My name is Josh Atwell and I've been working in the IT industry exclusively since 2004. I'm a serial IT community builder and leader, podcaster on vBrownBag and VUPaaS podcasts, vExpert, CiscoChampion, author, and generally fun person to have around. I am currently working as a Cloud Architect for SolidFire.

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Current Resume-CV

Tue Jul 12

New vSphere 5 Licensing is for the Cloud

Twitter is abuzz bashing on VMware for their new licensing model. Here’s my couple of pennies.

It seems to me that VMware is setting their product licensing in such a way to make all of their customers think of themselves as Cloud providers.  Afterall it is the goal of the company for everyone to think of their virtual infrastructure as their cloud, whether it be public, private, or hybrid.  It’s been all of the rave for the last few years.


How is licensing tied in?  Simply put they are setting the licensing so that the cost can be split amongst the workload of the hosted VMs.  They state this clearly in the vsphere licensing pricing documentation.

Fairness – Better aligns cost with actual use and value derived,

rather than with hardware configurations and capacity.


Evolution – Allows customers to evolve to a cloud-like “pay for

consumption” model without disrupting established purchasing,

deployment and license-management practices and processes.


They even say it flat out in the next section.

Why a Change was Necessary

With the modification to vSphere licensing, we accomplish

two objectives:

• Free customers from restrictive hardware-based entitlements

•—-> Align the vSphere licensing model with IT as a service


There is no doubt that this model will take some getting used to but it is clear that VMware’s intent seems to be focused on allowing IT to be a service and not a cost center.  It should encourage CIOs, CFOs and other management to really sit down and break out the cost of their Private, Public, or Hybrid clouds.  In essence it seems to me it levels the field just a bit more between the Public and Private model so that you can really start comparing apples to apples.

  Just a quick note on my thoughts.  I’ll investigate further and see if my position changes.  In the mean time it is clear that Mr. Maritz and VMware intend for us to own a cloud one way or another and they are going to charge you accordingly.

Further Thoughts

Michael Davis on Google+ made a good point about licensing and a comparison to Citrix.  One key statement is why I think so many are upset about VMware’s license announcement. “[Citrix] weren’t in touch with their core customers and it appears VMware is suffering the same problem.”

My reply (w/ min typo fixes):
That is possible Michael but if my history of VMware serves me well they have always been like Apple in Defining their customer base rather than appeasing it.  Both companies set forth product and people flock to it, eventually fall in love with it, and later bemoan changes. 

When VMware started many were slow adopters because they just weren’t ready.  Flash forward and now ~50% of the world apparently runs on it.  in 2008 they started talking about Cloud and the community at large thought Mr. Maritz was off his rocker, but VMware continued to push forward with cloud.  Now we are seeing VMware bring their vision to fruition and like their early days it is taking many time to readjust their thinking on their own environments.  In the end it is not VMware’s intent to appease their customers when it conflicts with their vision of the future.  Fortunately we do have the option to not upgrade until we are ready.

Michael’s Full statement

"Michael Davis - Tim Stephan mentioned at the end of his talk on vSphere 5 licensing that customer’s will be able to downgrade to the 4.x license model. So long as no features are lost by doing so I see this as being a popular option.

Citrix not long ago tried to change their XenDesktop licensing from concurrent user to named user. It didn’t even last a week before they backtracked starting with the education sector, then healthcare, etc. They weren’t in touch with their core customers and it appears VMware is suffering the same problem.”

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