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Los Alamos National Laboratory wins two awards for their cloud service offering

We want to congratulate Los Alamos National Laboratory for two great achievements with their cloud service, "Infrastructure on Demand"! They were named a “Government Innovator” in the InformationWeek 500 awards for their work in deploying a private cloud that now allows their organization to offer infrastructure as a service to Los Alamos researchers. InformationWeek highlights "The service, called Infrastructure on Demand, represents the Department of Energy's first foray into IaaS, and through Infrastructure on Demand's self-service portal, Los Alamos has cut a 30-day server provisioning process down to 30 minutes, and in its first six months, the service was used to provision more than 700 virtual machines." To read more, visit: http://www.techweb.com/news/231600939/15-government-it-innovators-informationweek-500.html

On Tuesday, October 11, the SysAdmin, Audit, Network, Security (SANS) Institute will be presenting a National Cybersecurity Innovation award to LANL for their cloud service. LANL will be receiving the award and presenting at SANS Institute as part of the track on "Award-winning Cloud Initiatives in Government." SANS Institute highlights that in this session, LANL will discuss how Infrastructure on Demand features an innovative cloud security and automation architecture, leveraging VMware's vShield and LANL-written active defense on behalf of the workload clients. Key features include:

1. Automated provisioning of workloads into secure enterprise enclaves.

2. Mapping physical security into a virtual security model using VMware vShield.

3. Employing automated remediation features to offline non-compliant workloads.

4. Extension of a private cloud security framework into a secure hybrid cloud.

To read more, visit: http://www.sans.org/security-training/award-winning-security-cloud-mobile-computing-unpleasant-surprises-cloud-vendor-1621-mid

We are happy to see LANL recognized for two prestigious awards for their innovative cloud service offering!

Dean Coza
Director of Security Product Management

Changes to the vRAM licensing model introduced on July 12, 2011

As many of you know, with the introduction of vSphere 5 we also announced changes to the vSphere licensing model in order to align costs with the benefits of virtualization rather than with the physical attributes of each individual server.  These changes generated debate in the blogosphere, across the VMware communities, and in conversations with customers and partners.  Some of the discussion had to do with confusion around the changes.  We have been watching the commentaries on the blogs very carefully, and we have been listening in the customer conversations very intently. We got a ton of feedback that probed the impact of the new licensing model on every possible use case and scenario, and equally important, reflected our customers’ intense passion for VMware.

We are a company built on customer goodwill and we take customer feedback to heart.  Our primary objective is to do right by our customers, and we are announcing three changes to the vSphere 5 licensing model that address the three most recurring areas of customer feedback:

  • We’ve increased vRAM entitlements for all vSphere editions, including the doubling of the entitlements for vSphere Enterprise and Enterprise Plus.

  • We’ve capped the amount of vRAM we count in any given VM, so that no VM, not even the “monster” 1TB vRAM VM, would cost more than one vSphere Enterprise Plus license.

  • We adjusted our model to be much more flexible around transient workloads, and short-term spikes that are typical in test & dev environments for example.

Below is a description of what we heard from our customers and partners, the changes we are making and the impact we expect they will have:

Customer feedback

The vSphere 5 licensing model…

Changes to the vSphere 5 licensing model


1. Affects only a small percentage of customers today, but customers are concerned about their future-looking business cases based on new powerful hardware capabilities

Substantially raise the vRAM entitlements per vSphere edition from 48/32/24/24/24 GB to 96/64/32/32/32 GB

With these increased vRAM entitlements, hardly any customer will be impacted by higher licensing costs upon upgrading to vSphere 5

2.  Introduces additional hesitation for virtualizing business critical apps

Cap the amount of vRAM counted per VM at 96GB[i]

No application, doesn’t matter how big, will require more than one vSphere (Ent+) license to be virtualized

3.  Penalizes short lived usage “spikes” in dev & test, and transient VMs

Calculate a 12 month average of consumed vRAM rather than a high water mark

Short lived “spikes” will increase the 12 month average a little but a customer will not be required to pay for them in perpetuity

[i] Note: this change will NOT be reflected in the native vCenter Server 5 vRAM reporting capability at GA time; it will be included in a future vCenter Server 5 update release. However, before such update release is available, customers will be able to use a stand-alone free utility for tracking vRAM usage that will reflect this change.

