Important facts about vSphere 5's new pricing model

The newly announced VMware vSphere 5 has a new "pooled" pricing model that charges customers based on the virtual memory configured in a virtual server. The model does away with limitations on the amount of RAM and number of cores, and it is the only way to buy the new vSphere version.

Announced on Tuesday, July 12 at the VMware Cloud Infrastructure event in San Francisco, vSphere 5 also sports numerous new features including storage distributed resource scheduler (SDRS), auto-deploy, a Linux-based virtual appliance option for vCenter and a Web-based vSphere client.

All of these features are beneficial and powerful (full disclosure: I was a beta-tester of vSphere 5), but of particular interest to many customers are the pricing changes because of the potential financial or administrative impact.

The per-virtual-machine (VM) pricing model has become standard for VMware products including vCenter Operations and vCloud Director. But some VMware shops don't like this pricing system, because it uses a flat price across all VMs, no matter the size of the VM -- and of course not all VMs are created equal. There was that the next version of vSphere would also be based on this model. Instead, VMware has added an entirely new variable to its pricing lineup, one that I don't believe has previously been used for software licensing.