VMware simplifies vSphere licensing

On February 10th, 2016 VMware announced changes to simplify the licensing for VMware vSphere and VMware vSphere with Operations Management.

You can read about this in the VMware vSphere Blog “VMware Simplifies its Lineup of Core Virtualization Offering“.

In this blog post I want to give you a short overview about the changes:

No longer available as of June 30, 2016 are the following licenses:

  • VMware vSphere Enterprise
  • VMware vSphere Standard with Operations Management
  • VMware vSphere Enterprise with Operations Management

The new lineup consists of:

  • VMware vSphere Standard
  • VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus
  • VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus with Operations Management

A nice feature for new and existing vCenter Server Standard customers:

For every vCenter Server Standard license, VMware will provide 25 Operating System Instances (OSI) of vRealize Log Insight.

Now one might ask:
What happens to customers already licensed for vSphere Enterprise“?

Unfortunately they will not be upgraded for free to Enterprise Plus (this would be great…).

But there will be a special promotion to upgrade to Enterprise Plus with 50% off. Or you can of course stay on the Enterprise edition until official End of Support.

My opinion about the new lineup:

It is a good idea to simplify licensing.

But the way in which it was implemented is a disadvantage for SMB customers. Standard edition is not sufficient for many customers as of missing features like “Distributed Resource Scheduler” (DRS) and “APIs for Array Integration, Multipathing”. (edit: API for Array Integration and Multipathing is part of the Standard Edition)

In the future they have to license a product with features they do not need and that is noticeable more expensive, on the other side the smaller license is not sufficient.

The forced upgrade from Enterprise to Enterprise Plus may be a reason for smaller companies to take a closer look at other products, eg. Microsoft Hyper-V.

In my opinion, VMware forgets more and more the SMB customers… What do you think?


  1. Anonymous

    VAAI is available in the standard edition since vSphere 6.0 and technically it wasn’t restricted in 5.x:

  2. Steffen Oezcan

    From my POV Enterprise didnt made a lot of sense anymore. Consider the HUGE price increase between Standard and Enterprise (was something like from 900$ to 3.000$ per socket or so, then to Enterprise Plus only like 500$ bucks more).
    So for DRS only you were paying a HUGE buck extra in vSphere 6 (and yes, I am omitting the reliable memory feature here). Didnt make sense to me anymore and I consulted my customers accordingly.
    You can get something usable “like” DRS with some scripting effort (not the same, but like) or other useful and cheaper tools like VMturbo. I like the change, streamlining.

  3. Aaron Margeson

    With all due respect to Steffen, simplifying the licensing model to get rid of a SKU that cost too much more than Standard is the wrong solution when that SKU should have existed.

    There is definitely demand for DRS without stuff like the DVS and other Enterprise Plus features. I have A LOT of customers who would love DRS but won’t pay to jump from Standard licensing to Enteprise nor Enterprise Plus, but would gladly pay some amount more for Standard licensing. I’ve felt for awhile now VMware was leaving money on the table with customers by pricing Enterprise too highly over Standard. Now, customers who simply want Standard plus DRS have to pay even more.

    DRS honestly feels like it should be in Standard. Not everyone can truly benefit from the DVS and other Enterprise Plus features, but even two node clusters can benefit from DRS.

    This licensing change is baffling quite honestly.

  4. Steffen Oezcan

    With all due respect to you, Aaron – as much as I love DRS, and most customers want to have it, more and more customers (at least thats what I´ve been seeing recently) are not going to triple (900$->3000$) their licensing and SnS costs (per socket!) JUST for DRS anymore.
    Take a look at workload placement features like in VMturbo or Cirba, and you may get away with vSphere Standard, something “similar” (not! the same) as DRS, have less overall cost, plus they dont need to jump on the expensive and complex vROps train, but get some nice, simpler and affordable performance monitoring etc. tools altogether with this workload placement feature. Add some PowerCLI in the worst case for some (anti-)affinity and we saved a lot of money.
    But paying ~2000$/socket only for DRS never did make much sense to me – even when most customers would like or need to have it, there are other and cheaper ways.


    once upon, the way to go for Virtualization is to reduce the cost of Hardware. NOT ANYMORE WITH TODAYS PRICES….BYE BYE VMWARE.

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