Tuesday, February 4th 2020

VMWare Updates Licensing Model, Setting 32-Core Limit per License

VMWare, one of the most popular virtualization solutions commercially available for businesses and the industry in general, has announced changes to its licensing model. From now on, licensees will have to acquire a license per 32 CPU cores, instead of the former "per socket" model. This effectively means that users who had made a migration to AMD's 64-core EPYC CPUs, for instance, and who saved on both price-per core and VMWare licensing fees compared to Intel customers (who would need two sockets to achieve the same core-count, and thus, two licenses) are now being charged for two licenses for a 64-core, AMD-populated socket. This was a selling point for AMD - the company stated that their high-end EPYC processors could act as a dual-socket setup with a single processor, thanks to EPYC's I/O capabilities and core counts. VMWare claims this change is in line with industry standard pricing models.

Of course this decision from VMWare hits AMD the hardest, and it comes at a time where there are already 48 and 64 core CPUs available in the market. Should this licensing change be done, perhaps it should be in line with the current state of the industry, and not following in a quasi-random core-count (it definitely isn't random, though, and I'll leave it at that). From VMware's perspective, AMD's humongous CPU core counts does affect their bottom line. The official release claiming customers license software based on CPU counts may be valid, and they do allow for free licenses for servers past 32 cores until April 30, 2020. Of course, VMWare is also preparing itself for future industry changes - Intel will obviously increase its core counts in response to AMD's EPYC attack on the expected core counts of professional applications.
Source: VMware
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83 Comments on VMWare Updates Licensing Model, Setting 32-Core Limit per License

#1
Mysteoa
This seems very suspicious when you look that DELL is a major shareholder and they have a really good relationship with Intel.
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#2
jsfitz54
Try using full sentences:

"VMWare considers AMD broke its licensing model with this move, and the fact that AMD"
Posted on Reply
#3
Solaris17
Dainty Moderator
Mysteoa
This seems very suspicious when you look that DELL is a major shareholder and they have a really good relationship with Intel.
I was wondering what kind of conspiracy VMware would shoulder. It was amusing to see all the Microsoft ones considering they did it before AMD came out with massive threads.

you should loom at oracles licensing costs.

lest we forget AMDs usage in the DC space is virtually non existent
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#4
hellrazor
All the more reason to use KVM+QEMU.
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#5
jpvalverde85
And that's how AMD sent a big paycheck as a donation to proxmox, right?
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#6
aiandenk
What kind of people is still using VMWare? There is some new version where you don't need Window like Proxmox, Xenserver?
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#7
notb
aiandenk
What kind of people is still using VMWare?
The kind of people who do this professionally, not running an extravagant home NAS.
Last time I checked: ~75% market share.
Mysteoa
This seems very suspicious when you look that DELL is a major shareholder and they have a really good relationship with Intel.
Suspicious? Because VMware wants to remain profitable? Get a grip. World doesn't revolve around cheering or attacking AMD.

Core density in sockets went up lately. VMware uses a per-socket licensing. If in 2020 we're getting twice as many cores per socket as we did few years ago, they have to react somehow.
They could either do this or drastically raise the fee itself. This was a much easier approach, but more importantly: much better for their customers.
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#8
jgraham11
There are so many virtualizations software out there, this shouldn't be news other than to point out VMware is silly for increasing its price while being in a market where no other vendor does this. Last I checked, the open source options are still free...
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#9
R-T-B
aiandenk
What kind of people is still using VMWare? There is some new version where you don't need Window like Proxmox, Xenserver?
It's the only one with decent transfer of 3d acceleration to host if you need that, for one.
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#10
thebeephaha
jsfitz54
Try using full sentences:

"VMWare considers AMD broke its licensing model with this move, and the fact that AMD"
I was just about to comment on that...

THE FACT THAT AMD WHAT?! o_O
Posted on Reply
#11
phill
I saw this yesterday and I am sadden by the fact that VMWare have got on the per core license fee thing that everyone else has done.. What a world we live in... I'm sure people will find other programs to use with AMD Threadripper CPUs which is a shame. I'd hate to see the prices, VMWare licenses are seriously not cheap....

We use VMWare at work and I had a mess about with it at home. Until it went to the crappy web based model, it was great. Now it's kinda meh but it's a very powerful meh tool now I guess....
Posted on Reply
#12
notb
jgraham11
There are so many virtualizations software out there, this shouldn't be news other than to point out VMware is silly for increasing its price while being in a market where no other vendor does this. Last I checked, the open source options are still free...
Open source software is free, but is not without costs. It's often more expensive in the end. That's why VMware is a giant.

And no: VMware did not increase their license price. They slightly changed the pricing model.
If you have a VMware set up on a <=32 core CPU, nothing changes.
In fact, if you already use a >32 core CPU, they'll give you a free license for the surplus cores. So this will only affect new systems.
Posted on Reply
#13
moproblems99
notb
The kind of people who do this professionally, not running an extravagant home NAS.
Last time I checked: ~75% market share.

Suspicious? Because VMware wants to remain profitable? Get a grip. World doesn't revolve around cheering or attacking AMD.

