VMware Kills vRAM Licensing, Will Focus On vSphere Cloud Bundles

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VMware is discontinuing an unpopular server virtualization-licensing program and will focus on marketing vSphere and its other cloud computing products as a unified stack, CRN has learned.

In its upcoming release of vSphere 5.1, VMware is getting rid of vRAM entitlements, which debuted with vSphere 5 and determine how much memory customers are permitted to allocate to virtual machines on the host, according to sources familiar with VMware's plans.

VMware will return to its previous CPU-based licensing model and will announce the move at VMworld when it unveils vSphere 5.1, sources told CRN.


[Related: VMware Customers Fuming Over vSphere 5 Licensing Changes]

VMware did not respond to a request for comment on its decision to discontinue vRAM.

Sources told CRN that VMware is ditching vRAM in part to maintain its competitive edge against Microsoft, which is adding several enterprise-class features in its upcoming release of Hyper-V 3. Microsoft, which has labeled vRAM as a "vTax," has been using the model in a campaign to lure away VMware customers.

Jettisoning vRAM will allow VMware to adopt a packaged licensing model, in which its other cloud products -- such as vCenter Operations, vShield and vCloud Director -- will be included with the base vSphere licenses. This will simplify matters for customers and eliminate what has been a source of friction in the channel, sources told CRN.

"A lot of customers feel like they are being nickel-and-dimed on things, which hurts the cost model of virtualization, so VMware is going to aggressively bundle. That bundle scheme made little sense with vRAM," said one source, who requested anonymity.

The vRAM model triggered an outcry from customers when VMware introduced it last July. The hubbub subsided after VMware increased its initial vRAM limits, but sources told CRN that many customers still view the model as overly complex and expensive.

"The vRAM entitlements confused the hell out of a lot of customers," said one source, who spoke with CRN on condition of anonymity. "They didn’t get why they had to burn multiple licenses for their memory-dense servers. It was because they were buying a ton of RAM to run lots of workloads."

NEXT: VMware And The Holistic Cloud Computing Stack

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