Take care when splitting and combining VMware vSphere licenses

If you are changing your virtual server IT infrastructure, then you may need to split or combine your VMware vSphere licenses.VMware vSphere - technology image

Photo by Daniel Chen on Unsplash

All vSphere licenses installed in the same VMware server farm must have the same Support Level, i.e. Basic (9×5 business hours) or Production (24×7).

So, if you have different support levels on your VMware vSphere licenses you need to take care when splitting and combining them.

Also, if you have VMware server farms installed in different countries and since vSphere licenses are licensed on a geographic regional basis (depending upon in which country they were purchased), you must take care not to split and combine licenses from different regions.

Of course, before combining license keys ensure that they are for the same release. You may need to upgrade some license keys via your MyVMware portal beforehand.

Also, see our earlier blog about splitting license keys.

Because of the complexity of VMware licensing, the SAM Club helps its Clients maintain their MyVMware licensing portals and maintains a synchronised single pane view of all licensing & support data in their SAM Workbooks.

If you might benefit from The SAM Club’s expertise and assistance with your VMware licenses, support renewals and MyVMware portal please contact us.

Could VMware vSphere ROBO Edition Save You Licensing Costs?

Did you know there’s a VMware option for smaller remote environments/office locations with a local IT Infrastructure? vSphere ROBO Remote Office / Branch Office could help reduce your VMware licensing costs.

VMWare vSphere ROBO blog

ROBO is available in Standard and Advanced Editions. Both Editions provide the vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) and share a common core of features. These include High-Availability, vSphere vMotion, vSphere Storage vMotion, vSphere Data Protection, vSphere Replication, vSphere Fault Tolerance for workloads up to 2 CPUs, and vShield Endpoint for security.

The Advanced Edition builds on the standard feature set adding vSphere Distributed Switch, vSphere Host Profiles, vSphere Auto-Deploy and vSphere Fault Tolerance for workloads up to 4 CPUs. The Advanced Edition may be more appealing for larger, more distributed enterprise environments that need additional automation to deploy and manage remote systems.

A datasheet is available here.

You can also compare the Standard and Advanced Editions here.

ROBO licenses are priced per-virtual machine (per-VM) and sold in packs of 25 licenses. A 25 VM license pack can be shared across multiple locations. For example, five remotes offices each running up to five virtual machines. This approach provides deployment flexibility and helps minimize the cost of smaller infrastructures commonly found at remote offices.

Note, however, that ROBO licensing is limited to a maximum of 25 VMs in one remote site/office location.

vCenter Standard Server (purchased separately) can be used to remotely managing ROBO sites from a central Datacentre. Alternatively, if you wish to manage ROBO installations locally from within your Remote Office/Branch Office then you can do so using vCenter Foundation Edition (purchased separately).

Just as there is a vSAN option for vSphere so there is also a vSAN option for vSphere ROBO Editions.

However, there is no upgrade path to traditional vSAN licenses for ROBO licensing to Virtual SAN Standard or Advanced licensing.

If ROBO provides the features required for your smaller environments and these are currently licensed with vSphere Enterprise Plus, it would be worth completing a cost analysis exercise to see how the price of purchasing ROBO compares to the renewal costs for the current licenses…….or you might be able to re-deploy the vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses used in your Remote Offices.

Also see our previous blog about being VMware compliant regarding Country of Use vs Country of Purchase.

Do you use VMware vCenter Foundation?

If you use VMware vCenter Foundation – this tip could be useful. VMware released an update to VMware vSphere 6.5 in July 2017. vSphere 6.5 Update 1 provided some general updates and enhancements, including all the security and bug fixes that were part of 6.0 U3; removing some of the concerns that customers had about upgrading. You can read more about the update here.

SAM Club VMware vCenter Foundation tip

VMware also announced that the number of nodes that vCenter Foundation Edition can manage was increased from 3 to 4.

This is a minor improvement, but may be useful with smaller environments where an extra node could make a big difference.

However, please note that when adding on a further node, you may potentially have to purchase a new vSphere license and a Microsoft Windows Server Datacenter license.

Further information about this announcement from VMware can be found here.

Note : The Essentials Edition of vCenter is still limited to 3 nodes and ESX Essentials or Essentials Plus, can only be managed by vCenter Essentials due to technical limitations.

If you need any assistance with reviewing your VMware or Microsoft licensing, please get in touch with us info@thesamclub.co.uk

Is it too early to upgrade to VMware vSphere 6.7?

