VMware customers outraged by the vSphere upgrade path – UPDATED

Update: The article below has been temporary removed after that some VMware distributors and the company itself have indicated how some statements are far from reality.
We removed the article to have time to further investigate and correct our mistakes, if any, without spreading false information.

We can confirm now that it’s not true that a VI 3 Standard license plus a-la-carte vMotion and Storage vMotion can’t be moved to a vSphere 4 Standard license while retaining those features.
VMware clarifies this with a footnote at this URL:

Customers with current Support & Subscription contracts who purchased VMware VMotion as an add-on to VMware Infrastructure 3 Foundation or VMware Infrastructure 3 Standard also received VMware Storage VMotion. These customers retain both VMware VMotion and VMware Storage VMotion when they receive VMware vSphere Standard.

But it’s also true that a number of customers were told by VMware sales representatives that their only upgrade choice was to move on the vSphere Enteprise Plus, as reported in the original article below.
We have full details about these customers, that asked to stay anonymous, and yes, they are outraged.

We sincerely apologize for not better checking with VMware before publishing this story.


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Never like now VMware has hit a low level of popularity because of its pricing strategy.
The virtualization leader grew steadily in the enterprise market to the point that its products are now adopted in 100% of Fortune 100 and 95% of Fortune 500, but it has been considered out of range by most SMBs so far.
The new licensing upgrade scheme introduced with vSphere 4.0 is further compromising the already delicate relationship.

There are main two problems with that.

The first, pointed out in April, is that VMware has introduced a completely new top license called Enterprise Plus, which is not available as a free upgrade for the owners of the VI3 Enterprise license, and which is mandatory for those servers featuring more than 6 cores per socket.
This means that as soon as 8-cores CPUs become the standard, any enterprise buying new machines will be obliged to purchase an Enterprise Plus license and spend $600 more per socket.

The second problem is that VMware didn’t provide an upgrade paths for some key feature like vMotion and Storage vMotion when they are licensed a-la-carte.
Those customers that currently have a VI 3 Standard license and those additional capabilities, can’t keep them when migrating to the new vSphere 4 Standard license.
The “nearest” licensing level that includes vMotion and Storage vMotion is the new Enterprise, but VMware is not allowing its VI 3 Standard customers to move on that one.
The only allowed upgrade path in this scenario is from VI 3 Standard to vSphere 4 Enterprise Plus, which implies paying a huge, unplanned premium.

This last issue is critical because it touches those medium businesses that trust VMware and just want their vMotion.
It’s not that they don’t have alternatives now that Citrix and (very soon) Microsoft offer vMotion-like capabilities for free as part of their free hypervisors.
No matter how many features VMware is packing in vSphere or how mature is perceived its platform: the current company behavior is pushing the customers right in the arms of the competitors. And looking at some outraged feedbacks received by virtualization.info lately, those customers may be happy to go.