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VMware Changes Per-CPU Pricing Model

VMware this week announced an update to its per-CPU pricing model that will increase costs for some customers in certain situations.

"While we will still be using a per-CPU approach, now, for any software offering that we license on a per-CPU basis, we will require one license for up to 32 physical cores," the company said. "If a CPU has more than 32 cores, additional CPU licenses will be required."

Although the company said the change was made in order to give customers more choice, some industry reports are citing customers who are complaining about the new scheme.

For example, CRN quoted one executive from an East Coast-based solution provider, which partners with VMware and who declined to be identified, as saying, "Any processor that is more than 32 cores just became severely unattractive for any VMware workload."

However, the virtualization kingpin said the 32-core limit was designed to minimize customer impact when current core counts for most CPUs used in the industry are taken into account and likely won't affect most customers, who it said typically use Intel and AMD-based servers with fewer than 32-cores.

Those who are affected, though, have some time to prepare.

"For the few customers who are currently deploying our software on CPUs with more than 32 cores, or for those that are in the process of purchasing physical servers with more than 32 cores per CPU, we are providing a grace period after the licensing metric change goes into effect on April 2, 2020," VMware said. "Any customer who purchases VMware software licenses, for deployment on a physical server with more than 32-cores per CPU, prior to April 30, 2020 will be eligible for additional free per-CPU licenses to cover the CPUs on that server."

New Pricing
[Click on image for larger view.] New Pricing (source: VMware).

In a FAQ that answers the question of why the change was made, the company said, "We cannot continue pricing on a per-CPU basis, where CPUs could have unlimited core counts."

Despite that explanation and the characterization that the company made the change to continue to meet customers' needs and allow the company to better serve them by allowing for easier cost comparisons, some industry sources didn't agree.

"Imagine that you want to go for a new infrastructure VMware and that you like the new AMD EPYC™ 7742 CPUs from AMD which has 64 cores. Well, you just find out that you'd have to pay Two VMware CPU licenses instead of just one," said Vladan Seget at EXS Virtualization. "Yes, this looks like a bad dream. Like a joke from VMware which suddenly wants to limit you with your hardware choices. If not you'll pay the double price for your CPU socket."

The pricing announcement, along with the explanatory FAQ, can be seen here.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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