vSphere5: Licensing (pt2) : The death of overcommitment

There seems to be quite a bit of uproar and confusion surrounding the new VMware license structure. here here here here here

One issue seems to be over the memory cap – Essential/ESS+ and Standard all have a 24GB vRAM entitlement per license purchased.
This means for each VMware license you can allocate 24GB to running VMs be it one 24GB VM or twenty four 1GB VMs.
Enterprise gets 32GB per license and Ent+ gets 48GB. Furthermore, Essentials and Ess+ have a 144GB cap – you can’t allocate more than 144GB of RAM to your VMs when you have purchased a Essentials kit.


For smaller shops 144GB of RAM allocated should be fine. That’s 12GB for Exchange, 12GB for SQL and six 6GB servers and twenty one 4Gb servers.

As mentioned previously the downside is for those who were “gaming” the system, building massive 256GB servers, installing Essentials and over-commiting like crazy. Where they could have 1.2TB of committed vRAM in 4.1 you are limited to 144GB in vSphere 5.

The fix would be $10k (using the VMware store) to add another 48GB (ie upgrade to Standard) and its $52/GB for vRAM after that which should be a drop in the bucket for shops requiring that much firepower.

Interestingly enough, if a 16GB memory stick costs $800 (I’m looking at Crucial) then physical RAM is $50/GB and vRAM is $52/GB.

Is over-committment dead? After the initial Acceleration Kit, using memory you don’t have costs $52/GB. Using physical RAM is $102/GB.

But for Essentials users, you’re paying for 144GB of vRAM, might as well buy 48GB servers and maximize what you’ve paid for – and at that point you are license-restricted from over-committing.

Interestingly, VMware’s price-comparison vs Microsoft and Citrix has long depended on over-committing to “win” I think they are going to have to switch up to pimping the extra features (storage VA, data recovery, high availability etc) to try to win the $$ contest.

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2 Responses to vSphere5: Licensing (pt2) : The death of overcommitment

  1. subhomoy says:

    If one is thinking of over commitment for test and dev, it might make sense to use citrix or hyperv where features like ha, ft, storage vmotiion etc are not mandatory. Then have vmware ent plus only for production environments to justify the cost. Seems like vmware recognized the trend of over commitments in the customer environments and got excited about additional revenue. As a customer with over 200 EntPlus licenses we are now reconsidering the capacitty planning documents.

    • JAndrews says:

      I think I would rather test and develop in the same environment as production, but I would not bother with Ent/Ent+ licenses where it is not needed.

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