Archives For vSphere

This is something one of my team pointed out to me earlier that I hadn’t previously been aware off, so thumbs up to Josh Herbert for putting this together. 

You have the ability to Schedule Tasks in the vSphere Web Client by holding down CTRL when right clicking on objects, now I had been aware of the task scheduling functionality in the C client and had assumed it was in the web client, but this implementation of it actually makes it very easy to use.

When you hold down CTRL you get the option to schedule many items as follows


This then gives you some options to schedule a task to be completed when you choose and it can also email you once the action has been completed!:


 You can also use this on a host to deploy VMs on a schedule


Im sure many of you have read the manual and are aware of this but it was a first for me. 🙂




This week VMware have held their annual US event in San Francisco and as usual there have been a mass of updates. In this post I will focus upon vSphere 5.5 and what’s new but we have also seen a number of other releases and announcements in key areas.

To read the full list of what’s new check out the What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.5 Platform document from VMware Here >>

The updates to vSphere are separated into 5 key areas, ESXi Hypervisor Enhancements, Virtual Machine Enhancements, vCenter Server Enhancements, vStorage Enhancements and vSphere Networking Enhancements. Having a quick look through the list their are some updates that I know a number of my customers and colleagues will be very happy about, these include support for VMDK’s up to 62TB in Size, enhancements to single sign on as well as others.

vSphere ESXi Hypervisor Enhancements

There are three key enhancements for the Hypervisor these include the ability to hot add or hot remove PCIe based SSD devices such as Fusion-IO Cards, traditionally this may have been seen as a disadvantage of this type of SSD over SAS or SATA based hard disks. The ESXi Hypervisor is now able to make use of the CPU’s Reliable Memory Technology to ensure the hypervisor is running keys processes such as the hostd and watchdog process in the most reliable areas of memory to minimise issues from memory errors. Finally the balanced policy for power management is now aware of the deep processor power stage known as C-State, previously it has only been aware of the performance stage (P-State) with this increased awareness it will introduce additional power saving benefits and may also increase performance due to the nature of the turbo mode frequencies in the intel chipsets.

Virtual Machine Enhancements

Normally every year we hear how the monster VM can be bigger and better than last years monster VM, this year is no difference but with some introductions that have been long awaited by some.

vSphere 5.5 brings another new virtual machine hardware version, version 10. Included in this version is a new virtual SATA controller, allowing up to 30 devices per controller, so with a maximum of 4 controllers per VM we can now support double the amount of disk devices from 60 to 120 per VM. As to what the use case would be for this number of disks i’m not sure, but if you have one let me know!

In vSphere 5.1 we saw the introduction of support for hardware based GPUs but it was limited to NVIDIA based GPUs, with 5.5 we now are able to use both AMD and Intel based GPUs. There are three supported rendering modes, automatic, hardware and software and vMotion can still be leveraged even across hosts with GPU’s from different vendors. Check out the document linked to above for more detail on this.  For the first time we are also seeing GPU acceleration for Linux in this release as well.

vCenter Enhancements


One of the biggest improvements that I know the engineers I work with are going to love is the face that SSO has been re-built from the ground up, this was an area of much frustration since the release of 5.1. With 5.5 there is an improved multi-master architecture, built in replication and site awareness. On top of this there is now no database required and a much simplified one deployment model for all scenarios.

When installing you will now be presented with 3 options 

  • vCenter Single Sign On for first or only vCenter server
  • vCenter Single Sign On for an additional vCenter server in the same site
  • vCenter Single Sign On for an additional vCenter Server in a new site (Multisite)

VMware are now also publishing simplified recommendations for vCenter deployment options as follows.

