Diggin' technology every day

July 20, 2011

VMware Licensing models

Filed under: Virtualization — Tags: , — Nate @ 5:38 am

[ was originally combined with another post but I decided to split out ]

VMware has provided it’s own analysis of their customers hardware deployments and telling folks that ~95% of their customers won’t be impacted by the licensing changes. I feel pretty confident that most of those customers are likely massively under utilizing their hardware. I feel confident because I went through that phase as well. Very, very few workloads are truly cpu bound especially with 8-16+ cores per socket.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all that many of those customers when they go to refresh their hardware change their strategy pretty dramatically – provided the licensing permits it. The new licensing makes me think we should bring back 4GB memory sticks and 1 GbE. It is very wasteful to assign 11 CPU licenses to a quad socket system with 512GB of memory, memory only licenses should be available at a significant discount over CPU+memory licenses at the absolute minimum. Not only that but large amounts of memory are actually affordable now. It’s hard for me to imagine at least having a machine with a TB of memory in it for around $100k, it wasn’t TOO long ago that it would of run you 10 times that.

And as to VMware’s own claims that this new scheme will help align ANYTHING better, by using memory pools across the cluster – just keep this in mind. Before this change we didn’t have to care about memory at all, whether we used 1% or 95%, whether some hosts used all of their ram and others used hardly any. It didn’t matter. VMware is not making anything simpler. I read somewhere about them saying some crap about aligning more with IT as a service. Are you kidding me? How may buzz words do we need here?

The least VMware can do is license based on usage. Remember pay for what you use, not what you provision. When I say usage I mean actual usage. Not charging me for the memory my Linux systems are allocating towards (frequently) empty disk buffers (goes to the memory balloon argument). If I allocate 32GB of ram to a VM that is only using 1GB of memory I should be charged for 1GB, not 32GB. Using vSphere’s own active memory monitor would be an OK start.

Want to align better and be more dynamic? align based on memory usage and CPU usage, let me run unlimited cores on the cluster and you can monitor actual usage on a per-socket basis, so if on average (say you can bill based on 95% similar to bandwidth) your using 40% of your CPU then you only need 40% licensing. I still much prefer the flat licensing model in almost any arrangement rather than usage based but if your going to make it usage based, really make it usage based.

Oh yeah – and forget about anything that charges you per VM too (hello SRM). That’s another bogus licensing scheme. It goes completely against the trend of splitting workloads up into more isolated VMs and instead favors fewer much larger VMs that are doing a lot of things at the same time. Even on my own personal co-located ESXi server, I have 5 VMs on it, I could consolidate it to two and provide the similar end user services, but it’s much cleaner to do it in 5 for my own sanity.

All of this new licensing stuff also makes me think back to a project I was working on about a year ago, trying to find some way of doing DR in the cloud, the ROI for doing it in house vs. any cloud on the market(looked at about 5 different ones at the time) was never more than 3 months. In one case the up front costs for the cloud was 4 times the cost for doing it internally. The hardware needs were modest in my opinion, with the physical hardware not even requiring two full racks of equipment. The #1 cost driver was memory, #2 was CPU, storage was a distant third assuming the storage that the providers spec’d could meet the IOPS and throughput requirements, storage came in at about 10-15% of the total cost of the cloud solution.

Since most of my VMware deployments have been in performance sensitive situations (lots of Java) I run the systems with zero swapping, everything in memory has to stay in physical ram.

1 Comment

  1. […] tried to be a vocal opponent to this strategy and firmly believed it was going to hurt VMware, I haven't seen any hard […]

    Pingback by The Screwballs have Spoken « — August 20, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

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