As many of you may be aware the VMware vSphere ‘Enterprise’ license was due to go end of life at the end of this year (2009) leaving those businesses wanting Enterprise features such as Dynamic Resource Allocation (DRS) and Storage Live Migration after this time having to purchase the more costly, though feature rich (ie: Host Profiles and Distributed Switches) ‘Enterprise Plus’ version of vSphere.
This decision in general wasn’t too popular with many existing VMware customers who already had vSphere ‘Enterprise’ licenses from VI3 license upgrades. The timing of the new vSphere licensing announcement meant that many companies hadn’t factored in any VMware upgrades to their yearly budget meaning that even if they wanted to upgrade they couldn’t make the most of heavily discounted upgrade offered by VMware which ends on the 15th December 2009.
Any customers not upgrading to ‘Enterprise Plus’ will be left with a mixed license environment (ie: Enterprise and Enterprise Plus) if they purchase new vSphere ‘Enterprise Plus’ licences come the New Year and hadn’t upgraded their existing vSphere ‘Enterprise’ licenses. If a business decides not to upgrade to ‘Enterprise Plus’ this isn’t the end of the world though it would mean that they couldn’t use their newly found ‘Enterprise Plus’ features across their entire vSphere environment.
However, this ‘Enterprise’ license upgrade deadline has now changed and in a letter to Channel Partners as reported by Dave Lawrence over at ‘The VMguy’, VMware have announced that the vSphere ‘Enterprise’ license will continue to be available into the New Year although no new end of life date has been given. I suspect that any new end of life date will be a month or two after April 2010 as this would allow businesses to budget for any vSphere license upgrades.
I personally think that VMware would be better off permanently keeping the ‘Enterprise’ license whilst moving real high-end enterprise level functionality such as Fault Tolerance (FT) to the ‘Enterprise Plus’ license and moving the Host Profiles feature across all licenses, as this is pretty fundamental functionality. I also think that in the coming year we may see VMware give vMotion away on all, or at least most, vSphere licenses (even ESXi?), so as to head off Microsoft’s Hyper-V R2 encroachment into the SMB hypervisor market – time will tell.