Single vCenter Design Recommendation


Multiple Remote vCenter Server Design Recommendation


Mac Support

Another enhancement that I know will be popular with the community is the fact that the web client is now fully supported by Mac OSX meaning you now have remote console support as well as the ability to mount CD-ROMs etc. The usability of the web client has also been improved with support for drag and drop, additional filter support and a new recent items navigation view.

vCenter Appliance

The embedded database within the appliance that has previously been focused at small environments has been re-engineered to allow up to 500 hosts and 5000 virtual machines to be managed. Meaning this limitation to adoption is no longer a barrier, although as I understand it you will still need a Windows VM for the Update manager component which for a smaller environment does limit the desire to implement the Linux based appliance.

vSphere App HA

Whilst vSphere Application HA has been around for some time it has always relied on third party technologies to actually monitor your applications, with 5.5 that has changed. With the new vSphere App HA feature it is possible to monitor and detect an issue with an application service, upon detection the service will be restarted, if that fails to resolve the issue the VM will be rebooted, this is also fully integrated with vSphere alerting to ensure you are aware of any resolved or unresolved issues. To deploy application HA you are required to deploy the AppHA and Hyperic Appliances, the AppHA appliance stores and manages the vSphere App HA policies and the Hyperic appliance monitors and enforces the policies. Once the appliances have been deployed a Hyperic agent is installed in the virtual machines whose applications will be protected by AppHA.


The supported services listed in the beta documentation we as follows.


It is good to see IIS, MSSQL and Apache on this list and it would be good to see MySQL supported in the future. I would also query the possibility of adding Domino and Exchange? Whilst these applications as does SQL have many ways of protecting it itself the ease and simplicity of this solution would particularly be useful for protecting your email services in a smaller environment.


Probably the most asked for feature for me especially since Hyper-V started supporting larger disks was the ability to create virtual machine hard disks bigger than 2TBs in size, with vSphere 5.5 we now have a vDisk and Virtual Mode RDM limit of 62TB. Whilst I believe there is usually better ways of storing large data for organisational and protection purposes there are still a lot of people that need disks a lot bigger than 2TBs.

A number of improvements to enable the use of MSCS in virtualised environments, again this has been a sticking point with some of my customer in the past with 5.5 the following configurations are now supported.

Microsoft Windows 2012

Round-Robin path policy for shared sotrage

iSCSI Protocol for Shared storage

FCoE for Shared Storage

There is now true end to end support for 16GB FC.

vSphere Replication has been enhanced to allow greater interoperability with storage vMotion and Storage DRS as well as the introduction of vSphere Replication Muti-Point-in-Time snapshot retention meaning we can keen historical recover points at the DR site to allow multiple different recovery options. My biggest gripe with vSphere Replication is the fact it doesn’t allow you to test failover like SRM, whilst I can understand why VMware don’t want to introduce this it still makes this feature unusable for me. Your DR plan is only as good as your last test!

vSphere Flash Read Cache

With vSphere 5.5 a new feature called Flash Read Cache has been introduced allowing performance enhancements for read intensive applications by pooling of multiple locally attached flash based devices into a single vSphere Flash Resource which is consumed in the same way as CPU and Memory are today.


I will be blogging about this feature in more detail as soon as I can.


There are a number of updates to networking for the distributed vSwith, check out the document above for more detail.


Whilst many people may have been expecting to see vSphere 6 this year I don’t think the features in vSphere 5.5 will disappoint. I have not seen any updated licensing documents yet to fully understand where the new features will be sitting but we can expect many like the flash read cache to appear top end I would have thought. I will be digging a little deeper into this features as soon as I can as well as the new vSAN beta!

VMware have now released a patch for vSphere 5.1 that makes it compatible with View 5.1. I have been running the two in my lab for a little while whilst avoiding to use the storage accelerator where the problem previously existed but with this update we will now finally be able to start offering our customers upgrades to vSphere 5.1.

Note you will either need to download and install a patch to your vSphere hosts or download the new vSphere ISO

Full details are here

This week VMware have been holding its annual conference in San Francisco, as usual VMware have used this opportunity to release a number of new updates and changes to it suite of products. 

The day one keynote started with the hand over of the reins from current CEO Paul Maritz to incoming CEO Pat Gelsinger


One of Pat Gelsinger’s first announcements as a CEO was the removal of the VRAM allocation from the licensing model, this was met by applause and cheers from the audience. Realisticly we hadn’t seen many issues with the VRAM policy but we had certainly seen customers need to purchase a higher licensing model than was required for the functionality they needed, particularly within the Essential bundles. This change in policy may also be a hard pill to swallow for those that upgraded their licensing model to meet the VRAM policy. But largely I think this will allow VMware to continue to be competitive in the industry against the likes of Microsoft. 


vCloud Suites

The first product announcement on the day one keynote was the vCloud Suite. 

