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The VAR Guy

June 14, 2011

3 Min Read
VMware vFabric 5 Launches with Easier Licensing, Scalability

More and more of the world is becoming virtualized, and VMware believes it knows the needs of that world better than anybody. That’s why the company has launched vFabric 5, designed to make virtual life easier for channel partners and IT admins alike. Gone are antiquated licensing issues, and here to stay are more scalable and deployable environments for virtualized applications. The VAR Guy spoke to VMware’s David McJannet, director of product marketing about the news and got a little color on what this means for the channel …

vFabric 5 is similar to vFabric 4 in that it provides the same application services you’ve come to know and love for your cloud apps and virtualized infrastructures. But vFabric 5 introduces a “virtual machine-based packaging and licensing model,” which allows for a more flexible, elastic license structure. This goes against the traditional model of customers paying for and provisioning their VM needs on a per-CPU basis, which often resulted in paying for licenses that were not always used, or conversely, adding new licenses to meet demand. In the cloud and IT/IaaS world, pay as you grow/need/use is becoming an increasingly effective model for the budget-conscious, and VMware is getting on board with that.

“For the VAR community [this provides] a simple way to deploy and sell to a customer. It opens up a whole host of opportunities for the partner ecosystem to engage their customers by basically bringing virtualization into their infrastructure,” said McJannet. The new model removes the complexity of licensing that can get in the way of a sale, he added.

So how does it work? Essentially vFabric 5 works like a pooled infrastructure living in the customer’s own private cloud, allowing for VM bursting. Apps or messaging servers, it doesn’t matter — a customer can provision and divvy up its VMs as it sees fit. If a customer foresees a need for about 80 VMs, a customer can pay for 100 VM licenses, but only end up using 80. But when a burst is needed, and the VMs jump to 120, it’s no big deal. As long as the average VM usage is 100 licenses, customers don’t have to spend another dime. A customer can monitor its VM usage through vCenter, and VMware can keep a log of month per month usage, with an average virtual machine usage being determined after a 12-month period.

If you’re still a dyed-in-the-wool CPU-based VM provisioner, no worries. McJannet said VARs and customers can still use, sell and implement the older model. But vFabric 5 has been uniquely designed “… for customers to get out of license-tracking and get into deploying and building applications.”

But there was one potential snag that caught The VAR Guy’s attention: VMware vFabric 5’s price tag when it arrives in summer 2011 will start at $1,200 per VM for vFabric standard, and $1,800 per VM for vFabric advanced. That sounds like a lot to pay when we’re talking about big implementations — a 50 VM solution would cost close to $100,000, for example. So who is VMware aiming vFabric 5 at?

“Our target market is anyone building custom applications. Mainly larger organizations, but pretty much all businesses have custom applications deployed internally,” said McJannet.

The VAR Guy finds VMware’s strategy interesting. VMware is clearly charging a premium for its solution, and believes that not only will customers find its its elastic model appealing, they also won’t mind the price tag. That’s a bold move, especially when costs are comparatively cheaper with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and Microsoft’s Hyper-V. The VAR Guy will be keeping close tabs on how the virtualization landscape plays out, and whether other vendors follow suit with a similar elastic model.

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