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Network World - After criticism over new restrictions on the amount of virtual memory customers can deploy before having to buy new licenses, VMware has boosted the limits on virtual RAM so high that most customers should not be negatively affected.
VMware's new licensing model introduced on July 12 was an attempt to shift from pricing based on physical resources to pricing based on virtual resources, perhaps a sensible move given that VMware is a virtualization company. As VMware says, its goal is to "align costs with the benefits of virtualization rather than with the physical attributes of each individual server."
Burning questions: Virtualization
But some customers complained to VMware that the model would restrict their virtualization efforts by requiring the purchase of more licenses to achieve the same level of consolidation they were accustomed to, or at the very least restrict their future growth.
In response, VMware this week doubled the amount of virtual RAM - or vRAM as VMware calls it - allowed with each vSphere Enterprise license, raised the vRAM entitlement by 33% for customers on lower-price licenses, and quadrupled the vRAM entitlement for the free version of its hypervisor.
Analysts who said the July 12 changes were unlikely to affect many customers in the first place said this week's move is a positive step.
As VMware said on July 12, "VMware vSphere 5 will continue to be licensed per processor (CPU), however, VMware is eliminating the current, restrictive physical entitlements of CPU cores and physical RAM per server and replacing them with a single, virtualization-based entitlement of pooled virtual memory, or vRAM."
But in an update on Wednesday, VMware acknowledged this didn't sit well with some customers.
VMware's description of customer feedback was that "The vSphere 5 licensing model affects only a small percentage of customers today, but customers are concerned about their future-looking business cases based on new powerful hardware capabilities, introduces additional hesitation for virtualizing business critical apps, [and] penalizes short lived usage "spikes" in dev & test, and transient VMs."
Therefore, VMware on Wednesday raised vRAM entitlements on each license so that "hardly any customer will be impacted by higher licensing costs upon upgrading to vSphere 5"; capped the amount of vRAM counted toward each virtual machine at 96GB so that "no application, [no] matter how big, will require more than one vSphere Enterprise+ license to be virtualized"; and decided to calculate consumption of vRAM on a 12-month average so that customers won't be required to pay indefinitely for short-lived increases in usage.
Instead of 48GB of vRAM allotted to vSphere Enterprise+ licenses, that number will go up to 96GB. VSphere Enterprise licenses get 64GB instead of the previous 32GB, while Standard and Essentials licenses now get 32GB instead of 24GB. Additionally, the free vSphere hypervisor will be allotted 32GB of vRAM rather than 8GB.
Customers are still debating the merits of the new model.