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Some days ago, VMware has updated its per-socket pricing model effective from April 2, 2020.

Instead of require only one license per socket (so per physical CPU), in the new model, one license will cover up to 32 cores… with more cores you need more licenses (one each 32 cores).

Is a huge change, but was also expected and honestly is quite better that the one in Windows Server 2016 (and 2019) where the number of cores are just 16 (covered by a couple of licenses).

But of course, seems a core tax, and partially it is.

Quite better than the vRAM Entitlements proposed in the first version of vSphere 5.0 that was too complex also for design.

And considering actual CPU families, this change will probaly have no major impact on the most majority of VMware customers since they use Intel and AMD-based servers that are at or below the 32-core threshold.

That make sense for existing solution, but who is investing in new servers, may look at, for example, at new AMD solutions… and there can be more than 32 cores.

In this case VMWare is providing a grace period after the licensing metric change goes into effect on April 2, 2020. Any customer who purchases VMware software licenses, for deployment on a physical server with more than 32-cores per CPU, prior to April 30, 2020 will be eligible for additional free per-CPU licenses to cover the CPUs on that server.

That’s good to save your short-time investments. For the future will be little more challenging.

This image (from VMware web site) give some examples:


Note that in vSphere 4.x there was already a core limit with different numbers for each edition.

But note that the announce does not only refer to VMware vSphere, but potentially to ALL VMware products with a license based on socket.

For example, VMware Enterprise PKS and VMware NSX Data Center subscription are of some of the products that use CPU cores as the licensing metric.

Here is a partial list of products impacted by the new licensing policy:

  • VMware Cloud Foundation
  • VMware Enterprise PKS
  • VMware EVO:RAIL General Purpose Suite
  • VMware HCI Kit
  • VMware HCX
  • VMware Integrated OpenStack
  • VMware NSX Data Center
  • VMware SDDC Manager
  • VMware Site Recovery Manager
  • VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager
  • VMware vCloud Director
  • VMware vCloud NFV Bundle
  • VMware vCloud NFV OpenStack Bundle
  • VMware vCloud Suite
  • VMware vRealize Automation
  • VMware vRealize Code Stream
  • VMware vRealize Network Insight
  • VMware vRealize Suite
  • VMware vRealize Log Insight
  • VMware vSAN
  • VMware vSphere
  • VMware vRealize Operations Manager
  • vRealize Business
  • vRealize Hyperic

Will be also interesting see if other vendor on VMware ecosystem, will soon adapt their license to a “core-based” license.