vSphere 5 licensing with vRAM isn’t that bad at all

I bet you all heard about the big news yesterday where VMware announced vSphere 5. Despite a lot of applauding for the great new features, there also a lot of noise on twitter about the new licensing for vSphere. VMware has decided to move to vRAM licensing without any maximums on the amount of RAM or the number of CPU cores. This PDF explains it all.

Biggest concern of the twitter community was that licenses would cost much much more for the new vSphere 5 than they did for the “old” vSphere 4. There are many theoretical scenario’s that can be thought of that show the new licensing model as much more expensive and existing customers wouldn’t upgrade to the new vSphere 5. I decided to call a number of my customers and ask them for the specs of their environment and then to a little math for them comparing the old and the new licenses.

Remember that if you are an existing customer with a valid support contract you get a FREE upgrade of your CPU license to vSphere 5. Current vSphere 4 advanced customers, will get vSphere 5 Enterprise license since there is no more advanced edition in vSphere 5.

Below you’ll see the math I’ve done and I was surprised to learn that NONE of them will require more licenses when upgrading to vSphere 5. Converting all their current CPU licenses one-to-one will license their current environment without extra cost. These customer have been running vSphere 4 for a number of years now and slowly switched from 16 GB to 32 GB to 96GB hosts.

I do admit though that vSphere will cost you more when you go above the 32GB per CPU (or 48GB per CPU for Enterprise Plus). But even then there are a number of things to keep in mind:

  • New Standard license is $200 more expensive but now includes vMotion and Data Recovery compared to the old Standard license
  • Old Advanced customers get a free upgrade to Enterprise which gives them Storage vMotion and DRS
  • Don’t just compare physical RAM to vRAM but keep at least an 85% ratio.
  • This is the time to take a closer look the difference between VM RAM usage and VM RAM assignment.

Example 1:

4 dual CPU hosts each with 56GB RAM (224GB total) and a total of 8 CPUs. Running 6 Citrix XenApp Servers with 26 GB RAM each and one ‘normal’ VM of 4GB RAM. Total vRAM assignment is 163GB.

Old ESXi 4 licensing with Enterprise license:
4 hosts x 2 CPU = 8 CPU licenses Enterprise Edition = 8 x $ 2875 = $ 23,000

New ESXi 5 licensing with Enterprise licenses:
4 hosts x 2 CPU = 8 CPU licenses Enterprise Edition = 8 x $2875 = $ 23,000. This entitles me to address 8 x 32GB = 256GB RAM.

Example 2:

8 dual CPU hosts each 49 GB and 2 hosts of 56GB ( 544GB total) and a total of 20 CPUs. Running a wide range of VMs with a total vRAM assignment of 442 GB.

Old ESXi 4 licensing with Enterprise license:
10 hosts x 2 CPU = 20 CPU licenses Enterprise Edition = 20 x $ 2875 = $ 57,500

New ESXi 5 licensing with Enterprise licenses:
10 hosts x 2 CPU = 20 CPU licenses Enterprise Edition = 20 x $2875 = $ 57,500. This entitles me to address 20 x 32GB = 640GB RAM.

Example 3:

18 dual CPU hosts varying in RAM sizes of 96GB and 48GB RAM but a total of 1350GB of physical RAM. I couldn’t get the exact figure of assigned RAM.

Old ESXi 4 licensing with Enterprise license:
18 hosts x 2 CPU = 36 CPU licenses Enterprise Edition = 36 x $ 2875 = $ 103,500

New ESXi 5 licensing with Enterprise licenses:
18 hosts x 2 CPU = 36 CPU licenses Enterprise Edition = 36 x $ 2875 = $ 103,500. This entitles me to address 36 x 32GB = 1152 GB RAM.

Since I don’t have the exact number of vRAM for this customer, I’m going to work with %. In my previous examples the amount of vRAM was between 70-80% of the total physical RAM available.  When we now look at the entitlement of 1152 GB RAM we see that this is 85.3% of physical RAM. Even they can just upgrade their current licenses to vSphere 5 without having to pay extra.

Example 4:
44 dual CPU hosts, totaling 3048 GB RAM. This customer too couldn’t give me the exact number of assigned vRAM.

Old ESXi 4 licensing with Enterprise license:
44 hosts x 2 CPU = 88 CPU licenses Enterprise Edition = 88 x $ 2875 = $ 253,000.

New ESXi 5 licensing with Enterprise licenses:
44 hosts x 2 CPU = 88 CPU licenses Enterprise Edition = 88 x $ 2875 = $ 253,000. This entitles me to address 88 x 32GB = 2816 GB RAM. The entitlement on vRAM is 92% of physical available RAM.

Example 5:
14 dual CPU hosts, totaling 788 GB RAM, 182 VMs using 482GB of vRAM.

Old ESXi 4 licensing with Enterprise license:
14 hosts x 2 CPU = 28 CPU licenses Enterprise Edition = 28 x $ 2875 = $ 80,500.

New ESXi 5 licensing with Enterprise licenses:
14 hosts x 2 CPU = 28 CPU licenses Enterprise Edition = 28 x $ 2875 = $ 80,500. This entitles me to address 28 x 32GB = 896 GB RAM. This is over the amount of physical RAM present.

 

Other posts on this subject: