vSphere5 Licensing: Part 3 (vSphere Desktop Edition)

With VMware View 4.x you had two licensing options, “Add-on” and “Bundle.” Add-on gave you the ability to use View to manage virtual desktops, Bundle included the required licenses to run vSphere (ESX/ESXi Enterprise plus and vCenter) for the virtual backend. While Bundle initially included “unlimited” ESX licenses they eventually restricted that but it was still plenty of licenses to run your environment.

With vSphere 5 (as mentioned previously) VMware is limiting licensing by vRAM allocated, which could dramatically increase licensing costs in a VDI installation.

Enter vSphere Desktop. A new licence for VDI environments (restricted to only running VDI environments) that includes unlimited vRAM entitlements.

Whohoo! Sounds great! What’s the catch? VMware seemed to be squeezing all the $$ they can out of their customers with 5, why is the door unlocked here?

Well for starters, you can’t upgrade to it. Those View Bundle licenses that would seem to be a direct map to the new model? They will be transitioned to the vRAM-limited licensing. If you like the new model you have to pay what everyone else pays, and you’ll need to pay in 100-user license packs (no more 10-packs for the small customers or the slowly-growing).

Cost? $6500 for the 100-pack or $65/desktop. You’ll need to add View if you want that (View 4 Premium was $150/seat).

Pro – keeping unlimited vRAM (I list retaining an existing feature as a “pro” only because of the comparison to the server-virtualization side where you are suddenly losing a benefit you’ve had for 10 years)

Con – exiting customers get screwed (you need to pay extra to get the same entitlement level you have now)

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