VMware vSphere Licensing deciphered

As everyone is probably aware now the newest release of VMware ESX has landed.  Now,  just to keep its customers (and resellers) confused VMware has changed, the name – vSphere, the licensing scheme – now per processor instead of per 2 processors and the number of levels of the product – Enterprise Plus in particular is what we’ll focus on.

So let’s look at a typical situation.  You have a VMware ESX 3.5 Enterprise environment with 4 dual-quad core processors (8 sockets).  Your maintenance is up to date and you have 10 months left until it expires.  You would like to move to vSphere.  To do this cost you nothing.  Because your maintenance is up to date you can simply install vSphere Enterprise which is your direct upgrade path and your maintenance will still expire in 10 months.  Sounds simple right, it is.  So what am I blabbing on about being confusing?

Here’s a slightly different scenario.  Take the same ESX 3.5 Enterprise environment with 4 dual-quad core processors and same 10 months left on maintenance.  Now you would like to upgrade to vSphere Enterprise Plus from your current ESX 3.5 Enterprise licenses.  GREAT!  Enterprise Plus provides a lot of added functionality and we are recommending it to most of our clients.  So what do you need to buy?

First you need to buy the promotional upgrade to vSphere Enterprise Plus.  List price for that is $295 per processor so you’d need eight.  So far so easy.  Ok so here’s the kicker, you MUST buy maintenance with the upgrade (initially the minimum was 1 year).  1 year of Platinum Support for vSphere Enterprise Plus is $874 per processor (you need 8). Now if you just went to your CFO to get money for the ESX 3.5 maintenance 2 months ago and now have to go ask him for more money for another year of maintenance, best case, you’ll probably get some questions or more than likely, worst case, you’ll get thrown out of his office.  Now, if you were lucky enough to get the additional money you would now have 1 year and 10 months of maintenance on your new vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses so you didn’t really “loose” anything.

To reduce the cash outlay required to upgrade to vSphere Enterprise Plus VMware came out with a 2 month support option which runs about $140 per cpu for Platinum support.  In this case you could purchase 8 vSphere Enterprise Plus upgrades with 8 2-month sku’s.  You would now have 12 months of Platinum support for the new vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses to cover your 4 servers.

For a detailed matrix of the differences between all levels of the new vSphere product click the link below.

http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/buy/editions_comparison.html

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