Core density in sockets went up lately. VMware uses a per-socket licensing. If in 2020 we're getting twice as many cores per socket as we did few years ago, they have to react somehow.
They could either do this or drastically raise the fee itself. This was a much easier approach, but more importantly: much better for their customers.
How exactly do they lose money if someone buys a 64 core socket or a 32 core socket if a user ends up with only one socket regardless?

Although, with some further thought, it was probably less complicated to just do this and sacrifice the small companies than figure out some other method to differentiate between companies with one socket and those with 100.
Posted on Reply
#14
londiste
moproblems99
How exactly do they lose money if someone buys a 64 core socket or a 32 core socket if a user ends up with only one socket regardless?
Because 64 cores are much more performant for VM purposes than 32 cores? Twice, to be exact.
VMWare is not changing the basic per socket licensing model as long as that single socket has a CPU with 32 cores or less in it.
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#15
Vya Domus
Mysteoa
This seems very suspicious when you look that DELL is a major shareholder and they have a really good relationship with Intel.
Sure but the thing is Intel will move on without doubt to more than 32 cores per socket as well, that's a certainty. Technically they already have a 56 core CPU, though from what I heard it's virtually nonexistent.

Is it a step back ? Sure, but it's for everyone, what I actually find suspicions is how Intel did not step in and try to prevent this. VMWare is being slightly obtuse here, they're thinking that this is a move to ensure more profits in the future but at the same time this may very well be a death sentence because this literally works in the detriment of everyone.
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#16
notb
moproblems99
How exactly do they lose money if someone buys a 64 core socket or a 32 core socket if a user ends up with only one socket regardless?
Because he will buy half as many CPUs as he used to. So VMware gets half the money. Simple enough?

Seriously, if you think about this for 30 seconds, you should notice this is the most client-friendly path they could take.
Posted on Reply
#17
moproblems99
londiste
Because 64 cores are much more performant for VM purposes than 32 cores? Twice, to be exact.
VMWare is not changing the basic per socket licensing model as long as that single socket has a CPU with 32 cores or less in it.
Ok, but they charge per socket right? If the customer only has 1 socket then VMware doesn't lose any money by the customer having only 1 socket whether there are 4 or 100 cores.
Posted on Reply
#18
Solaris17
Dainty Moderator
moproblems99
Ok, but they charge per socket right? If the customer only has 1 socket then VMware doesn't lose any money by the customer having only 1 socket whether there are 4 or 100 cores.
They don't. They charge per 32 core sets. Its in the 3rd sentence of the article.
Posted on Reply
#19
windwhirl
moproblems99
Ok, but they charge per socket right? If the customer only has 1 socket then VMware doesn't lose any money by the customer having only 1 socket whether there are 4 or 100 cores.
Solaris17
They don't. They charge per 32 core sets. Its in the 3rd sentence of the article.
Yes they do. They charge per 32 core sets and per socket, as shown in the picture below. Nevermind, I misunderstood. The picture is still valid, though.
Posted on Reply
#20
moproblems99
Solaris17
They don't. They charge per 32 core sets. Its in the 3rd sentence of the article.
Previously, it was per socket.
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#21
Basard
thebeephaha
I was just about to comment on that...

THE FACT THAT AMD WHAT?! o_O
I'll be checking back hourly.... I'm not going to sleep until I find out AMD's plans!!
Posted on Reply
#22
notb
moproblems99
Previously, it was per socket.
Previously, when these fees were calculated, we didn't have CPUs offering >32 cores.
windwhirl
Nevermind, I misunderstood. The picture is still valid, though.
The picture comes from VMware, so it would be really weird if wasn't valid.
Vya Domus
Is it a step back ? Sure, but it's for everyone, what I actually find suspicions is how Intel did not step in and try to prevent this.
Why would Intel want to prevent this?
VMWare is being slightly obtuse here, they're thinking that this is a move to ensure more profits in the future
There is almost no way this could give them more profits. They do this to keep what they are making now.
but at the same time this may very well be a death sentence because this literally works in the detriment of everyone.
Wow death sentence and everything.
Do you understand how the license fee is calculated? Seriously, give it a thought.
Posted on Reply
#23
rippie
"VMWare considers AMD broke its licensing model "
nothing in the original VMware statement mentions this, seems to me like an invented quote from oc3d and blindly copy'pasted.
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#24
_Flare
So eventually one needs 4 Licenses per one EPYC by end of 2021, how bongers.
Posted on Reply
#25
moproblems99
notb
Previously, when these fees were calculated, we didn't have CPUs offering >32 cores.
Per core licensing for software that runs on clients hardware is bullshit. It is the microtransactions of the business world. Whether I have 4 cores or 400 cores should be of no consequence to VMware. I am buying your product to run on my hardware. VMware has no extra load, or anything else, incurred by my usage. If I buy another separate machine, sure, by all means, another license is necessary.

notb
There is almost no way this could give them more profits. They do this to keep what they are making now.
How are they losing money now? The same number of sockets are still the same regardless of how many cores are in a socket. This is for making money in the future.

Additionally, now anyone who has a > 32 thread CPU now has to buy another license. This will definitely grab more money now and in the future. If I was a prospective customer (I'm not because I got mine free), I would be searching for a different alternative.
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