VMware vSphere 5.0 provides significant storage management improvements for small- and medium-sized businesses with existing VMware installations. SMB CIOs who wish to increase the number of applications running on VMware to simplify data center management should migrate to vSphere 5.0.
For enterprise CIO’s, today’s release also offers significant improvements in VMware manageability and scalability. These are two particularly important areas for enterprises looking to move large test and development systems currently running on Linux or x86 platforms into production. Wikibon recommends enterprises running on Linux or x86 architectures that want to move to vSphere 5.0 do so now. The storage improvements in vSphere 5.0, particularly the Auto-Deploy, Profile-Driven Storage and Storage DRS features, make it an attractive option for enterprises that want to simplify storage management.
One important issue causing some discord among VMware customers is vSphere 5.0’s new “pay-for-consumption” licensing model. According to VMware, the company is replacing the current physical entitlements of CPU cores and physical RAM per server with a single, virtualization-based entitlement of pooled virtual memory, or vRAM. Each vSphere 5.0 CPU license includes a capacity-specific amount of vRAM, or memory configured to virtual machines, depending on edition – Standard, Enterprise or Enterprise Plus.
Total pooled vRam can be spread across any number of servers, giving CIOs significantly more flexibility than the vSphere 4.x licensing model. However, the new licensing model could result in significantly higher licensing costs for those utilizing high-memory configurations such as those offered by IBM and Cisco.
Wikibon recommends CIOs use available sizing tools to determine the impact of the new vSphere licensing model on their specific environments and growth paths. If the numbers simply don’t add up, enterprises running vSphere 4.x should postpone upgrading to v5.0 until the economics make sense.
Action Item: Enterprises intent on leveraging virtualization to improve data center efficiency and flexibility should move to vSphere 5.0 sooner rather than later. Organizations that are satisfied with their current level of virtualization, however, have no reason to migrate. Similarly, SMBs intent on further virtualizing their IT environments should seriously consider upgrading to vSphere 5.0. Those SMBs whose storage capabilities are adequate at the moment can afford to hold on upgrading. CIOs should also carefully examine the impact the new vSphere 5.0 licensing model will have on their costs before deciding to upgrade. If the new licensing model causes significant increase in costs, as it may at enterprises running just a handful of large machines with significant memory requirements, remaining with vSphere 4.x is advised. On the whole, however, Wikibon believes the new vSphere licensing model is a net-positive for customers, as it allows enterprises to "pay-for-what-you-use" as is typical of other cloud-related technologies.