vCloud Suite per CPU licensing versus vCD/SRM/vCOPS per VM licensing

With the introduction of vSphere 5.1 and the vCloud Suite 5.1 VMware dropped vRAM (or vTAX) and introduced per CPU licensing for most of her products. Per CPU licensing for e.g. Site Recovery Manager, vCenter Operations Manager, vCloud Director, etc is now available! Important to know is that these products are only licensed per CPU as part of the new vCloud Suite. If you want to buy one of these products as a seperate product, VMware is still using the per VM licensing model.

This provides us with an iteresting discussion: Should you buy the vCloud Suite (per CPU licensing for all the products), or is it preferable the buy separate VMware products (per CPU licensing for vSphere and per VM licensing for the other products)? Depending on which VMware products you’re planning to use and the VM density, the new license model gives some new options. Continue reading this article for some interesting calculations!

First let’s take a look which products make up the various editions of the vCloud Suite:

  1. vCloud Suite Standard: vSphere Enterprise Plus + vCloud Director & Connector + vCloud Networking & Security Standard
  2. vCloud Suite Advanced: vCloud Suite Standard + vCenter Operations Advanced + vCloud Networking & Security Advanced
  3. vCloud Suite Enterprise: vCloud Suite Advanced + vCenter Site Recovery Manager + vCenter Operations Enterprise + vCenter Chargeback Manager + vCenter Configuration Manager + vCenter Infrastructure Navigator + vFabric Application Director

Some important conclusions can be drawn here:

  1. VMware vCloud Suite always comes with vSphere Enterprise Plus, the most comprehensive version of the vSphere.
  2. vCloud Director, Connector and vCloud Networking & Security Standard are always part of the suite, this is logical because these product are the enabler for an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Cloud.
  3. The difference between vCloud Suite Standard and Advanced is the addition of vCenter Operations Advanced and vCloud Networking & Security Advanced
  4. vCloud Suite Enterprise is the most comprehensive edition, with (a.o.) vCenter Site Recovery Manager and vCenter Infrastructure Navigator as interesting additions compared to the vCloud Suite Advanced.
  5. vCloud Suite comes without the vCenter Server license, this is a seperate license you have to buy (maybe some acceleration kit will become available in the future?).

Now let’s see what the difference in licensing is if you buy the various products as a stand alone product or as part of the vCloud Suite:

Product Stand Alone Licensing vCloud Suite
vSphere per CPU per CPU
vCloud Director per VM per CPU
vCloud Connector free free
vCloud Networking & Security
(f.k.a. vShield App & Endpoint)
per VM per CPU
Site Recovery Manager Enterprise per VM per CPU
vCenter Operations per VM per CPU
vFabric Application Director per VM per CPU

Okay, let’s do some calculations now. I am using VMware list prices, available on the VMware website. Prices are in dollars and including 1 year basic support. Check VMware for the latest prices.

Scenario 1: vSphere + SRM versus vCloud Enterprise

So let’s do a first calculation, the scenario is as follows: 2 sites, 3 ESXi hosts per site (6 ESXi hosts in total), 1x 8 core CPU per server, 96 GB RAM per server, 2 vCenter Servers and Site Recovery Manager in Active/Active configuration, 50 VMs per site: 100 VMs in total.

If I want to license the separate products (including 1 year basic support):

  • 1 vSphere Enterprise Plus Acceleration Kit (6 CPU ESXi license, vCenter Server) $42.132
  • 1 additional vCenter Server $9.035
  • 100 VM Site Recovery Manager Enterprise License 4x 25 VM pack = 4x $19.032 = $76.128
  • Total price: €127.295

Now the vCloud Calculation:

  • 6 CPU vCloud Suite Enterprise License: 6 x $13897 = $83.382
  • 2 vCenter Server 2x $9.035 = $18.070
  • Total price: $101.452

So, the vCloud Suite costs $25.843 less and you have a lot of extra products when you buy vCloud Enteprise. But, if you have 2 quad core CPU’s the scenario will be completely different! The price for vCloud Enteprise will be $202.904!

An assumption in this case you’re using vSphere Enteprise Plus and SRM Enteprise. Let’s see what prices are when using vSphere Enterprise + SRM Enterprise or vSphere Enterprise + SRM Standard (for only 75 VMs!):

  1. vSphere Enterprise 6 ESXi hosts + Extra vCenter SRM Enterprise 100 VMs:
    $34.235 + $9.035 + $76.128 = $119.398
  2. vSphere Enterprise 6 ESXi hosts + Extra vCenter SRM Enterprise 75 VMs: $34.235 + $9.035 + 3x $7462 (25 VM SRM Std) = $65.656

Scenario 2: vSphere + vCD versus vCloud Standard

So let’s do another calculation, this is the scenario: 1 site, 4 ESXi hosts, 2x 4 core CPU per server, 96 GB RAM per server, 1 vCenter Server, vCloud Director, running 200 VMs.

If I want to license the separate products (prices again including basic support):

  • 1 vSphere Enterprise Plus Acceleration Kit (6 CPU ESXi license, vCenter Server): $42.132
  • 2 CPU additional Enterprise Plus license: 2x $6.322= $12.644
  • 200 VM vCloud Director License 8x 25 VM pack = 4x $4.538 = $18.152
    (note: VMware is not publishing any per VM price on the website, found thist list price on
  • Total price: $72.928

Now the vCloud Calculation, I am using vCloud Standard in this case:

  • 8 CPU vCloud Suite Standard License: 8 x $6038 = $48.304
  • 1 vCenter Server $9.035
  • Total price: $57.339

So, the vCloud Suite costs $15.589 less here, again assuming you have vSphere Enterprise Plus running. If vSphere Enterprise is sufficient for you (and vSphere Enterprise is compatible with vCloud Director) the price for licensing the seperate products is: $34.235+(2x $5201)+$18.152=$62789. In this scenario you the infrastructure must be able to run 200 VMs on just 4 hosts. If you need let’s say 6 hosts with 2 CPUs price will be $81.491 for the vCloud option and $85.572 if you buy the products separately.


With the introduction of the vCloud Suite and its per CPU licensing introduces new options in licensing VMware products. Depending on the VM density on your ESXi servers per CPU licensing can give you a cost advantage, although this is of course depending on which VMware products you’re using…if you’re only using vSphere, there’s not a lot of discussion. (But: Do you have vSphere Enterprise Plus? A free upgrade to vCloud Standard promotion is available now!)

It’s definitely worth doing some calculations. And, the more cores per CPU the higher your VM density can be. The future will bring us even more cores per CPU which will make vCloud per CPU licensing even more interesting…

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About viktorious

Viktor van den Berg is a Solution Architect at PQR and VCDX #121.

Viktor is a regular speaker at seminars and conferences. Continue reading...

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