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vSphere Upgrade Pricing: Good and Bad

Last month when vSphere was released to general availability, we were collectively relieved that it was finally made available. What seemed like a very long launch going back to previews, announcements, beta programs and partner activity had finally come to fruition. Now that it is here, people like me are considering what are the next steps and how do we upgrade to vSphere.

We all have surely seen the comparison chart by now that shows which editions of vSphere provide which features. This starts with the free version of ESXi and goes all the way up to the Enterprise Plus edition that includes the Cisco Nexus 1000V vNetwork distributed switch.

The good news is that for your current processors under subscription, you can go to vSphere with no cost under most circumstances. For example, if you have processors covered with a current Support and Subscription Services (SnS) from a prior sale at Enterprise level for VI3 you are entitled to Enterprise in vSphere. From the chart above, you will see that vSphere Enterprise will not include 3rd party multipathing, host profiles, or the vNetwork distributed switch. Enterprise is also limited to six cores per processor, which is good for today's technology only. Advanced and Enterprise Plus offerings of vSphere accommodate for twelve cores per processor. Further, vSphere Enterprise will only be for sale until Dec. 15, 2009.

So, what does all of this mean? Well if you purchased VI3 Enterprise, you will have to make a decision for future purchases with vSphere. If you want to maintain Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), VMotion and Storage VMotion, new purchases by Enterprise Plus must be made after Dec. 15, 2009. The vSphere Advanced offering has the processor core inventory but does not provide DRS or Storage VMotion.

I think customers are being pushed upward with this situation, especially since in order to maintain DRS and Storage VMotion functionality the next tier upward is required. Chances are, the largest organizations would want the Nexus 1000V anyways – but it would have been nice to have an additional option or additional time to make budgetary funds ready.

VMware has made accommodations for virtually every scenario through the vSphere Upgrade Center Web site. Most notable is that Enterprise SnS customers are entitled to upgrade these processors to Enterprise Plus for only $295 per processor -- again by Dec.15, 2009.

This is the big picture of the pricing and licensing side of moving to vSphere. Has this cramped your budget or not fit into your cycles? That is a frequent comment I have heard from other administrators and decision makers. Let me know if it has for your environment or share a comment below.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 06/15/2009 at 12:47 PM


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