Per-VM Licensing

Beth Pariseau from has a new piece up about the change in VMware licensing for some products, from per-socket to per-VM.

First off, and slightly off-topic, I’m quoted in the article, and it’s always interesting to see what reporters choose for quotes from me. This isn’t a criticism, as anybody who has talked to me in real life knows I talk like that. Beth didn’t edit anything, which I really appreciate. However, I now can cross “use the word ‘cram’ in an interview” off my list of life goals. 🙂

Second, and back on-topic, per-VM licensing makes a lot of sense for things like AppSpeed, as well as some of the other management tools. There are a lot of VMs in my environments where I don’t need to know application latency, for example, and I’d rather not pay for for licenses for those VMs. I know just a little about Site Recovery Manager, but if this license model is similar that would be great for companies that don’t need to protect all of their VMs.

On the other hand, per-VM licensing for a tool like CapacityIQ is pretty sketchy, in my opinion. You are trying to use that tool to increase the number of VMs in your environment, which in turn increases your licensing fees. That’s counterproductive, and I can see how a number of potential licensees may be turned off by this change, at least specifically for CapacityIQ.

Changing a licensing model isn’t ever easy. A lot of IT shops are the least nimble business units you’ll ever see, and any change to anything evokes Chicken Little-esque comments, complete with falling skies. Certainly with a change like this comes a little more management overhead, because you have to manage two licensing schemes. But virtualization is about driving costs out of IT, plain and simple, and these changes are likely to outweigh the cost of staff time needed to cope with them. They’ll also open the door for some customers who were previously put off by the high prices. I think that’s a win.