The vCloud suites are bundles of VMware products that gives you the full stack of software required to create your cloud  

The suites are available in three flavours, Standard, Advanced and Enterprise Plus detailed as below. 


All the suites include vSphere Enterprise Plus, Cloud Director and Cloud Connector, and “Standard” vCloud Networking and Security, the advanced suite then adds the advanced vCloud Networking and Secuirty features as well as vCenter Operations Advanced. 

The differences between vCloud Networking Advanced and Standard is as follows >>


The final Enterprise Plus edition adds vCenter Charge Back, Config Manager, Infrastructure Navigator and vFabric Application Director. The introduction of these suites certainly makes the purchase of products easier and more defined. 

vSphere 5.1

Pat Gelsinger handed over to CTO Steve Herrod to talk about the new technical product updates, one of the first announcements was the increase in girth for the monster VM



Realistically I image these maximums are way over and above most customers workloads but it certainly adds to the fact that all workloads should now be able to be virtualised, the most impressive one of these figures is probably the ability for an individual VM to be able to cope with in excess of 1million IOPS.

vSphere 5.1 includes a number of new features these included

  • Enhanced vMotion
    • Enhanced vMotion adds the ability to be able to vMotion a VM without shared storage, basically the ability to be able to storage vMotion and vMotion at the same time. This certainly adds to the functionality of vMotion and introduces new possibilities for those without shared storage or with multiple SANs ETC.
  • New Web Based Client
    • The web based client has been completely redesigned and is now the favoured method to administer your vCenter, the standard Windows client is still available at the moment but you will find that most of the new 5.1 functionality on exists in the new web client. I have been lucky enough to be part of the vSphere 5.1 beta and whilst getting used to the new client took awhile I could fine my way around it a lot easier and in certain situations found it a lot faster than the Windows client
  • vSphere Data Protection
    • Gone is the previously bundled vSphere Data Recovery product and we now have a new bundled backup product based on EMC Avamar technology. Im looking forward to playing with this product to see how it compares to the likes of Veeam and indeed vSphere Data Recovery. 
  • vSphere Replication
    • Previously only bundled with SRM 5.0, vSphere Replication is now available with VMware Essentials Plus and above, allowing you to replicate your VM’s to another ESXi host up to every 15minutes, this certainly adds a new opportunities particularly to SMBs and Branch offices that would previously only be available through SAN based replication, SRM or another third party product. This is something that Microsoft are introducing in Hyper-V 3.0 so you can see why VMware have had to include this. 
  • Zero Downtime Upgrade for VMware Tools
    • Subsequent VMware tools updates after 5.1 will no longer require a VM reboot, so hopefully gone will be the excuse that the VM Tools are out of date because you havent been able to reboot a VM.


These are just a taster of some of the updates and I will do some more dedicated hands on blog posts with these features soon, for a more extensive list check out the whats new white paper here >> 

vSphere 5.1 Licensing Updates

Other than the removal of the vRAM restriction there is also a number of other licensing changes, one of which is a new vSphere Standard with Operations Manager bundle, in my mind this is aimed to compete with Microsoft HyperV 3.0 with System Center directly. There are also a number of changes such as storage vMotion and FT are now available as low as Standard where as previously they have only been available in Enterprise. vShield Endpoint is now also bundled with Essentials Plus and above which certainly makes the AntiVirus solutions that plug into Endpoint more affordable. One other thing that I noticed is that the VSA (Virtual Storage Appliance) now appears to be bundled with Essentials Plus and above, previously this was a seperate SKU only available for the Essentials Bundles. Full details on the licensing can be found here >>

vCloud Director 5.1 

There were also a number of updates to vCloud Director which has now been bought up to date with the version number of vSphere, vCloud Director goes from 1.5 to 5.1 and adds a number of new features including

