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For partners that have been on the front lines educating customers about vRAM, VMware's change of course is a mixed blessing.
"We were very relieved to hear that the vRAM licensing model is going away, but also a little annoyed that it was put in place for such a short time," one source told CRN, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We have spent a considerable amount of time talking with customers about the pros and cons of the vRAM system, how it affects their environment, and what we needed to do to plan for the future."
VMware has been talking about selling its cloud stack as a unified whole for some time. In an interview with CRN last June, VMware COO and co-President Carl Eschenbach said the goal was to eventually give the channel an all-inclusive private cloud bundle. "Today there isn't a single SKU that pulls it all together, but that's the direction we're going as a company," Eschenbach said at the time.
VMware will also use vSphere bundles to jump-start adoption of vCloud Director, which has been sluggish, sources said. vCloud service provider partners have been slow to build out the infrastructure and business model for cloud services, and Project Zephyr, VMware's public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service, is seen in the channel as another attempt to address this issue.
vRAM is one of the few blemishes on outgoing CEO Paul Maritz's successful four-year tenure. Yet, Maritz never backed down when questioned about VMware's rationale for vRAM, noting on several occasions that VMware was merely adjusting its vSphere licensing to account for the greater value its customers were getting from it as they embraced the cloud model.
Maritz has also made it clear that additional licensing changes are coming as VMware moves to a consumption-based model.
"We're trying to be careful, and thoughtful, as we go forward, and be honest about the fact that over the next years ... the licensing is going to have to change," Maritz said in February at VMware Partner Exchange.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the decision to kill vRAM came from incoming CEO Pat Gelsinger, who spent 30 years at Intel and may not be keen on the idea of limiting what customers can do with today's multicore processors.
Starting Sept. 1, Gelsinger will take over as CEO of VMware, and Maritz will move to EMC as chief strategy officer.