Tuesday, January 28, 2014

License Considerations For Datacenter Virtualization With VMware

Before we talk about Vmware Accelerator Kits, lets try to understand little bit of Virtualization basics for Datacenter Virtualization. To virtualize your Datacenter or migrate from physical to Virtual only two Vmware products are sufficient, i.e.,

  1. Bare-Metal Hypervisor (vSphere ESXi)
  2. Management Software (vCenter Server)

With vSphere ESXi, you virtualize and run multiple VMs on it and with vCenter Server you manage all the ESXi hosts and VMs and with vCenter Server comes all the distributive services like vMotion, Storage vMotion, HA, DRS etc. This two products are the base of Vmware virtualization, after this when you add any new Vmware product like View, SRM, vCloud Director or any other product has to communicate and rely on these two products (ESXi and vCenter Server).

It is very important to first identify the functional requirements of virtualization for the respective environment and then decide on which Vmware products to chose keeping future growth or implementations in mind. For example, if your datacenter has 100 physical server (running production and development applications) then you may virtualize your datacenter and enjoy the benefits of virtualization. By server consolidation you save on power, cooling, management, space etc but along with this there are lots of considerations like which minimum features are required at the hypervisor level to meet your SLAs or application requirements without compromising on performance.

vSphere ESXi comes in 3 Editions (Standard, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus), apart from pricing they basically differ in some advanced features.  You need to understand whether those advanced features are required or not depending on your environment, otherwise the Standard edition is sufficient for small to medium size environments. vCenter Server comes in 2 editions, Foundation and Standard. Foundation can manage upto 3 ESXi hosts.

Below table lists the features which comes with Standard Edition of ESXi

In Enterprise Edition below additional features are added on top of all the Standard features

Enterprise Plus is the highest edition with all the features

After understanding the importance of these features, you may choose the most suitable license for your environment. If all the application requirements can be fulfilled with Enterprise edition  then it doesn't make sense to opt for Standard to save on some licensing cost. The other consideration for this licensing would also depend on the future growth or if you are planning to add other Vmware products. As the other Vmware products uses some advanced features of ESXi for better efficiency. For example, vCloud Director requires Distributed Switch to utilize all the networking features.

VMware Products and their Licensing Options - Part-01


Broadly VMware's  offering can be categorized into Datacenter Virtualization, Desktop Virtualization, Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery and Cloud Services. But VMware has it's own way of distributing their products under similar categories, I have listed all the VMware products as per their categories

All Products:

Majority of products are part some or the other suite which makes the complete solution for respective category and also these products can be purchased separately. Support & subscription is mandatory for at 1 year but it gives free upgrade for any new releases which is the top benefit. There are 2 support options

1. Gold Support -  Mon-Fri (12 hours / day) 
more info - https://www.vmware.com/support/services/basic.html 

2. Production Support - 24/7 
more info - https://www.vmware.com/support/services/production.html

Some Free Products:

 In the below table I will just list the products and Editions along with how they are licensed, if purchased as a standalone product under Datacenter Virtualization category. There are some products like NSX, Vmware Virsto etc whose pricing are not public.

I will cover the different Suites and Acceleration kit available under datacenter virtualization in the next post. Hope this information was helpful.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What happens when the VMware Evaluation license expires ?

Vmware almost has all the products available for 60 days evaluation period. All the features are functional and available to be tested before buying it or maybe for POC for any customer. So, what happens to the vSphere ESXi and vCenter Server after 60 days ?

vCenter Server:

Its keeps warning about the remaining time from day 1 of the evaluation period till it reached the last day like below and gives option to add the new License Key.
What happens to the Hosts which were added to the vCenter and the VMs running on them

  1. All the hosts gets disconnect and it wont allow you to add existing or new hosts to vCenter Server.
  1. All the Virtual Machines remain intact and running.

When you connect to the ESXi host using vSphere Client, web-Client required vCenter Server, hence you need vSphere Client to access you r VMs on host that has expired license

  1. The moment you connect to the ESXi host, you are welcomed with this pop-up window.

  1. All the VMs are still running and accessible, they are can be restarted.
  2. New VMs can be created but cannot assign more than 4vCPU also remember that this is running on ESXi 5.0 mode as we are connected using vSphere Client. 
  3. It behaves somewhat like free ESXi which runs as standalone host and which cannot be added to vCenter and without any advanced features. But Free ESXi has better configuration maximums in terms of CPU and Memory assignment to VMs.