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VMware Can Cost You, so Learn to Catch the “Gotchas!”

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VMware Can Cost You, so Learn to Catch the “Gotchas!”

With Dell's acquisition of VMware, a few changes have been made to licensing, including naming laptops as mobile devices. See what to keep an eye on.

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Following Dell’s acquisition of VMware, EMC has led a shift in how it licences and sells software. So, what should you look out for?

VMWare stands as one of the largest providers of cloud and virtualization software products and services in the world. Significant recent changes, including Dell’s acquisition of VMWare’s parent company, EMC, have led to a shift in the way VMware licenses and sells its software. Understanding these changes and VMware’s overall licensing approach is critical to meeting Software Asset Management (SAM) goals of effective compliance and license optimization.

While smaller in in terms of revenue and customers than SAM-managed big hitters such as Oracle, Microsoft, SAP and IBM, VMware is still an important vendor to manage as its software is expensive and its licensing models can be confusing.

Within VMware’s large portfolio of products, the main families are vSphere, vCenter, vRealize, ESX and the desktop product range, Fusion. The first step to understanding VMWare licensing is to examine these license metric definitions and how they map to each product line.

Audit Threats and Gotchas

Historically, VMware was not active in auditing as its technology controlled the number of licenses one could use through serial numbers and license keys. This is no longer the case as key VMware products now allow users to install software on another server or device, or even change the hardware specification without considering licensing implications.

Gotcha #1: Sometimes

For per-processor licenses, ensure you purchase the right amount of license packs. Importantly, know that one license equals two processors. Many end user organizations think they need four licenses to cover four processors when, in fact, they only need two. This results in over-licensing and overspending on VMware products; something no organization can afford to do.

If an organization identifies that it wishes to improve the computing power of 10 of its servers. VMware products such as vSphere or vRealize Business for Cloud are installed on the servers and licensed correctly. The company decides to add another six processors to each server. Using the one license for two processors model, we know it needs an additional 30 licenses (60/2 = 30). Assuming a VShere Standard license cost of $1,825, a company that ignores the two to one rule will overspend by $54,750 (30 X $1,825).

Without proactive Software Asset Management in place, the organization risks not being aware of the licensing and financial implications until it is told by VMware during an audit or engagement.

Gotcha #2: Is a Laptop a Mobile Device?

VMware’s definition of a mobile devicefor its desktop and engineering software is quite different to that of other vendors. Vendors such Microsoft and Adobe define a mobile device as having a screen size of 10.1” or less. However, VMware defines a mobile device as follows:

“‘Mobile Device’ means PC laptops, Mac laptops and mobile devices, including but not limited to mobile phones, smartphones, tablet computer and similar mobile computing devices, personal digital assistants, enterprise digital assistants, ruggedized devices, and any similar or similarly functioning mobile electronic devices, whether owned by you or by your authorised individual users.” (VMware)

This expansive definition of mobile devices, including laptops, becomes a ‘gotcha’ for customers as they work to understand what qualifies as a mobile device and therefore what multiple-device rights they are entitled to.

Gotcha #3: Change Is a Good Thing

Planning a change to your servers? This will impact on your VMware license requirements for applications that are licensed on a per-processor or virtual-machine basis. Increasing the number of cores and processors will mean a change in the license requirement and a potential change in license compliance. The appropriate license packs need to be purchased to remain compliant.

This may be a good time to streamline your licenses. If you have an odd number of processors and want to add another processor to improve performance, you may already have a spare license thanks to the one-license-equals-two-processors metric.

Speak to your IT stakeholders to understand future changes to the IT Infrastructure – in particular a change in the hardware configuration of existing servers, or even new servers that will be created. Once you’ve painted a picture of what your current and future requirements are, you are in a much better position to negotiate a favorable contract with VMware.

SAM Can Help

The good news is that a Software Asset Management programme can identify and manage VMware licenses to optimize your investment – ensuring that businesses are aware of the changes and you aren’t caught out!

Discover new technologies simplifying running containers and data services in production with this free eBook by O'Reilly. Courtesy of Mesosphere.

Topics:
vmware ,cloud ,licensing ,software asset management

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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