VMware vSphere 5 Editions Overview

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This article will describe all of the important differences between the various VMware vSphere 5 Editions. VMware vSphere 5 is the first version that provides ESXi as a hypervisor exclusively. ESX will no longer be supported by Version 5.

This article will show the differences between these licenses. The Thomas Krenn VMware vSphere 6 License Configuration Utility web page contains information about the pricing differences (Downgrade to vSphere 5 ist possible)[1].

VMware vSphere 5 Licensing

The vRAM model for licensing is being introduced along with VMware vSphere 5 Licensing. Following this licensing model, the amount of virtual RAM that can be assigned to the virtual machines in one environment will be licensed. The license model does not restrict the amount of vRAM, however technical boundaries will be set. Restriction according to the number of processor cores, as licensing was done under vSphere 4, will be eliminated by this new licensing model.

Update september 2012: starting with version 5.1 VMware repealed the vRAM model. Nor the amount of RAM, or the number of CPU cores matter. Licensing is now done simply by the number of CPU sockets.

VMware vSphere 5 Versions for Smaller Environments

The VMware vSphere 5 Essentials and Essentials Plus packages should be given special attention, because VMware views them as one unit. They can no longer be administered using one large vCenter (vCenter Server Foundation or Standard), but rather only by using vCenter Server for Essentials.

The Essentials packages can be upgraded with the various Acceleration Kits. Contact us regarding specific questions.

Information/Feature VMware Hypervisor (formerly ESXi Single Server) Essentials
Essentials Plus
vRAM Entitlement[2] siehe
phys. RAM Limit
Unlimited Unlimited
phys. RAM Limit 32GB[3] na na
vCenter Server Compatibility None vCenter Server for Essentials (up to three physical servers) vCenter Server for Essentials (up to three physical servers)
Licenses for one physical server for three physical servers (max. two processors per server) for three physical servers (max. two processors per server)
Unlimited Number of Virtual Machines? No known limit No known limit No known limit
Eight-way vSMP Yes Yes Yes
vCenter Server for Essentials Agent Yes Yes
Update Manager Yes Yes
vStorage APIs for Data Protection (previously VCB) Yes Yes
High Availability Feature Yes
Data Recovery Yes
VMotion Yes
vSphere Storage Appliance Storage Appliance for Essential Plus
Cores per CPU No more restrictions No more restrictions No more restrictions
Support and Subscription By special (online purchase) One-year subscription including (support that must be purchased on a case-by-case basis contained in the price (see Information about this from VMware). Basic or Production Level subscriptions will not be available. The subscription may be purchased for several years. Requires special purchase
Upgrade Option? Yes Yes Yes
Price see the Thomas Krenn VMware vSphere 6 License Configuration Utility (Downgrade to vSphere 5 possible).[1]
Information/Feature VMware Hypervisor (formerly ESXi Single Server) Essentials
Essentials Plus

Additional Information:

VMware vSphere 5 Versions for Medium-sized Companies and Corporations

Product VMware Hypervisor (formerly ESXi Single Server)
Standard
Enterprise
Enterprise Plus
Cores per CPU No more restrictions No more restrictions No more restrictions No more restrictions
CPU Entitlement Per CPU Per CPU Per CPU
vRAM Entitlement Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
vCPU Entitlement 8-Way 32-Way (V5.0: 8-Wege) 64-Way (V5.0: 32-Wege)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for VMware yes yes yes
vCenter Server Compatibility None vCenter Server Foundation & Standard vCenter Server Foundation & Standard vCenter Server Foundation & Standard
Thin Provisioning Yes Yes Yes Yes
Update Manager (*) Yes Yes Yes
Data Recovery (*) Yes Yes Yes
High Availability (*) Yes Yes Yes
vMotion (*) Yes Yes Yes
Storage APIs for Data Protection Yes Yes Yes
Hot Add yes yes yes
Replication yes yes yes
vShield Zones (*) yes yes yes
Fault Tolerance yes yes yes
Storage vMotion (*) yes yes yes
Virtual Serial Port Concentrator Yes Yes
Storage APIs for Memory Integration Yes Yes
Storage APIs for Multi-pathing Yes Yes
Distributed Resource Scheduler + DPM Yes Yes
Storage I/O Control Yes
Network I/O Control Yes
Distributed Switch Yes
Host Profiles Yes
Auto-deploy Yes
Storage DRS Yes
Profile-based Storage Connection Yes
Price see the Thomas Krenn VMware vSphere 6 License Configuration Utility (Downgrade to vSphere 5 possible).[1]
Product ESXi Hypervisor
(only with ESXi)
Standard
(only with ESXi)
Enterprise
(only with ESXi)
Enterprise Plus
(only with ESXi)

VMware vSphere Acceleration Kits with Operations Manager (vSOM)

The vSOM standard licenses from the vSOM Standard Acc. Kits can be combined with existing standard licenses without vSOM and managed by a vCenter. If you want, you can request vSOM be unlocked through an upgrade.

Info/Funktion Acc. Kit Standard mit vSOM
Acc.Kit Enterprise mit vSOM
Acc. Kit Enterprise Plus mit vSOM
vRAM unlimited unlimited unlimited
List of Features vSphere Standard + vCenter Operations Management Suite
for 6 Processors
vSphere Enterprise + vCenter Operations Management Suite
for 6 Processors
vSphere Enterprise Plus + vCenter Operations Management Suite
for 6 Processors
vCenter Server Version vCenter Standard vCenter Standard vCenter Standard
Unlimited Number of Virtual Machines? Yes Yes Yes
Price see the Thomas Krenn VMware vSphere 6 License Configuration Utility (Downgrade to vSphere 5 possible).[1]
Information/Feature Acc. Kit Standard
Acc. Kit Enterprise
Acc. Kit Enterprise Plus

Table of References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Downgrading from vSphere 6.0 to a previous version of vSphere 5.x (www.vmware.com)
  2. this limit is GB of physical RAM per physical server, Changes to the vRAM licensing model introduced on July 12, 2011 (blogs.vmware.com, 03.08.2011)
  3. http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vsphere_pricing.pdf

Additional Information


Author: Florian Hettenbach

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