We recently published a blog about End of Life for vSphere 5.5 and why it might be time to upgrade to vSphere 6.5. However, the latest version, vSphere 6.7, was released in April 2018.

SAM Club Vmware tips vSphere 6.7

Further information on vSphere 6.7 can be found here.

Michael Adams. Sr. Director for vSphere asks the question: vSphere 6.7 or 6.5 – What Should I Deploy? The article is focused on the business and IT objectives and making the right decision for your organisation: read it here.

Point 2 in Adams article asks if the feature set and value in the 6.7 product release makes sense in your environment? There are a lot of new features which can be viewed here to help with your decision process.

VMware vSphere 6.7 what's new

Another factor to consider is the lifecycle plan for vSphere. We discussed in a previous blog that End of General Support for vSphere 5.5 is happening on 19th September 2018 with vSphere 6.0 being supported until 12th March 2020.

Currently VMware vSphere 6.5 and 6.7 both have the same End of General Support dates, namely 15th November 2021.

See the official VMware Lifecycle Product Matrix for more information on the support deadline for each product.

So, if you have decided to upgrade, you now need to look at – How? There is another great blog from Nigel Hickey who is a Technical Marketing Engineer, working for VMware R&D in the Cloud Platform Business Unit, which can be found here. This takes you through the Why, How, Planning and Upgrade Considerations.

If you need any assistance with reviewing your VMware licensing, please get in touch with us info@thesamclub.co.uk

You may also be interested in some of our other VMware blog posts:

Is it time to upgrade to VMware vSphere 6.5

Have you come across a VMware Audit?

Splitting a VMware vSphere license

VMware Country of Use versus Country of Purchase

Is it time to upgrade to VMware vSphere 6.5?

Why upgrade to vSphere 6.5

VMware vSphere 5.5 End of General Support is fast approaching. From the 19th September 2018 general support will no longer be available, so it’s time to start thinking about upgrading to vSphere 6.5. There is an option to purchase extended support on a per year basis up to 19th September 2020, but now is the time to start reviewing your VMware infrastructure.

If you are considering upgrading your vSphere environment, here is a good resource to help you through the process: Upgrading to vSphere 6.5

This detailed e-book is specifically designed for vSphere administrators and takes you through three phases of upgrade. Pre-upgrade, upgrade and post upgrade; offering some useful interactive tools such as YouTube videos, tutorials and documents to download. If you are short on time there is a key resources list at the beginning of each section to scan through.

This handy infographic from VMware gives the Top 10 reasons to upgrade to vSphere 6.5.

Infographic vSphere 6.5

vSphere 6.7 has also recently been released which our next blog article in a few days will focus on.

You may be interested in other recent VMware articles we have published:

At The SAM Club, we work with our clients to ensure their software estate is licensed properly. If you would like more information or an internal review of your VMware estate then please contact us at info@thesamclub.co.uk

VMware: Have you come across a VMware Audit

VMWare audit compliance

When it comes to software audits, Microsoft have led the way. However, we have recently seen an increase in other vendors following suit and have seen our first VMware Audit. 

As per section 5 of the VMware End User License Agreement, your organisation is required to complete the questionnaire that is provided.  If this exercise is not completed accurately and in a timely fashion, then VMware may perform a full audit as a follow up to the notification received.

The VMware audit is conducted by the Global License Advisory Services department, to help facilitate customer compliance in line with VMware’s software licensing terms and conditions. Depending on the results, there may be a need to discuss entitlement and deployment management options at the end of the self-audit process.

The information for the audit is exported from vCenter and includes for example; Machine/Host Names, Physical Processor (CPU Count) plus product information including version and edition.  

Some things to consider are; how up to date is the information in your vCenter and does it match with the licenses held on your MyVMware portal?  Are license keys being used correctly for multiple locations? For example, do you have a single license key for say 8 CPUs for vSphere Enterprise Plus that are used for more than one location?  Can you provide the evidence to show licenses (keys) aren’t being used more than once?

You may be interested in other recent VMware articles we have published:

At The SAM Club, we work with our clients to ensure their MyVMware portal contains folders for the Host Clusters and the license keys assigned correctly. This can then be mirrored back to vCenter to help with the overall management of your VMware licenses. If you would like more information or an internal review of your VMware estate then please contact us at info@thesamclub.co.uk



VMware : Splitting a vSphere License

VMware vSphere license split

We have been looking at a series of interesting facts around VMware software licensing that can often catch organisations out when managing their software assets. This tip is about splitting a vSphere license.

