Opinion Piece on VMware Licensing

So over the past few months I’ve been seeing a lot of customers within the Public Sector and Education looking at transitioning off VMware vSphere and onto Microsoft Hyper-V! With tightening budgets or even budget cuts, IT admins in these industries are looking for quick wins in slashing their IT bills and many see dropping VMware for the ‘free’ Microsoft hypervisor as an obvious choice!

The problem is, you can argue about VM densities per host, resource scheduling, live migrations, DR, and other technical aspects of why vSphere trumps Hyper-V…. However, the reply is always the same…. “Well Hyper-V is Good Enough for our environment…. and it’s Free!!”

Yes, Hyper-V is good enough as a hypervisor… and yes it’s free…. but when you have a large estate, the density ratio impacts the amount of servers you need to buy and you still need to invest in System Center with Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) if you want to effectively manage a cluster of Hyper-V hosts.

Unfortunately, I’m now of the impression that VMware advocates can no longer keep using the same argument when doing comparisons between vSphere and other hypervisors…. IT admins just don’t care any more…. “if the hypervisor is free and can virtualise my servers, then that’s the one I’m going for!!”

Anyways, I ended up sitting down and writing an opinion piece for SearchVMware.com on this topic….. you can view it here:

http://searchvmware.techtarget.com/opinion/Could-market-saturation-push-VMware-to-make-vSphere-Standard-free

Changes to VMware NSX Licensing

So yesterday VMware announced a new licensing model for NSX – VMware’s Software-Defined Network product.

Up until now, VMware have only had a single version of NSX available to buy – which customers were not too fond off – it was an ‘all-or-nothing’ approach to SDN which customers found too restricting. I’m glad to see that VMware have taken on board all the feedback from customers and partners and amended their licensing model.

NSX is now available in three editions: Standard, Advanced and Enterprise – all licensed per socket (although there is a per-user license model for the Advanced edition to align with VDI deployments).

Existing NSX for vSphere customers automatically get allocated with Enterprise edition licenses. Existing NSX for Horizon customers automatically get allocated NSX Advanced edition licenses. The existing NSX for vSphere and Horizon offerings reached End of Availability on 3rd May 2016.

NSX licenses

VMware have positioned the three new editions according to the three main use cases:

  • Automation (virtual networking, automatically deploy network services via vRealize Automation)
  • Security (Micro-segmentation, 3rd party integration, securing VDI)
  • Application Continuity (Multi-site NSX deployments, DR, Hybrid Cloud networking)

So if all you want are the benefits of virtual networks – collapsing the switching and routing into the kernel, shortening network provisioning times, automating network configuration – then you will only require the Standard edition (and at roughly £1500 per cpu license, it’s around a third of the original NSX price).

In reality, a lot of customers will probably purchase the Advanced edition (at roughly £3400 per cpu license) as they will want the security features (distributed firewall) to allow them to implement micro-segmentation, as well as the ability for 3rd party integration with the likes of Trend Micro, Palo Alto Networks, Checkpoint, etc.

So whilst the Advanced edition will work out nearly £1000 less per CPU, it’s interesting that the Enterprise edition is going to be almost £1000 more expensive than the original price for NSX – and for pretty much the same product feature set! The only new feature that I can see in the Enterprise edition is possibly the increased support of Hardware VTEPs (from Arista, Dell, Juniper, maybe Cisco) – pretty much every other feature is currently available in the NSX for vSphere product…. so I’m not sure how VMware can justify the price hike for exactly the same product?!?

In fact this was raised by a number of partners today during a NSX Partner Round-table that I attended. I can only assume that the price hike is to cover any new features that might be in future roadmaps??

One thing worth noting is that NSX licensing applies to any active workload in a DR
site. This means there is no requirement for NSX licenses at the DR site as long as there are no active workloads running there!

For more information visit http://www.vmware.com/go/nsx.
Additional details on NSX licensing edition features can be found at: http://www.vmware.com/products/nsx/licensing.html

VMware Marketing Error?!?

A work colleague of mind has just noticed that there seems to be less features listed under vSphere Enterprise Plus Acceleration Kit than on the vanilla vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses……

I really didn’t notice and was aghast to see it was true:

http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/products/vsphere/VMware-vSphere-vSOM-Pricing-Whitepaper.pdf

vsom1vSOM2vSOM3

I really hope this is a HUGE marketing error and not actually true! TBH, it looks like whoever put together the whitepaper has mistaken the old Enterprise AK for the Enterprise Plus AK…. and just changed the name…. lol….

Although if it is true a lot of people are going to be very annoyed! =)