How are you? I'm fine. Sorry I haven't written before, but it's high time I did.
VMware, I know you like money. I know you've made a lot of it over the years. I'm sure your parent company, EMC, is thrilled at your financial performance and market capitalisation. I know if I owned your company, I'd be pretty happy. Virtualisation is a hot topic, and seems set to continue that way.
To be honest, I don't mind giving you money, generally. I've got a lot of value out of you over the years - especially with vSphere 4.x and hot features like vDS (and the ability to use the Cisco Nexus 1000v, which we love), not to mention the old standbys of vMotion, HA, and DRS. There's a good reason we pay maintenance, and an even better reason we upgraded to Enterprise Plus. And hey, you even gave us a great discount to upgrade to it! We've had a lot of value out of our maintenance.
I understand that you feel entitled to that money as a result. Hey, I can even handle getting emails from your own sales people - undercutting your resellers - to try to sell me features that I've already licensed (yeah, sorry, we did fully license Cisco Nexus 1000v, and it's not our fault your systems don't tell you that).
But VMware, we need to talk. You've made a really bad misstep, and I want to talk you through it.
You see, your announcement of vRAM licensing in vSphere 5 has really aggravated a lot of people - myself included. We don't feel that your definition of "fair" actually includes customers anymore. Like I said, I don't mind giving you money - and plenty of others feel that way too. But we do object to being gouged beyond all semblance of what's reasonable.
What were you actually thinking? Aside from "we need more 0's on our bank balance", of course? The reality is that CPU utilisation is not too big a deal anymore - Enterprise Plus allowed for up to 12 cores per CPU, and right now we're only using 4. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate you taking away the physical CPU limit; that's a great improvement.
I know you understand that the real constraint for customers is in RAM, and that that's why you decided to introduce vRAM licensing. I don't totally detest the idea, but both the execution and the post-rationalisation by your marketing team is frankly awful. Sadly, your customers aren't as dumb as you seem to believe.
Let's take the edition of vSphere we're running, Enterprise Plus. 48GB vRAM per CPU? Really? On dual-processor servers that take up to 192GB of physical RAM, that's just apalling! Why on earth would you expect me to willingly pay for 2 more processor licenses just to use the full RAM complement? Lower editions are, of course, even worse off - 24GB for Standard and 32GB for Enterprise. These editions are crippled enough without this kind of harsh treatment!
I realise that there comes a time in a company's life when the temptation to let Marketing take full control of the licensing program becomes too great to resist. That's cool. Lock them back up in the dungeon before they kill your core business. There's still time to fix this. There's nothing inherently wrong with the vRAM model. Just upgrade the limits to be fair to customers, rather than fair to VMware.
Let's say 128Gb per CPU for Enterprise Plus. 64GB for Enterprise. 32GB for Standard. I'm just pulling those out of the air, but that's a lot more realistic. You need to allow for customers to scale up or out - not only out. Remember, we live in a world where IT needs to reduce costs while also considering green initiatives. Consolidation is still a thing.
VMware, you can do this. I know you can. It might be tough - hey, you might have to smack some people. But do it for your own sake. After all, the competition is fast catching you up. Just say "oops, we were testing the market and it backfired". Many will forgive you. And then they'll keep giving you money.
You like money, VMware. That's cool. You can keep making it. But if you don't change, I think you'll start losing it. And that will make you and me both sad.
Lots of love,
I tweet and then I tweet and then I tweet a little more: @OhCrap
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