When a VMware license is purchased, an ‘instance’ number is generated within VMware which is like a unique number of a database. So, if you purchase 8 x vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses, this order will be associated with one instance number.  Note : The instance number and license keys are not the same.

When renewing, upgrading or making any other license changes, VMware will always require the instance number otherwise the order could be processed incorrectly. Unfortunately, VMware don’t display the instance number anywhere on the MyVMware portal.

Continuing with our example of a purchase of 8 x vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses, when it comes to ‘splitting’ a license, this can be completed in two ways and can cause confusion:

·       If the licenses were purchased for 6 CPUs for Site A and 2 CPUs for Site B then the License Key on the MyVMware portal can be split but this won’t affect the instance number in the background.

If the 2 CPUs for Site B are now combined with other vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses to form one new license key, the instance number for the original purchase doesn’t change.  Therefore the new license key for Site B would contain numerous instance numbers which could have different SnS expiry dates. As time moves on and the renewal dates are co-termed or the license key is split again, then you can see how the scenario of managing the VMware licenses can become complex.

·       It may become necessary to split the instance number; this could be due to a technology refresh and for example and only 4 CPUs of the 8 CPUs x vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses are required for SnS renewal.

VMware will need the instance number to perform the split in the background to allow a SnS renewal order to be processed.  The instance number can be obtained via an IBR report from VMware. However, this report does not link to the MyVMware portal via the license keys, which can add to the complexity of ensuring the right instance number is identified for the split. When VMware complete the license split, a new instance number is generated further complicating the issue.

At The SAM Club we work with our clients to document their VMware environment and assist with the management and use of the licenses. Please contact us if you would like to know more about our software asset management service.

The SAM Club, are independent trusted advisors who work with organisations to help them manage their software assets, allowing them to focus on their business needs. Being independent means, we do not resell any software, so we are completely unbiased in our advice.


VMware : Country of Use vs Country of Purchase

vmware country use vs country purchase

Working with our Software Asset Management clients we regularly come across new licensing rules that can catch organisations out as they have not necessarily been made aware, VMware is a prime example.

Did you know that unless your organisation has an Enterprise License Agreement with VMware, there are strict rules for compliance around the country or region a license was purchased in and the country of use for the license?

We found a copy of the VMware end user license agreement and under Section 1.14 it states, “Territory” means the country or countries in which you have been invoiced. So, for example if you have been invoiced within any of the European Economic Area member states, you may deploy the corresponding Software throughout the European Economic Area.

Unless you have been explicit with your reseller partner in stating the country or region of your VMware purchase or they know the specific rules around VMWare licensing, you may find your organisation is non-compliant.

Note: vCenter licenses purchased in the EEC can be used to manage vSphere licenses purchased and used in a different region for example.

Another potential issue arises with the management of the licenses within the MyVMware portal. For licenses purchased for a specific country or region, do you annotate the notes section for the license within the portal?

Setting up specific folders for locations can help ensure the licenses purchased for a specific region are managed correctly. Without proper management of your VMware licenses, it can be easy to get into a mess and become non-compliant.

Please contact us at The SAM Club if you would like to know more about how our software asset management service can help you manage your software licenses.

The SAM Club, are independent trusted advisors who work with organisations to help them manage their software assets, allowing them to focus on their business needs. Being independent means, we do not resell any software, so we are completely unbiased in our advice.

Our service is tailored to your individual needs, we maintain records of software assets and their status in a SAM Workbook, assisting with maintenance and support renewal management. We also work with client’s through vendor audits to help minimise expenditure and maximise the support benefits offered by software vendors.

It’s our business to understand the licensing rules and provide the advice and guidance to our clients with new purchases and renewals. We become part of your internal IT team managing your software assets and taking the time to understand: what is currently owned what is installed and the future business plans, providing valuable, objective and unbiased advice tailored to suit their requirements.

August 2016 Newsletter

An update on The SAM Club and the type of work we have been completing over the past two months.

New Releases information:
More information on Windows Server 2016
SQL Server 2016 released 1st June 2016
SharePoint Server 2016 released 4th May 2016
Project Server 2016 released 5th May 2016

News you can use section with information on:
Citrix offering customers the ability to run Windows 10 in Azure
Skype for Business – FAQ on PSTN Calling
MPSA Enterprise Advantage and what this means for you
Information on the new Visual Studio MSDN Portal
Plus more…

Special Offers from Veritas, VMware and Autodesk
August 2016 Newsletter digital