vSphere 5 was announced yesterday (7/12/11), naturally I started reading about what has changed.  Really there aren’t many new features, nothing that would really make you want to upgrade if you have an existing environment.  The new list of features can be found HERE.  Here a short list of a few of the new features:

  • ESXi only for thinner footprint (does nothing for customers already running on ESXi)
  • New Virtual Machine hardware version 8
    • VM8 supports 3d graphics for windows Aero & USB 3.0 Devices
  • Support for Apple Xserve servers running OS X Server 10.6 (Snow Leopard) as a guest operating system
  • Larger Guest VMs with up to 32 vCPUs and 1TB of RAM.
  • VMware vCenter Server can now run as a Linux based appliance
  • vMotion over higher latency networks is now supported (What does this really mean, I have no idea.  It’s a very vague statement)
  • vSphere Auto Deploy - I believe this is a replacement product for Update Manager?  I thought Update Manager worked well, not sure this was really needed.
I’d like to mention that I see no real compelling reason to upgrade to vSphere 5 right now with no big new feature being added.

Now, that we’ve gotten some of the newer features out of the way let’s talk about the biggest thing that has changed which is licensing.  I am extremely unhappy with the way VMware decided to alter licensing.   If you’re not really familiar with how licensing in vSphere 4 worked, here’s a simple breakdown.  It was based on the number of physical CPUs in the ESX/ESXi host and each license per CPU had a limit to number of cores per CPU.

vSphere 5 has taken away the limit to number CPU cores but they have restricted the RAM count per CPU license.  The RAM count is different to each type of license, here is the breakdown:

  • Standard - 24 GBs of RAM
  • Enterprise - 32 GBs of RAM
  • Enterprise Plus = 48 GBs of RAM
In my current production environment our ESXi hosts are 4 physical CPU with 512GBs of ram in each server.  I only needed 4 licenses per host.  With the new RAM entitlement I will need 11 Enterprise Plus licenses for each ESXi host.  With VMware increasing the amount of memory that can go into a Guest VM to 1TB, it would be so expensive to build a guest VM with that much memory!
I will be discussing this with my VMware sales rep in greater detail but if everything I’ve read is indeed correct; VMware is going down a very slippery slope.  Citrix XenServer, anyone?

You can read in great detail about the licensing HERE