As many of you already know, VMware launched its new core suite last Tuesday, comprising the new vSphere 5, Site Recovery Manager 5, vCloud Director 1.5 and vShield 5.

By now everybody already knows about the new licensing and I promised myself that I would not spend time on it, given that almost every blogger in the world already beat the argument to the ground with examples and 'what-if' scenarios, but after a long chat with a guy 'in-the-knows' 🙂 I decided to write something on it before start talking about the product itself and the new ground breaking features that they bring to the market (especially in the storage side of things).

VMware started using per-VM licensing a couple of years ago with many products of their portfolio, most notably SRM, and it worked fine for almost everybody, giving great flexibility with a true ITaaS cost model.

At first, almost everyone was expecting a shift into per-VM licensing with the new version of vSphere, and even when the new VSPP licensing came out, several weeks ago, based on vRam entitlements, nobody really paid attention to the new licensing scheme, after all, it was very SP-oriented.

And then the bomb dropped and almost every person involved in the virtualization practice started to freak out on the new licensing: customers, consultants, even VMware employees.

With this post I'd like to give a very humble advice to VMware: please reconsider per-VM licensing.

Per-VM licenses are, in my opinion, the best fit for a true ITaaS environment (even better than having vRAM+CPU socket) and they're easy on those who won't (or simply can't) embrace the whole Private/Public Cloud paradigm.

You can still keep different versions based on different feature sets and keep a VM size limit to fence the "create a huge machine and stuff everything in it" problem. For the upgrades you can use your statistical data to understand how many VM per Socket are averagely used at your customers sites and create an upgrade path.

I understand that I'm being simplistic, but the uproar that the new licensing scheme has caused needs to be tamed, and on the other hand, VMware needs to protect its revenue stream in the future, narrowed by ever-increasing hardware capabilities, this, in my opinion, is what people expected and in these new 'cloudy' days we can't rely on licensing based on hardware, but you still need a licensing scheme that can still stand on its own feet for the years to come, just try to imagine a 48GB/socket entitlement two years from now…