How to Prepare for Enterprise Plus?

Last week I prepared a short explanation of what changes there are in vSphere Licensing in anticipation of the upcoming date of December 15, 2009 whereas we will no longer be able to purchase vSphere ESX Enterprise.

Think this is a good summation of what your options are, and thought that I would share it with the community.

It is always good idea to be pro-active, instead of re-active.

With the release of vSphere at the end of May 2009, the licensing Structure for vSphere has changed  from the previous structure that we are accustomed to in VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3.5 (VI3)

  1. There is no change in vCenter Server Licensing.

  2. vSphere is now sold per physical CPU. The VI3 license was always for 2 CPU’s. As of the change to vSphere it is priced per CPU, so please take care when placing your orders.

  3. The editions in which ESX are now offered have changed from what was available in VI3

Editions Available in ESX 3.x were:

  • Foundation
  • Standard
  • Enterprise

Editions available in ESX 4.x are:

  • Essentials / Essentials Plus (Bundle)
  • Standard
  • Advanced
  • Enterprise (*This is a special case that will explained later in detail)
  • Enterprise plus

Below is a schematic as to how the different editions map between the versions
(all Prices in the document are VMware List Price)


Here is the feature breakdown for the new versions


Most of the Servers deployed today in our company are using the ESX Enterprise version, and using the Enterprise features of: VMotion, Storage VMotion, and DRS.

In order to accommodate customers VMware decided to continue the Enterprise License - but only until the End of the year (December 15, 2009). Thereafter, this edition will not be available for purchase. This has been confirmed with VMware support and licensing departments and on numerous locations in the Virtual community.

What does this mean for customers and for company in particular?

  1. Starting December 16, 2009 - Enterprise will no longer be an option for purchase.

  2. The Enterprise version will continue to be supported after the deadline mentioned above.

  3. We will have to choose which version we will purchase instead - Enterprise Plus or Advanced.

  • Advanced

    We will be able to continue to use most of the features we have been using until now - besides two important features

    • Storage VMotion (migration of VM’s from one storage device to another in real-time)

    • DRS (Dynamic Resource Scheduling of optimal placement of Virtual machines  - based on their 

  • Enterprise Plus

    This will include all previously used features plus the new features of Host Profiles, Distributed vSwitch and 8-way vSMP.

Important issues to note if upgrading to Enterprise Plus

  • If you currently use the features of SVMotion and DRS and plan to do so in the future then you will have to purchase the Enterprise Plus license. 

  • The new features that come with Enterprise plus will only work if all of the hosts in that cluster are at the same level.

That leaves you with some choices

  • Create separate clusters with only Enterprise Plus licenses (which will limit redundancy in your clusters)
  • Upgrade your entire cluster to Enterprise Plus (50% discount on upgrade until mid-December, but includes mandatory maintenance fees for additional year)
  • Mix your cluster with Enterprise and Enterprise Plus and continue to utilize SVMotion and DRS, forfeit the new features, but leave place for future growth
  • Purchase Advanced instead and save the extra expense but give up on the SVMotion and DRS.

In addition, the new Essentials/Essentials Plus Package - are ideal for for small environments / lab solutions - the package includes:

vCenter (limited to manage 3 hosts)          

6 CPU licenses of ESX


To recap and summarize

  • Licenses are now per single Physical CPU

  • Enterprise will be available for order only until mid-December 2009

  • Enterprise Plus will have planning issues which can be solved by:

    • Separate Clusters
    • Upgrade current Enterprise to Enterprise Plus (better to do before mid-December)
    • Evaluate if the features are needed, and if not go down to Advanced
  • Essentials/Essentials Plus can be a cost-effective solution for small environments / labs.

Hope you enjoyed the ride!