  • Support for vSphere 5.1 (No Supprise There)
  • Software Defined Storage – vCloud Director is now aware of storage profiles as defined within vCenter, A primary VDC (Virtual Datacenter) is able to consume all storage tiers, the organisation administrator is then able to define a default storage tier which can then be overridden by the vApp author as needed for the requirement of the vApp.
  • Software Defined Networking
  • Usability Enhancements
  • Snapshot functionality as a cloud consumer
  • Load balancing as part of the VCNS Gateway

All the details for the vCloud Director update can be found in this white paper >>

One of my key goals for 2012 is to get up to speed with vCloud Director, I have had the opportunity to use it as an end user on a number of occasions and have completed the VMworld labs but I am going to concentrate on the architecture and administration now and will blog as I learn more. 

SRM 5.1

SRM also features an incremental update adding a number of improvements, check out the blog post here for more information >>

I was really happy to see that Essentials + would now be supported with SRM, I have a number of customers who use Essentials Plus or were forced to but a higher edition just because they wanted to be able to use SRM. 

 vSphere, vCloud Director and the vCloud Suite 5.1 will be available as of September 11th 2012

Xangati StormTracker

August 22, 2012 — Leave a comment

Today Xangati have announced StormTracker the latest feature coming to their monitoring product, I was lucky enough to get a pre-release demo with Nathanael Iversen VP for Product Management at Xangati.

For those of you who aren’t aware of Xangati their monitoring product offers a realtime insight into your virtual environment by not simply just collecting the statistics from vCenter but also by being able to inspect many key network elements. It also has PVR like functionality allowing you to capture what is going on during key points during the day or when an alarm was raised, this means you can go back in time and look at exactly what was happening.

See the video below to give you an overview of their VI dashboard, it is a little old now but will give you a good flavour.

The new StormTracker adds further intelligence to their product allowing live performance storms to be detected and the route cause to be pinpointed with a simple easy to use UI, this new functionality is being added to their Management Dashboard Suite as well their free 1 host version at no extra cost to customers.


The view above shows the StormTracker view inside the product, each of the clouds shown are representing ESX hosts and their virtual machines followed by the data stores, network interfaces and finally the applications, we can see that the darker clouds are indicating some kind of performance storm is apparent at that level, severity is then marked by the darkness of the cloud. By clicking down through the storms we are quickly and easily able to get to the route cause with a clear explanation of the problem and how we should look to rectify it. This level of intelligence in the product is something I am really pleased to see, the Xanagati dashboard collects such a large amount of data that often trying to pinpoint the route cause yourself can take time, but with the new StormTracker functionality Nathaneal was able to show me that within 4 clicks we had found the storm, tracked the route cause and the StormTracker was even suggesting some remedial actions for us.



Xanagti will be demonstrating this new functionality at VMworld in San Francisco and it will be ready for public release on the 30th September, I am really looking forward to putting it to action and seeing how good it actually works.

For more information be sure to check out Xangati’s site here >>

When setting up a new Veeam demo I was presented with a problem where I was unable to mount the new Veeam NFS store, upon inspection I was unable to mount any NFS store to my host.

The error I was receiving was as follows

Error performing operation: Unable to resolve hostname ‘demo-veeam.Demo.local’

My new VM wasn’t however called demo-veeam and I got the same error when trying to mount any NFS store. Looking in datastores there were no NFS datastores showing and from the command line when using the esxcfg-nas -l option I received the same error

# esxcfg-nas -lError performing operation: Unable to resolve hostname ‘demo-veeam.Demo.local’

To resolve this I added a dummy host name entry for demo-veeam.demo.local into the \etc\hosts file

I was then able to run

# esxcfg-nas -lVeeamBackup_DEMO-VEEAM is /VeeamBackup_DEMO-VEEAM from demo-veeam.Demo.local unmounted unavailable

I was then able to delete this old NFS mount with

# esxcfg-nas -d VeeamBackup_DEMO-VEEAM

After cleaning up my hosts file I then retried adding the NFS datastore through the GUI and it worked correctly.


With the announcement of vSphere 5 this week brings many new features, I attend to be picking of features one by one and looking at them with a bit more depth.

With vSphere 5 is a completely new vSphere vCenter web interface, previously the web interface was slow and extremely limited with what could be done with it, to be honest I don’t think I ever really used it apart from when I couldn’t get near a Windows PC to start the vSphere Client.

