Many of the customers worst affected have threatened to jump ship to Microsoft or Citrix.
But with so much investment tied up in vSphere, a far more likely scenario is that users will sit on vSphere 4.1 if it provides most of the features they require, and decide whether to continue with the vendor only when support for 4.1 ends in three to four years.
Unfortunately for VMware, that gives Microsoft and Citrix more time to play catch-up on features and functions. If customers hold out long enough from vSphere 5, the virtualisation game could get thrown wide open.
Far more damaging is that the licensing fracas represented the first genuinely icy exchange between VMware customers and the vendor.
VMware has enjoyed a fruitful and relatively constructive relationship with its customers and partners - some have even said they “love” the technology.
That feeling could soon dissipate if VMware representatives are forced to become ‘licensing police’.
There is no hard enforcement of vRAM capacity in vSphere licenses outside of the vendor’s SMB ‘Essentials’ products. Enterprise customers that exceed their licensed capacity will simply be notified electronically that their environment is “out of compliance”.
From there, it will be up to VMware reps to come knocking to ensure license compliance.
Would this fundamentally change the way customers feel about their supplier?
“I don’t agree with that,” Warrilow said. “We are not the kind of company that sends around auditors to check on customers at the end of each quarter.
“Perhaps if we hadn’t have listened to our customers, that would have been a risk. But there are not many companies that would announce something so significant and based on feedback, make changes and do it such a short space of time. I was quite proud of amount of consideration.”
Once the rationale for the licensing was explained to customers, Warrilow said, the worst criticism levelled at VMware was that the company was “less generous than it should have been”.
“We gathered the feedback for two weeks, we ran the scripts on customer environments, and we fed back that data to management of the company. Six days later we had [changed course].
“The feeling is still very positive towards VMware.”
Has your opinion of VMware changed as a result of the licensing re-jig? Feel free to comment below.