Virtualization company VMware Inc. is set to break down one of the barriers it put up itself — the institution of vRAM licensing which has imposed RAM limitations on users of vSphere 5. VMware’s change of heart will come with vSphere 5.1, which debuts at VMworld 2012 later this month. Rather than vRAM licensing caps, the vendor is going back to per-CPU licensing for the product.
The buzz surrounding the change has been palpable. The vRAM licensing scheme was poorly received and remain unpopular since it was introduced in July 2011. VMware tried to quell the unrest with customers and resellers with a quick raising of the RAM limits under the cap across the board. But the hasty fix only mitigated some issues — in some cases, customers dropped VMware entirely while others sought alternate virtualization solutions, like the Hyper-V platform from rival Microsoft Corp.
Jamie Shepard, executive vice president of technology solutions at ICI, a VMware partner based in Massachusetts confirmed VMware’s 180-degree licensing turn. “It makes perfect sense,” Shepard told Channelnomics, adding that the move was a bit of a natural evolution for VMware.
Shepard said he believes the move has “less to do with the partner,” (or competition from Microsoft) and more to do with the customer.
“It gives them a better value,” he said. “It’s better for bundling pieces at a cost effective price. Virtualizing mission critical applications [had become] a bit more of a complex [process.]”
By simplifying that process, it makes customers happier and that makes channel partners happier. “The move is a signal that VMware is trying to get everyone involved,” said Shepard, “It’s a great move.”
With vRAM limitations out of the way, partners have one less barrier when selling vSphere and related solutions. It also makes it easier for partners to sell VMware solutions as a unified cloud stack. But more importantly, this can help VMware expand the vSphere platform. Per-CPU licensing is often more cost-effective for businesses of all sizes, which should help make partners more adaptable and customers more open to VMware. As a bonus, this paints VMware in a positive light, since it shows the company is open to change and is willing to adapt to the demands of the cloud and virtualization world.
Speculation abounds that the decision came from soon-to-be VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, a long-time executive at Intel Corp. who may see things in a more CPU-centric light than his predecessor, outgoing CEO Paul Maritz. The official CEO shuffle takes place on Sept. 1.
Perhaps more broadly, VMware likely understands that this kind of move should help solution providers that have been seeking ways to maximize virtualization capabilities, especially since server RAM is often expanded quickly to improve speed and overhead.
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