The new web client is written in Adobe Flex the same as the View and vCloud Director user interfaces, I believe in the long term this is the way we will see the full client heading. The new interface isn’t designed to fully replace the functionality of the Windows Client at the moment but has most functionality that you will use from an administration perspective.

The new web interface is installed as a separate component to the vCenter, also notice the shiny new installer!

vCenter Install

The vSphere Web Client (server) can be installed on a server with network connectivity to the vCenter, in my demo lab I have it installed on my vCenter but I haven’t found the best practise regarding this yet.


Once the web client server is installed you need to configure it to be able to see your vCenter, this is achieved by going to the URL below direct from the server where the Web Client is installed.

Once at the above page you need to register your vCenter with the web client server




We can now see the registered vCenter in the list


Once you have registered the vCenter you are able to login using the web client from any machine with Adobe Flash 10.1.0 installed. The web client is accessed from the following address



In the bottom left you can install the client integration plug-in, this is a Windows only plugin, this is responsible for the console view I haven’t found any other uses for it yet.  Once in you should find most day to day tasks can be completed here.

Creating a new virtual machine


Looking at performance

Editing a VM


Resource Management

Resource Management


Being a Mac user an improved web client is a very welcome addition for me, after using it for a while I feel I could happily do most daily admin with it. Moving forward if the Windows client were to reach end of life I would have to see how some of the more complex elements would port over to this web client.

There are some nice features like the arrows in the top right of the windows can be used to minimise a task into the work in progress panel while you do something else

Work in Progress

I would hope to see cross platform support for the client integration plug-in in a future release as well.

vSphere 5

July 13, 2011 — Leave a comment

It happened we can finally talk about vSphere5!


Now that I have got the licensing post out the way >> I am going to concentrate on the technology inside vSphere5 as after all thats what being a vExpert is all about, the passion for the technology! I am going to start with a general overview of vSphere 5 and then over the next few days and months will expand on the technology. I was lucky enough to be part of the vSphere beta and this gave me a great chance to get some hands on with the new release before general availability, unfortunately as I have increasingly been doing work with View 4 I have had to have vSphere 4 installed in my home lab more than vSphere 5.

During the vSphere 4 announcement it was described as “The first cloud operating system” during the vSphere 5 announcement it was described as the first comprehensive cloud infrastructure suite. The suite is made up of vCloud Director, vShield Security, vCenter Operations, vCenter SRM and vSphere 5. For the moment I will be concentrating on the vSphere 5 release.


Below are some of the key aspects of the new vSphere 5 release, by no means is it an extensive list and I will be adding to it over the coming days.

  • The first point that we were all aware of is that ESX is no longer a choice with vSphere 5 and ESXi is now the way forward.
  • vSphere Auto Deploy – Allows you to PXE boot your ESXi OS from the Auto Deploy Server meaning no need for boot disks, sharing a standard ESXi imageAuto Deply
  • Hardware Version 8, which now introduces 3D graphics support for WIndows Aero and USB 3.0 support
  • Support for Apple Xserve Servers running OS X Server 10.6 (Aren’t Xserver servers end of life now?)
  • New VMware HA Architecture – HA has been completely rewritten from the ground up and utilises a new agent called the fault domain manager, there is also a new concept of datastore heartbeating that allows vSphere to differentiate between a host that is isolated and a host that has failed. Gone is the concept of primary and secondary nodes with a limit on the amount of primary nodes, it now uses master and slaves and an election process.
  • vMotion enhancements with the introduction of a new “Metro vMotion” feature that now allows vMotions to work and be supported over networks with latency of unto 10ms. Previously vMotion was only supporting on links with latency less the 5ms.
  • ESXi Firewall that supports restriction of services based upon IP and subnet amongst other features
  • Larger virtual machine support with VM maximums increased to 1TB RAM and 32 vCPU’s
  • vSphere Web Client – The web client has been completely updated and is now installed as a separate component to vCenter, the new web client is built on Adobe flex the same as the View and vCloud Director clients, the functionality should meet all the requirements for day to day administration with the full fat vSphere client still being required for most configuration tasks. I personally can see this being the only client available in future version of vSphere.
  • VMware vCenter Appliance – There is now a linux based vCenter appliance available for those wishing to not have a Windows based vCenter, there are some limitations regarding the usage of the vCenter appliance and I will do a separate blog post on this

