Mental Ward

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VMware Pricing From Both Sides

My recent blog on VMware pricing seems to have struck a nerve, and I wanted to provide a little more feedback. This is one of the most eloquent, thoughtful responses I've ever received on a topic, and wanted to share it in full, as it provides an interesting view on both sides of the issue. The writer is Ofer B. Ho (used, as always, with permission.)

I was reading your article on VMWare's pricing and Jason's response and felt the urge to throw my thoughts into the fray. I have been an avid VMWare fan for quite some time. I started using VMWare's product when I was a lowly Network Admin working for a Defense Contractor in Monrovia, CA. Post 9/11 spending into the Defense Industry by all branches of the US Government led to releases of vasts amounts of funds into our IT budget, which led to a major Virtualization project of our DataCenters. I can't tell you how pleased I was with the performance and functionality of ESX, especially after comparing it to various other products, including Microsoft's virtualization. I didn't care what the cost was, the end result was its own reward. No more weekend/late night updates of Servers and crawling into bed at 6:00am after working a 20-hour shift. With virtualization, I suddenly had an overnight supply of test and dev systems that I could use to fully test patches and other items prior to production release. System downtime was reduced to practically nothing and I was seen as a hero. I was in IT Heaven.

I am now the CIO of a Non-Profit Community Clinic in Downtown Los Angeles and, while I still remain a huge fan of VMWare, I am struggling with its cost. We are highly dependent on MediCal funds from the State and, without a State budget, have been providing services and making payroll without the benefit of revenue coming in. We have been told by State officials that this situation may very well continue through October. You try keeping your lights on and payroll flowing with a huge source of revenue no longer being collected. Microsoft has a Non-Profit Charity program and VMWare does not. I have managed to squeeze one license of ESX Standard (no VMotion) out of another project, but that is like giving free meals at the best restaurant in town to someone who keeps Kosher. I can see all the goodies, but can't partake in them. I have switched over another server to running ESXi, as that is free. I am able to hook that into my iSCSI SAN and have been able to manually move some of my machines off our main ESX Server onto it. However, without VMotion and HA and other expensive licensed features, I am still feeling the pain.

So, while I agree with Jason that the benefits of ESX greatly outweigh the cost, I still have to say that pricing is really putting the brakes on our Virtualization. You can't milk a bull and I can't pull money out of thin air. VMWare is going to have to reduce its pricing in order to stay competitive with the market. Either that or one of my lottery tickets has to hit the jackpot.

Great insight, Ofer. VMware, what about the idea of offering a similar program for non-profits? If there is such a thing, I'd appreciate it if a VMware-ian or someone with knowledge of the program would pass it along.

Posted by Keith Ward on 09/05/2008 at 12:48 PM


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