Thursday 14 July 2011


So VMwere have come out and publicly revealed vSpore v5, including disclosing their new extortion licensing racket model for vSpore v5 here.

Now the positive messages re new features, functions, performance and capability improvements of vSpore 5 have been outweighed in the press & user base by noise around the new license model, and specifically the now licensing of RAM usage.

I don't know about your environments, but I know when we look at our farms they are already RAM constrained and not CPU/core constrained - and this is at RAM/CPU ratios considerably higher than the new licences would enable without additional licence purchases. For us we're also seeing the RAM/CPU ratio increasing from our application providers - everything is increasingly demanding larger quantities of RAM.

This reminds me of a similar approach used by the "independent mobile high-street pharmaceutical suppliers" :-
  1. Release an exciting product to establish lust & demand
  2. Make chunks of it free (eg ESXi) to widen the customer base & hearts/minds
  3. Encourage large deployment & consolidation based on over-subscription and utilisation
  4. Then change the payment rules for the next version and drive the requirement for additional licences (hence revenue) for exactly the same solution & architecture between existing & future versions
To me it's clear that when a company measures itself on revenue & profit growth, and especially if they are in a rapidly commoditising market, that there has to be new ways of obtaining the growth (let alone standing still against increased competition). So it would appear the current model is to extract revenue from the core value the product offers. In itself making the overall virtualisation offering less beneficial from an ROI/TCO perspective - but I guess the assumption is that people are so addicted committed to the product & solution that they wont bother questioning the value of the solution again.

I also think VMwere are trying to deflect their changes by talking about 'Align the vSpore licensing model with IT as a service', somehow avoiding the point that most organisations already happily translate capex+opex investment -> to internal recharge. In fact many don't want their private hypervisor farms to have a cost profile more aligned to public IaaS (ie variable opex).

Page 11 of the vSpore licensing FAQ pdf also makes a claim re "today’s average consolidation ratios of 5:1" - this seems to be considerably different (ie lower) than the claims & statements VMwere make in all their sales & marketing materials of consolidation rations of 10-20:1 being common. Love to hear more about 'average VMwere is only 5:1'....

So what sort of impact will this have?
  • for some people & use case it'll make no difference
  • for others it will drive material impacts on capex for additional licences, and of course opex as it relates to support/maint of the licences
  • generally I feel this will make life more complex for virtualisation designers & architects that now need to design & estate manage around RAM specifically
My feeling is that this will trigger a number of things :-
  • Draw attention to the review of actual benefits/cost Vs forecast benefits/costs of ongoing virtualisation programmes
  • Inhibit some new virtualisation projects due to cost increases
  • Allow VMwere's competitors to be able to promote & market their technology based upon costs/value, in turn generating noise in the IT ecosystem and thus consuming the customer's time in FUD / hype fighting
  • Cause many customers to expedite their reviews of the rapidly maturing viable alternate hypervisor / IaaS tooling market, with a view to move wholesale to an alternative or to dual source hypervisors
  • I'm also wondering if this is a step towards VMwere licensing their technology by active virtual machines (and dimensions of machines) rather than the underpinning physical infrastructure
I fully understand, agree with and respect the need for companies to make revenue and profit, but I always find it strange when successful companies decide to shoot a foot off or commit slow suicide through strangling their customers...

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