Some of the major changes and announcement are surround storage these are

  • Storage DRS offers smart virtual machine placement and load balancing, vSphere 5 introduces a new concept of datacenter clusters, within the Storage DRS configuration you are able to select the space and latency thresholds for the virtual machines. IO is analysed every 8 hours by default. This is a huge new feature and I will be doing a dedicated blog post on this feature in the future.


  • Profile Driven Storage – Allows you and or the array vendor to tag the storage with a capability on each datastore, these capabilities can be added to different storage profiles, for example tier1, tier2 and tier3. When creating your virtual machines you will then be able to choose which capability your virtual machine requires, this maybe based upon RAID type, SnapShot schedules and or Replication schedules. You are then able to review compliance of your virtual machines to ensure that they are compliant on a regular basis. This is a simple but brilliant new feature, this is something I spend a lot of time talking through customers with at the moment and we normally end up using Excel to formulate the profiles.
  • VMFS5 File System is now based on GPT instead of MBR and has a maximum size of 64TB, block sizes are now all set at 1MB whilst maintaing the benefits of the previous larger block sizes, upgrading from VMFS3 to VMFS5 is a non disruptive process unlike previous VMFS upgrades.
  • vStorage API’s have been enhanced with thin provisioning reclamation of unused space, monitoring of space usage for thin provisioned volumes and hardware acceleration for NAS’s amongst over features.
  • There is now a virtual storage appliance (VSA) that is aimed at SMB users, the VSA utilises the local storage in the ESXi host and creates 1 replicated NFS datastore per host. As the datastore is replicated to another host it also other failover, management is through the vSphere client to ease administration. Again I will be doing a dedicated blog post on this


Below are links to documents that will help you get up to speed on the new release

Full lists of the resources can be found here >>


VMware vSphere 5 Clustering

Bloggers, VCDX’s, VMware Gurus, Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman have just released their second book together covering Clustering in vSphere 5! Their previous book VMware vSphere 4.1 HA and DRS was a huge success and the must have for vSphere admins and consultant over the world.

The latest book covers

HA node types
HA isolation detection and response
HA admission control
VM Monitoring
HA and DRS integration
DRS imbalance algorithm
Resource Pools
Impact of reservations and limits
CPU Resource Scheduling
Memory Scheduler
Datastore Clusters
Storage DRS algorithm
Influencing SDRS recommendations

So if you are wanting to learn more about what happens under the hood, studying for any of the key VMware exams or looking to get up to speed with the changes and new clustering features such as Storage DRS in vSphere 5 I would highly recommend getting this book.

I have just purchased my copy on the Kindle store and look forward to starting reading it on the way to the London VMUG tomorrow!

Kindle Version –



Anyone that knows me or has worked with me will know I like to stay at the technology end of the business and will happily leave the others to worry about the licensing and cost. With VMware’s latest release they are making this somewhat more difficult for me as we are now licensed on not only physical CPU’s but also allocated memory. I thought I would put together a blog post to explain the new licensing model in some detail and what this will mean generally for the customers I work with.

Please note a good place to start when trying to understand the new licensing models yourself is the VMware vSphere 5.0 Licensing, Pricing and Packaging white paper

vSphere 4 Licensing

Currently in vSphere 4 we have 6 different levels of licensing, these are as follows

vSphere4 Essentials LicensingvSphere 4 Licensing

What this has meant in recent years is that the amount of RAM allocated to ESX(i) hosts has been increasing alongside consolidation ratios without the customer needing to purchase any additional licenses from VMware, so increasingly with the higher core counts available today we have seen in some cases that actual amount of physical hosts going down along with the amount of VMware licensing required to run the same amount of virtual machines. For this reason it was to be expected that VMware would be making some form of change to the licensing model.

