This seems to be a topic that a lot of people are getting wrong or where people still think we are leveraging the old vSphere 5 vRAM Model. SO, let’s set the record straight, and provide supporting evidence as to how vSphere is licensed and the editions you can choose.
First, let’s address vRAM. As of vSphere 5.1, also retroactive to vSphere 5.0, vRAM is no longer part of the license model. We are no solely looking at physical CPU Sockets, not cores, on the system board. Each CPU Socket with a processor will require a CPU Licenses. For those of you with vSphere 5.0 licenses with vRAM limitations, you can update your licenses at My.VMware.com with revised keys the remove the vRAM restriction.
Directly from the VMware vSphere Pricing and Licensing Guide…
The new vSphere licensing model for both vSphere 5.0 and 5.1, continues to be based on processor licenses. It eliminates the restrictive physical entitlements of CPU cores and physical RAM per server and has no limitation on the number of VMs or amount of virtual memory (vRAM) on each licensed processor.
CPU Cores, CPU Memory – There are no longer any physical restrictions on vSphere Standard, vSphere Enterprise, or vSphere Enterprise Plus.
VMware vSphere 5 licensing removes all restrictions on physical cores and physical RAM. This change eliminates barriers to deploying VMware vSphere on new multicore server configurations, improving customers’ ability to choose server hardware that best meets their requirements.
Those of you who own vSphere Advance will get vSphere Enterprise Keys. We have also dropped vSphere Advance because without the physical core / memory restrictions, it is basically a vSphere Enterprise license. Enjoy the upgrade.
If you are deploying Virtual Desktops, stick with the vSphere edition that comes with VMware View Premier or VMware View Enterprise, the vSphere Desktop editions is still restricted to the total number of desktop VM’s in the View license. This is also the edition you will want to buy if you are deploying virtual desktops with a product other than VMware View (Citirx XENDesktop, VDI-In-a-Box, Desktone, Dell/Quest vWorkspace, Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Unidesk). This is licensed by the total number of powered on / managed virtual machines.
Are there advantages to Enterprise Plus vs Enterprise vs Standard? Yes, and most notable is the size of your VM’s you are allowed to create and the features of the hypervisor. vSphere Standard can create VM’s up to 8-way vPCU’s, Enterprise can create VM’s up to 32-way vCPU’s, and Enterprise Plus can create VM’s up to 64-way vCPU’s! Compare the features of each edition online.
Lastly, for those of you with Support and Subscription (SNS) and entitled to upgrades, some things you may want to consider with vSphere 5.1. vSphere 5.1 now included vShield Zones and vShield Endpoint Protection for all editions of vSphere 5.1. vSphere 51. now also allows for vMotion, Storage vMotion, and Fault Tolerance in all 3 major editions. These alone are well worth keeping the support and upgrades current!
So, I hope that clears up some of the fundamental licensing and entitlement changes to the vSphere stack as of vSphere 5.1 and the retroactive features of vSphere 5.0.