To recap, here is a comparison of the previously announced and the currently unveiled vSphere 5 vRAM entitlements per vSphere edition

vSphere Edition

Previous vRAM Entitlement

New vRAM Entitlement

vSphere Enterprise+

48 GB

96 GB

vSphere Enterprise

32 GB

64 GB

vSphere Standard

24 GB

32 GB

vSphere Essentials+

24 GB

32 GB

vSphere Essentials

24 GB

32 GB

Free vSphere Hypervisor

8 GB

32 GB[ii]

vSphere Desktop



[ii] this limit is GB of physical RAM per physical server

I should also point out that the concern around using vSphere 5 for VDI was already addressed with the vSphere Desktop edition. The vSphere Desktop edition does not have any vRAM entitlements, and allows customers to purchase vSphere for VDI use case.  vSphere Desktop is licensed on the total number of Powered On Desktop Virtual Machines.

We are confident that our vSphere 5 licensing model based on pooled vRAM is the right one for the cloud computing era. We are fully committed to meeting our customers’ and partners’ unique needs, and have several resources available to help customers understand how the new licensing model applies to their environment. I would specifically point you to the ROI calculator on upgrading to vSphere 5, as well as a tool you can apply against your VI3.5 or vSphere 4 environment to ascertain your vRAM consumption, and therefore any impact on vSphere 5 licensing.

Bogomil Balkansky
VP, Product Management

Understanding the vSphere 5 vRAM Licensing Model

With the Cloud Infrastructure Launch on July 12 we announced changes to the vSphere 5 licensing model. vSphere 5 will continue to be licensed per physical processor with a new vRAM entitlement pooled across the entire environment.

We're monitoring the feedback very closely, we take it to heart, and we do want to do the right thing for our customers.  In this post, I’d like to point out a couple of things that may have gotten lost in the discussions, share with you some of the thinking behind the vSphere 5 licensing model, and point you to a tool can help you assess what these changes will mean to you.  

We are noticing a critical misconception that is permeating many of the discussions around the changes we’ve made.  I’d like to clarify:  the new licensing model is NOT based on physical RAM.  It is based on the amount of virtual RAM (vRAM) configured to a virtual machine. We have seen a lot of instances where people are trying to calculate the number of vSphere 5 licenses needed by taking the physical RAM in a server and dividing it by the vRAM entitlement for a particular vSphere edition.   That isn’t quite how the new model works.

The vSphere 5 licensing model has a pooled vRAM entitlement. vRAM is total amount of virtual RAM allocated to all VMs, and it is important to note that the total allocated vRAM for most customers is substantially smaller than the available physical RAM.  Most customers reserve at least 20% of spare physical RAM capacity that is not allocated as vRAM.  

To really get an understanding of how many vSphere 5 licenses a customer needs, you need to sum up the total amount of vRAM allocated in all powered-on VMs, and divide that total amount by the entitlement for the particular vSphere 5 edition you are running.  Let’s look at an example: if you have 100 VMs with 4GB of vRAM each, then you need a vRAM pool of 400GB. If you are running vSphere 5 Enterprise (with 32GB of vRAM entitlement per processor license) then you need 400GB / 32BG = 13 licenses.  As you notice, there is no mention of physical RAM in this calculation.  To recap, vSphere 5 licensing needs are determined by only 3 factors:

  1. Number of VMs
  2. Amount of vRAM per VM
  3. What vSphere 5 edition you are running. The entitlements for the different editions are available here.

Our Technical Marketing team has developed a tool that can help you add the total amount of vRAM allocated in your VMs so that you can run this calculation.  There is also an accompanying video explaining how to use the tool.  In addition, we have noticed a few similar tools developed by the community.

