VMware has faced an almost-immediate backlash from users over new vSphere licensing arrangements with some threatening to jump ship to Microsoft's HyperV in retaliation.
The revised license arrangements [pdf], launched alongside VMware's renewed efforts to push cloud-like infrastructure on the enterprise, would see customers licensed per physical processor and in line with allocated virtual memory. Physical core and memory limitations previously imposed on varied licensing tiers were removed with vSphere 5.0.
The vendor said the new licensing arrangement would offer simplicity, remove constraints and indicated it was a move to a cloud-like on-demand style of charging.
However, customers were quick to criticise the arrangement as boosting requirements for additional and potentially more costly licenses to cover existing environments upgraded to vSphere 5.0.
Users on the official VMware forum calculated that, based on the new licensing arrangements, they would be required to double and in some cases triple their licenses to upgrade to the new version.
University of Wisconsin systems administrator Robert Plankers wrote in a blog entry that the licensing costs would not likely affect customers to the same extent as first thought but could still have an impact on licensing and budget concerns around virtual machines.
"I don't like that the change penalises those using the 'fewer, bigger machines' model, which is a giant time & money saver," he wrote.
"I do like the new licensing because I can now assign direct values for chargeback for VMs, based on size. If you don't do chargeback this is neither here nor there."
VMware's newly-appointed managing director for Australia, Duncan Bennet, defended the licensing changes at a local launch of the vSphere 5.0 product.
"It's a change that people have had five hours to contemplate," he said. "A lot of customers were involved in how that licensing should be put together."
It was unclear if this included a beta program of 120 Australian customers, including one Federal Government department, that was launched in February to trial use of vSphere 5.0.
For those incensed by the changes, VMware hoped to win customers back over with a slow education process.
Michael Warrilow, VMware's senior manager for products and services in Asia Pacific, said the company was preparing to launch an upgrade calculator in coming months that would allow customers to determine additional licenses or costs in upgrading.
"Education is key," he said. "We've been preparing for that."
He said that, in the case of an average VMware user, the new licensing arrangements allowed for 20 percent of head room for 4GB of vRAM, allowing for a consolidation ratio of 10 to 1.
Warrilow said those customers still disputing the licensing arrangements could choose not to upgrade to the new version.
VMware will, however, cease selling earlier versions of the software from August 22.