What’s with the new vSphere vRAM licensing?

Ok, the cat’s out of the bag, the outcry has begun, but is the new vRAM licensing really as bad as you think?

My answer: No.

I’m noting that people seem to be absolutely up in arms about the new licensing structure, but keep this in mind: you’re not licensing your PHYSICAL memory, you’re licensing VIRTUAL memory. If you buy an Enterprise Plus license (which entitles you to 48GB of vRAM), that may well cover that host you have with 128GB of physical RAM, depending on your overcommitment.

You can also pool vRAM entitlements within vCenter, meaning that 3 Enterprise Plus licenses grant you a pool of 48GB*3 in your vCenter environment, and it doesn’t matter on which of your hosts your VMs are using the vRAM.

Watch this space, I’ll have a more in-depth writeup soon-ish, but the moral of the story right now is taken by the words on the cover of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: DON’T PANIC


2 thoughts on “What’s with the new vSphere vRAM licensing?”

  1. Don’t panic, unless you loaded up your Essentials/Essentials plus servers with all the RAM they could handle! You used to load 756GB total and over-commit from there, now you’re limited to 144GB allocated!

    Fits fine into the SMB profile target for Essentials/ESS+ but puts the hurt on anyone pushing the limits.

    I posted a quick write up : http://wp.me/p1cl48-7S

    Also note that Advanced gets a free upgrade to Enterprise on its way out the door and vCenter Foundation is no more.
    Plus, Ent+ has a bigger gap over Ent that in 4.x

    Certainly more good than bad, and none of my clients will feel the pinch. VMware licensing is still more cost-effective than lots of RAM.


    1. True – it has been a while since I’ve been in the trenches with customers (I gave up consulting a little over a year ago), but I would speculate that 768GB of RAM is a bit out of the range of many a shop in the SMB market 🙂

      The new changes will definitely cause some significant concerns for a few customers, but in general, I think it’ll be painless.


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