How we got to vRAM

When we began the process of developing the new model, we set out to find a way to evolve vSphere’s licensing to lay the foundation for customers to adopt a more "cloud-like" IT cost model.  We were looking to develop a model that would be more congruent with the technology architecture of the virtual and cloud world, where resources are pooled for maximum utilization.  In short, we wanted a model based on consumption and value rather than physical components and capacity.

The design point of the licensing change was not to increase licensing costs, and we believe  90+% of our customers will not see a licensing cost increase.  Before we introduced the new vSphere 5 licensing model, which is based on pooled vRAM entitlement, we did a great deal of research, and carefully analyzed available customer data. Let me tell you what we found:

  • The average amount configured vRAM per VM is 3GB
  • The average number of VMs per physical processor is 5.7. I know this may be counter-intuitive to some customers who are pushing the envelope, but the detailed distribution of consolidation ratios is on the graph below.


So based on the above two metrics, even if you disregard the effect of vRAM pooling, the vRAM entitlements far exceed the common customer practice. In fact, some customers may see a decrease in their licensing costs: customers of vSphere Essentials, Essentials Plus, Standard, and Enterprise had 6-core per proc restrictions in the previous licensing model. In order to deploy vSphere on a new server with more than 6 cores per processor, these customers would have had to purchase additional vSphere licenses. 


We are confident that as we move into the cloud computing era, our vSphere 5 vRAM licensing model will allow our customers to best take advantage of the benefits and flexibility of cloud computing by allowing the pooling of licenses for maximum utilization and value:

  • As Forrester’s James Staten writes in his blog: “This change ties licensing more to the use of the product and encourages greater VM consolidation as it counts VMs by size, rather than per physical server. This incents packing lots of VMs on a single system and even lets you share vRAM entitlements across physical systems to accommodate more seamless growth of your environment and management of the pool, a key operational change called out in our Virtualization Maturity Model. Basically, now you can entitle your virtual environment in total, based on its capacity and fill it up as much as you want. This is much more consistent with their service provider pricing model; and if your goal is to build a private cloud, isn’t that the point? All in all, this shows that VMware gets it and is taking an active role in helping educate its customers that virtualization and cloud operations are two different things and making these distinctions clear is critical to their and your success. Well done, VMware.” http://blogs.forbes.com/forrester/2011/07/12/the-cloud-computing-market-grows-up/
  • And as the Taneja Group remarked: “We welcome this new approach, and believe it addresses the majority of licensing concerns that we’ve heard from VMware customers over the past couple of years.  First, it’s much simpler – users can now focus on how they actually use vSphere virtual resources on a given pool of physical servers, versus having to worry about how those underlying servers’ processor and memory configurations might grow.  And since baseline licensing is still tied to number of server cpu’s, the new licensing will not force changes to customers’ existing purchasing and budgeting processes.http://tanejagroup.com/news/blog/cloud/vmware-takes-vsphere-licensing-to-the-cloud

To wrap up, I would like to point to some of the advantages of the new model as articulated by some of our customers:   

I encourage you to download the tool and estimate you actual vRAM usage across your entire environment. Talk to your VMware or partner sales team to go through the numbers. For more information and materials, visit the vSphere 5 Upgrade center.

Bogomil Balkansky
VP, Product Management 


VMware: Building the Foundation for the Cloud Era with the launch of vSphere 5 and the Cloud Infrastructure Suite

Today marks a major milestone for us here at VMware. Not only did we announce a new major release of our flagship virtualization and cloud platform, vSphere 5, but we also unveiled a comprehensive suite of cloud infrastructure technologies that are purpose-built to help customers transform their virtualized datacenters into cloud environments.

Over the past decade, vSphere has become the virtualization standard for the enterprise, SMB and global service provider markets. We estimate that at the end of 2010, customers who deployed virtualization had 40 percent of their workloads virtualized. Impressive. By the end of this year, estimates indicate that customers will have crossed the 50 percent virtualization mark.  Independent analysts IDC and Gartner have each found similar customer metrics. With that, the end of the physical era of IT is well in sight, and we are onto the cloud era!

