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.