Thank you Microsoft Hyper-V for providing the weapon which killed vSphere vRAM

Today VMware announced it terminated the vRAM licensing for vSphere 5.1. From now on it needs to be licensed only per physical processor again. An unlimited number of VMs can be run as long as physical memory in the host is available. VMware told us today:


That is very good news for VMware vSphere users. Killing vRAM makes vSphere a lot more attractive for running it on hosts with a large amount of physical memory.

But lets not forget that VMware introduced vRAM 1 year ago for reasons that have not been changed today!
VMware stated back in 2011 that they wanted customers getting used to the ‘pay what you consume’ model of charging which is common for cloud computing.

They also claimed reduced revenue because of modern CPUs delivering more value for money. Licensing based on CPU alone would lead to less revenue for VMware and thus less innovation for customers.
What VMware forgot when introducing VRAM was:

  • customers are not stupid;
  • the economic situation for a lot of customers was and is not very good. IT-budgets are tight and reduced.
  • last but certainly not least: the big upcoming competition of Microsoft Hyper-V;

Back in 2011 Microsoft made it no secret that the next release of Hyper-V and System Center would deliver a lot more features than the Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V release. Hyper-V is a lot cheaper to buy than vSphere .

Lets see what Microsoft has to offer with Windows Server 2012 and what VMware announced today:

  • vSphere Replication free in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V enabling host based , a-synchronous, storage agnostic replication.
    VMware today announced: vSphere 5.1 Essentials Plus and higher editions will have vSphere Replication comparable to Hyper-V Replica. Also Site Recovery Manager can be used for Essentials Plus and higher editions. Used to be Standard Edition and higher.
  • Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V offers shared nothing Live Migration. Move a VM from one host to another without shared storage.
    VMware today announced Enhanced vMotion which can be compared to Hyper-V feature
  • Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V supports 64 vCPUs per guest max
    vSphere 5.1 supports 64 vCPUs per guest max
  • Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V supports an unlimited number of nodes using in-guest clustering
    vSphere 5.1 support 5 nodes (was 2 nodes in vSphere 5.0)
  • Microsoft System Center 2012 which enables private cloud is licensed per physical processor which makes it an attractive suite.
    VMware has a collection of solutions which enabled cloud. They were licensed per VM. Not anymore for the new vCloud which is licensed per physical processor
  • Using Microsoft Windows Server 2012 it is possible to createย  a highly available shared storage solution based on Scale Out File Services and Just a Bunch of Disks or Storage Pools. Without the need to by an expensive SAN or NAS virtual disk files can be presented to Hyper-V hosts allowing vMotion and HA alike protection.
    VMware responded to include vSphere Storage Appliance in the Essentials Plus and higher editions of vSphere 5.1. Prior to vSphere 5,1 VSA needed to be purchased separatly. Now one VSA license is bundled with vSphere.

Why did VMware change it’s licensing policy and gives away more features?
Simple answer: because of the competition getting stronger and stronger and delivering value for money, Microsoft in the lead. The migration to vSphere 5.0 was not at a speed VMware hoped. Adoption of vCloud Director for private and public clouds is lower than expected. Customers were evaluating Hyper-V and stopped investments in new vSphere deployments.

If Microsoft would not have a mature solution for private cloud, customers would probably still have to deal with vRAM. Besides stronger competition the VMware suggested reasons for vRAM have not changed.

Thank you Microsoft (and Citrix and Red Hat) for your competition!


About Marcel van den Berg
I am a technical consultant with a strong focus on server virtualization, desktop virtualization, cloud computing and business continuity/disaster recovery.

2 Responses to Thank you Microsoft Hyper-V for providing the weapon which killed vSphere vRAM

  1. habibalby says:


    Great to hear that.. But don’t you think VMware just focuses/giving higher priority to the Maximum Configuration rather than spending much time to introduce fancy feature or enhancing the current feature?

    Thinking of everything as a Maximum, I don’t think one day will come that I have to use 1 TB or vRam or 64 vCPUs. May some people are there to use this much of amount, but if VMware count the customers that will use this much of Configuration maximum and compare them with those that looking for more features enhancement, I think the ratio will higher for those whose looking for features enhancement.

    I have already budgeted to upgrade my hosts from Enterprise to Enterprise Plus, but thanks that the licensing policy has changed ๐Ÿ™‚ well-done vMWare.

    Looking forward to experience more fancy features such as ๐Ÿ™‚

    * Backup Replication
    * Built-In vCenter that would install on each host and synchronize with other vCenter within the hosts clusters. So, no chance of losing the vCenter if vCenter running on a VM and the host that hosts the vCenter powered off / Outages. vCenter will be available from any hosts…
    * Adding Hardware resources at once, such as adding vNICs, select the number of vNICs and point them to the PortGroups and apply the configuration at once.
    * Adding HardDisk instead of now only one hard disk can be added at a time, multiple hard disk would be added at once and apply configuration
    * Adding iSCSI Targets, better to implement a scan feature on the IP Subnet to detect the iSCSI Targets and add them all at once after identified / selected the targets and add them all at once.
    * Adding multiple iSCSI Targets all at once instead of adding one by one.. IP Address and beside it the port.
    * In Scheduled tasks, in case I have a power maintenance, and I want to shut down all the VMs. In the Change Power State of VM, I can’t select multiple VMs to change it’s power state as of now only one per task.
    * Events/ Errors / System Logs. If vMWare would enhance this category of Events/Errors same as Windows that give sufficient explanation to the Administrator along with KB Articles for the Administrator to response,, I think it will enhance this part as well.

    * With regards to vSphere and VMWare View. Here I will give a clear example of vSphere Hosts / vCenter / VMWare View from a security prospective only and hoping/looking forward that vMware will change this.

    If vSphere Management network behind a firewall / on another subnet different than the production network where application servers / domain controllers are hosted. and vCenter server for sure it’s beside the vSphere Management Network to control hosts operation. the vCenter is not joined to the Production Domain, because it has nothing to do with. When it comes to VMWare View Deployment, agents that installed on View Composers and other agents need to be part of the domain, and the vCenter requires that to be part of the domain. since vCenter on another subnet, the soltuion for this either communication must be established between both subnet in order for vCenter to be joined to the domain or put the vSphere Management and vCenter on the Production network beside the core applications and domain controllers. “Would you agree on bringing your heart of your network infrastructure to the production network where everything available, internet, users etc etc etc..?” It’s vary between organization to another.

    Keeping the vSphere Management and vCenter behind firewalls and introducing an additional vCenter for the purpose of VMWare View only, the ESX Hosts requires to be added to the vCenter View ๐Ÿ™‚ Which is not possibe to add ESX host to more that one vCenter as the vpxa agent will be uninstalled automatically from the current vCenter which is managing those hosts..

    The only solution to this either the hosts should be brought to the production network or a communication must be established between both subnet in order to centerlize VMWare View on same vSphere Setup.

    Or having different hosts along with vCenter Server that beside the production network only managing VMWare View VDI Images.

    Well, it’s a bit of dilemma in here and it’s all depends on the customer, but vMWare should think about this and enhance it a bit.

    If an additional things comes in mind, I won’t be hesitate ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Pingback: August Hyper-V Roundup - Best of the web & observations

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