VMware's new license model may have admins running to Hyper-V

vSphere 5 changes the game in a bad way, and it may cost VMware in its war against Microsoft

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Some people may believe -- along the lines of what my colleague Savio Rodrigues has argued -- that this licensing issue leaves the door ajar for open source options. I agree that there will be an exodus -- perhaps minor, perhaps major -- from VMware (which was already suffering from being an expensive product compared to others), but I believe the majority of VMware expats will look to Microsoft, not open source, for their future. These are people who have had the pampered experience of a VMware environment, and they're not just going to run off to open source tools, which are not known for their five-star support and ease-of-use.

The issue for many administrators -- what has them quivering over this price model switch -- is that with VMware you can have one amount of physical RAM but commit (or overcommit) memory that exceeds the physical RAM in the system, so VMs are running with the impression that they have more memory than they actually do. This is a feature that VMware has pushed and promoted, and admins who followed VMware's advice suddenly find themselves being punished financially for having done so. Suddenly, a system with 16GB of physical RAM but overcommitted to 32GB doesn't look so smart anymore. (Microsoft's Hyper-V offers dynamic memory, which provides for a similar overcommit.)

I've endorsed the memory overcommit approach, mainly because it allows you to take advantage of systems with less physical RAM while running servers that called for more RAM, though I recommend it only in best-practices environments or for support. If memory overcommitting makes sense technically in your environment, I still recommend it, but not necessary at VMware's new, higher price.

The motivation behind the new licensing model is obvious: VMware is hoping to get more money out of its customers. That is usually smart business. But when you do it so blatantly that it has the entire community up in arms, it can be a really dumb move. Obviously there are worse models VMware could have chosen to go with (such as pricing per VM), but I don't hear IT admins saying, "Well, it could be worse." I believe many are instead starting to say, "You know, I haven't given Hyper-V a chance. Perhaps now I should."

Where do you stand on this? Will you stick with vSphere because you're comfortable with it and love the features enough to offset any price increase? Will you stay because this price change won't really affect you? Will you shop for greener pastures in the Hyper-V or open source space? Let us know in the comments.

This article, "VMware's new license model may have admins running to Hyper-V," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blog and follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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