Microsoft Exec: VMware 'Secretly Increasing' vSphere 5 Costs

VMware did away with its Advanced tier when it introduced vSphere 5 in July, and now offers only Basic and Enterprise versions. Meanwhile, VMware has been offering vSphere 4 Advanced customers a free upgrade to vSphere 5 Enterprise. However, the company hasn’t been upfront about the increased support costs associated with the higher tier, Sicbaldi said Tuesday in a discussion thread on LinkedIn.

According to Sicbaldi, VMware's support costs for vSphere 5 Enterprise are between 28 and 45 percent higher than vSphere 4 Advanced. "That’s an insanely sharp spike in support costs for customers," Sicbaldi said in the LinkedIn thread. "If you had a $50,000 yearly VMware support contract renewal coming up and you had purchased Advanced, your renewal just jumped to between $64,000-$72,500."

Sicbaldi also suggested that vSphere 4 customers are being "forced" to accept the vSphere 5 Enterprise upgrade. But in the LinkedIn thread, Simon Bramfitt, founder and research director at Entelechy Associates, a Concord, Calif.-based consultancy, challenged Sicbaldi to back up this claim.

"This is a very strongly worded statement, can you back up your assertion that this upgrade is "forced," or offer any evidence that VMware attempted to mislead its customers in any way as to the implications of this offer?" Bramfitt said in the LinkedIn thread.

Sponsored post

Sicbaldi hadn't responded as of Tuesday afternoon Pacific time. VMware couldn't be reached for comment on Sicbaldi's claims.

Microsoft's public squabbling with VMware has been going on for years, although Microsoft did kick up its criticisms a notch in the wake of VMware's unveiling of vRAM, the new vSphere 5 licensing model, in July.

Microsoft's efforts to highlight this particular issue aren't new, either -- an October report from ZDNet includes a verbatim listing of Sicbaldi's claims about VMware's vSphere 5 upgrade offer.

As Microsoft continues to work on Hyper-V 3, the next version of its server virtualization offering that's coming in Windows 8, executives will likely keep up their VMware-is-more-expensive campaign. Bramfitt, for his part, doesn't believe that vSphere licensing and support costs are having that much of an impact on customers' purchasing decisions.

"While some of my clients are looking at alternatives to vSphere, their justification for doing so is driven by the increasing maturity of alternatives giving them the opportunity to obtain the level of service they need at a lower cost, rather than being explicitly driven by concerns over vSphere support costs," Bramfitt said in an e-mail.