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VMware Backtracks on vRAM Licensing

VMware on Monday announced at its annual VMworld conference that it had reverted to CPU-based licensing for its virtualization products.

It's a change that the VMworld crowd apparently approved. The company's controversial vRAM licensing model for vSphere, introduced at last year's VMworld, now no longer is an issue. VMware's newly installed CEO Pat Gelsinger made that clear during his morning keynote at the San Francisco event.

With the word "vRAM" projected and crossed out on a screen behind him, he said, "We are striking this word from our vocabulary," which immediately drew applause from the crowd.

Rumor of vRAM licensing's demise actually leaked out early last week from CRN's Kevin McLaughlin, whose sources said that "VMware will return to its previous CPU-based licensing model" upon the release of vSphere 5.1. That version is slated for release on September 15. Customers using version 5.0 will be able to revert to the CPU-based licensing as well.

vRAM entitlements was a pricing scheme that, boiled down to its essence, was based on memory usage rather than CPU. Besides being mildly confusing, what also drew customer ire was that pricing ended up being inordinately higher than the older, much simpler CPU-based pricing. VirtualizationReview.com's Elias Khnaser blogged at the time that the pricing scheme amounted to a "vTax" when migrating some of his environments from older versions of vSphere up to version 5.

Microsoft, for its part, spun the vRAM entitlements backlash as a way to tout the pricing advantages of its own Hyper-V hypervisor to potential converts. Khnaser noted then that most customers concerned with price might be ready to move over, but that vSphere still held up on the merits of its technology.

VMware has already updated its pricing model, which can be viewed at the company's Web site.

About the Author

Michael Domingo has held several positions at 1105 Media, and is currently the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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