (as often evangelised) this is one scenario where you’ve got to love the improvements virtualisation can offer. Simples!