Microsoft Private Cloud part 3: VMware private cloud and per-VM licensing

A new whitepaper was released in January comparing private cloud solutions from Microsoft and VMware, taking a look at the functionality, benefits and economics of each solution. This series of blog posts breaks down the components of the whitepaper into consumable chunks and I’ve added my own commentary.

Read the entire series >>

Licensing a VMware private cloud with per-VM licensing

VMware did us a favour when they announced changes to their licensing last summer. Their approach to private cloud taxes business who are looking to virtualize more of their workloads and scale out their private cloud infrastructure. This section of the whitepaper takes this on directly, making a comparison based on VMware’s licensing on their website as of January 2012.

From the whitepaper:

VMware announced the latest version of its virtualization platform, vSphere 5.0, along with updated versions of surrounding technologies; vCenter Site Recovery Manager, vShield Security and vCloud Director. These products collectively are referred to as Cloud Infrastructure Suite. VMware has also released several management products like vCenter Operations Management Suite and vFabric Application Performance Manager (APM) to provide capabilities like monitoring, application performance management, and configuration management. To build a comparable private cloud solution using VMware technologies, you‟ll require components from VMware Cloud Infrastructure suite, vCenter Operations Management Suite and vFabric APM as a private cloud solution requires capabilities like monitoring, configuration, automation, orchestration and security in addition to the virtualization platform. We explore the product comparisons later in the whitepaper.

Unlike Microsoft ECI Datacenter, VMware Cloud Infrastructure Suite, vCenter Operations Management Suite, and vFabric APM cannot be licensed as a single SKU, but have to be licensed separately for individual products. Moreover, VMware private cloud products follow a combination of three different licensing schemes-

    • vSphere 5.0 is licensed on a per processor basis with virtual RAM entitlements2
    • vCenter is licensed on a per-instance basis3
    • Cloud Infrastructure products - vCloud Director, vCenter Site Recovery Manager, and vShield are licensed on a per-VM basis3 
    • vCenter Operations Management Suite and vFabric APM are licensed on a per-VM basis3

This fundamental difference in private cloud licensing approach implies choosing VMware for your private cloud solution can cost you up to $4730 per-VM (3 year license and support cost included). We‟ll provide an explanation later on how this cost is calculated.

Fig. 3: Differences in approach towards private cloud licensing



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2 vSphere 5 & vCenter 5 licensing information from VMware website as of January, 2012
3 vCloud Director, vCenter SRM, vShield, vCenter Operations Management Suite, vFabric APM licensing information from VMware website as of January, 2012