And it all started in 2001, when VMware launched ESX Server 1, the first x86 bare metal hypervisor. Since then, we’ve kept a breathtaking pace of innovation, and today is no exception: vSphere 5 has almost 200 new and enhanced capabilities that will simplify the lives of our customers, and deliver quick and tangible value to their organizations. The complete new feature list might be somewhat daunting, but the infographic below offers a fun look at the evolution of the product, and how vSphere has transformed IT.

VSphere Infographic
Click to enlarge image (jpg, pdf)

But the journey continues and we are focused on the next era of IT:  cloud computing. Our commitment is to help our customers reap the benefits of cloud on their own terms. That means leveraging the strong vSphere foundation to build a hybrid cloud architecture that offers customers the optimum balance of on- and off-premise infrastructure. 

At the core of this commitment is the sustained pace of innovation and the focus on product quality that convinced more than 250,000 customers and 5,100 service providers to entrust their applications to VMware. To these customers and partners, we would like to say “thank you!” On behalf of everyone at VMware, we look forward to continuing to set the standard for virtualization and cloud infrastructure. Today is a day of celebration!

Bogomil Balkansky
Vice President, Product Marketing 

Reflection on 2010 and the Management Inflection Point

As 2010 winds down and we look forward to 2011 it is clear that management of virtualized and cloud environments is at an inflection point. This is as true for customers as it is for us at VMware and the broader industry. Management is essential to the cloud and to enabling IT to operate more like a service provider to the business.  This year we passed a “tipping point,” with more virtual machines deployed than physical servers. Managing these growing virtual environments is critical for customers as they accelerate towards standardizing on virtual infrastructure.  This is especially true when deploying self-service private clouds, as this new model requires management to be much more automated than is possible with current approaches.

2010 Milestones

At VMware we are accelerating our focus on management, and we achieved several key milestones in 2010:

  • We established a separate business unit focused exclusively on management, which reflects both customer priorities and VMware’s commitment to provide the best management solutions for virtual and cloud environments.

  • We acquired several key assets from EMC and Integrien to build out our management portfolio in key areas critical to expanding virtual environments and the cloud, including configuration and compliance, service management, and application discovery and performance management. These new offerings are now available as VMware products and will serve as a foundation for a new generation of management solutions purpose-built for dynamic environments.

  • We evolved our existing product offerings including new releases of ChargebackAppSpeed,Site Recovery Manager and CapacityIQ. The recent release of CapacityIQ 1.5 expands the trending and forecasting to storage, which critical in virtualized environments. Administrators can pinpoint capacity bottlenecks deep down in the stack, helping avoid outages and keeping virtual “IT factory” production line running smoothly. Unlike traditional capacity management methods and tools, CapacityIQ is optimized for a dynamic environment and specifically the vSphere platform with its many advanced features.

  • We introduced vCloud Director and vCloud Request Manager, which provide the foundation for abstracting vSphere environments into secure Virtual Datacenters for self-service provisioning with governance and control. These products allow IT to partition resources for multiple tenants, standardize service offerings, and ensure control over self-service with multi-level approvals, automated license tracking and “blueprints”.

Looking Forward to 2011 and Beyond

As exciting as 2010 was, 2011 promises to be even more exciting in the area of management! I won’t steal the thunder of our PR department…but we have significant new releases planned, which will further establish the foundation for a more dynamic model of management that allows customers to build and operate private clouds and to keep up with accelerating business demands. Our aspiration at VMware is to dramatically simplify and streamline management. For customers, whether they are simply trying to manage a growing population of VMs or striving to reinvent how IT services are delivered to the business, this goal is essential. Management needs to evolve from the approaches of the past to respond to the current pressures on IT and to deliver the IT model of the future, so stay tuned and buckle your seat belt!

–Rob Smoot, Director Product Marketing