“What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin.” – Mark Twain
I have to say that, if they’re true, I’ve got three reasons to be happy about the VMware licensing rumors that CRN is leaking.
First, you may remember from the vSphere 5 launch that I was one of the folks pointing out that due to the fact that you can pool your vRAM licensing it was likely to have little effect in the short term, and shouldn’t stop anybody from upgrading to vSphere 5. The pain would come in the medium-term for folks that practice the “fewer, bigger machines” approach to virtualization (a practice I promote). Thirteen months is definitely “medium-term” and faced with the good-enough Hyper-V, some cloud competitors, and the fact that people are starting to upgrade to servers that support 8x the RAM in the same footprint this is a move that makes sense.
Second, I like the idea that there might be some bundling going on into the preexisting license levels, as stated in the CRN article. One of the big gripes I’ve had is that very few new & truly useful things are making it into the licenses I own, like they used to. I’d really like it if the SnS costs I pay meant that some of the other functionality found in VMware’s software lineup found its way into my Enterprise Plus licenses. There’s a whole ecosystem growing like fungus on the underside of the high prices set by VMware for things like chargeback, operations management, and cloud management. I think it makes sense that they would want to do something to deal with that and make it a brain-dead simple choice for people to buy VMware software. Especially in the cloud area, if the rumors about “Project Zephyr” being VMware’s own large-scale competitor to EC2, Azure, and Rackspace are true.
Third, in this runup to VMworld I’ve been complaining that everything that’s interesting to write about from many of my favorite vendors is under some sort of NDA or embargo. While I’m happy that something finally leaked that I’ve been told absolutely nothing about, and as such can write on it, I take VMware’s secrecy as a sign that they’re getting serious about being competitive. VMware has been exceptionally tight-lipped about a lot of things lately, triply so about licensing & pricing changes. Competitiveness is good for their customers and great for the market as long as they continue to listen to actual customer feedback during their development cycles, especially early on.
Of course, until all of this comes from the mouth of Maritz, Gelsinger, or Herrod on stage it hasn’t happened. I’m sure hoping it’s true, though.
A hat tip goes to my friend Gabriel Chapman for the initial post I saw about this.
 I seriously doubt CRN’s Mr. McLaughlin when he speculates that the vRAM licensing change is because Gelsinger is ex-Intel and pro-multicore processors. Nobody who makes money in a per-socket fashion likes multicore CPUs, regardless of whether you helped invent them or not. It’s probably more that Maritz & Gelsinger aren’t idiots and a new release is a good time to make a change to something that wasn’t working as well as they’d hoped.
 By using the term “fungus” I don’t mean to imply anything about the quality of the ecosystem. There are a number of truffles growing there, like Veeam, Solarwinds, Xangati, Zerto, etc. that really give VMware products some excellent competition if they aren’t plainly superior. Especially in tasty price/performance/feature sorts of ways.