vSphere 5 Licensing

So moving on to yesterdays announcements and the change in licensing for vSphere 5, VMware are moving to a model where you are no longer restricted to the amount of cores each version supports but to a model where it is still licensed on a per physical CPU basis, but are also licensed on the amount of allocated vRAM across your pooled resource.

vSphere5 Essentials Licensing

vSphere5 LicensingThe first part to note is that the Advanced licensing is now end of life and actually managed to out live Enterprise that was supposed to be retiring, anyone with an existing advanced license with support and subscriptions will be upgraded to Enterprise. An important part to understand for the new licensing model is the amount of vRAM allocated is calculated across the pooled resource, this means over your vCenter and more importantly can also mean vCenter’s linked with Linked Mode. This means you are only having to license what is actually being allocated in total to your virtual machines and not what amount of memory the physical host contain and equally and more importantly if you have a DR environment that is largely sat there dormant the vRAM entitlement that you get with these can actually be used by the hosts in your production clusters.


Let’s look into a few scenarios and see how this end’s up working based on some end users.

Essentials Plus

We will start with Essential Plus as my guess this will be the most popular of the essentials bundles.

With your average two way ESXi Host (HP DL360 / 380, Dell R610 / 710 etc)

With this licensing level and the 3 host maximum you would be entitled to 144GB (24GB x 6) of allocated RAM for all our virtual machines in your clusters. In a N+1 configuration and taking a maximum figure of 4GB’s allocated for each of your virtual machines this would allow you to run 36 servers in this configuration, in a real life scenario this would probably be more between 36 and 72 right sized VM’s.

From a point of view of all of my customers with Essentials Plus I don’t think any of them have an environment today that would not fit within this new licensing model.


The majority of my customer in the next tier of licensing generally have Advanced or Enterprise licensing so I will concentrate on looking at the Enterprise licensing next. Again I will concentrate on your average two way ESXi Host (HP DL360 / 380, Dell R610 / 710 etc)

With this licensing level and a cluster of 7 hosts you would be entitled as standard to 448GB (32GB x 14) of allocated RAM. In a N+1 configuration and taking a maximum figure of 4GB’s allocated for each of your virtual machines this would allow you to run 112 servers in this configuration, but again in a real life scenario this is more likely to be somewhere between, 112 and 224 right sized VM’s.

For the majority of my customer in this space this would also more than meet their existing requirements, the few customers that I do have that this doesn’t potentially meet their requirements for also have another aspect to look into. These larger customers tend to have a DR environment that is largely (Not completely) sat dormant and connected to the production vCenter using linked mode. This means that potentially they have another 7 hosts licensed and sat in a DR datacenter not generally being pushed during the working day. For these calculations I will assume that 1/2 of the physically available resource is allocated to test and dev outside of a DR event. So based on that these customers have available to them a further 224GB of vRAM that will be in the pool available for the production servers to utilise. I now believe that all of my customers requirements are met with standard allocations of vRAM.

Customer Conclussions

Time will tell as I start discussing the new licensing model with my customers if these calculations actually do make sense for them and I imagine a few may still end up having to increase their licensing from Enterprise to Enterprise + to get the further vRAM allowance or purchasing additional Enterprise licenses to allow them to allocate vRAM,

Points to remember to doing the math

* vRAM does not equal pRAM (physical RAM)

* Consider your DR environments licensing in your pooled resource

* This is probably the right time to ensure that your VM’s are right sized (Does that VM really need 4, 8, 16,24 or more GB of RAM!?)

* This is a good time to review chargeback and ensure the people requesting more RAM in their server understand the cost.


That is my considered thoughts on the new form of licensing, it is never going to be popular VMware restricting the licensing in anyway but I think we can all see why it had to be done, I am sure there are going to be many more Enterprise customers effected with their larger environments but from a quick look at the SMB / SME space things don’t look too bad from here. I would be pleased to hear your comments and will update the post with any new findings etc.


Something that has been bought to my attention is what happens when you need to do a DR test, will this mean you go over your licensed limit. I will see if I can get some clarification on this from someone at VMware.

To confirm the limits are soft limits, so theoretically you could still complete your DR failover test I need to confirm with VMware if this is acceptable in terms of the license agreement though.