IT Pro Impact: VMware/vSphere 5

Aug 19, 2011


Terrific Technology, Terrible Pricing

On July 12, VMware announced version 5 of its vSphere virtualization platform. While the technical advances that came with the announcement were universally praised, the company also introduced a new licensing policy that was roundly denounced by users and industry pundits alike. To determine users’ plans for vSphere 5, InformationWeek asked 410 business technology pros about their intentions for virtualization in general and VMware in particular. We also asked whether and how the new licensing policy would affect adoption plans.

The survey reveals that VMware customers intend to continue their efforts to “scale up” by purchasing more capable equipment, but while the move from the predominant two-socket systems in use today to four-socket systems is gradual, the adoption of larger RAM configurations is much more aggressive. The result is that while most users may not see increased licensing costs now, it’s highly likely that licensing costs will go up substantially as users adopt subsequent generations of server hardware.

As a result of concerns arising largely from VMware’s new pricing and licensing policies, our survey shows that buyers are slowing their adoption plans and considering alternatives. Now that the company charges based on configured RAM use, VMware customers must also re-examine well-established techniques, such as oversubscription, which is used by many to assure smooth operation of virtual machines. We expect to see competitors ramping up their marketing machines with messages of simpler licensing and better economics. (R3350811)

Research Report