16 Jul 2011
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This is just a quick post to say that my vSphere License calculator has now been updated to Version 0.3.

 

The following changes/updates have been made:

  • The term "cluster" has been removed
  • “Memory Utilization” has been more accurately replaced with vRAM Allocation
  • Narrow Columns have been “stretched”
  • Extra fields have been added to display CPU core Entitlements for vSphere 4 Editions
  • The Enterprise Plus Calculation and Chart/Graph has been reformulated to allow for vSphere 4 to be more expensive when CPUs with more than 12-cores are in use.
  • A Virtual Machine Capacity Calculator based on Allocated vRAM has been added
  • The general layout of the calculator has been improved
  • Calculation fields have been re-ordered to make better logical sense
Version 0.3 of the calculator can be downloaded from here
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14 Jul 2011
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I have decided to publish a BETA version of the tool I quickly made a day or two ago in order to calculate vSphere 5 licenses figures. This is the tool that I used to compile the data from my previous post, titled A Deeper Look Into VMware vSphere 5 Licensing.

 

Please keep in mind that this is a very simple tool and it i very much still in the early stages of development.


The calculator can be downloaded from here

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13 Jul 2011
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Last night I posted an article where I showed my initial findings in regards to the changes in vSphere Licensing. In the post I showed just how much more VMware customers will have to fork out to upgrade their environments to vSphere 5. I also included some tables which showed the figures.

After looking into the licensing issue a little deeper, and after spending some time on the phone with my good friend Tom Howarth (from http://www.planetvm.net), I realized that the whole licensing thing isn’t as straight forward as my original post might have pointed out. I’m going to try and explain myself and Tom’s findings.

The first conversation I had with Tom this morning really turned into a session in which we had exchanged our feelings of disbelief and annoyance in regards to where the new licensing model would leave our customers. About half an hour to an hour after that conversation had finished, Tom gave me another call in which he said: “It’s not as bad as we had first thought”. I guess that is what really (indirectly) triggered this post.

Both Tom and I did some calculations on our own and came to the same conclusion. Although we are not entirely in favor of the new licensing model, it does seem to, in certain conditions, force you to stay with recommended best practice in regards to N+1.

I’m going to try and start off with some simple examples to illustrate just what the new licensing model would mean in terms of money.

Bear in mind that in vSphere 5, the licensing will be based on “pools” of resources which I understand is per “vCenter Server instance”. I assume that licenses can move around not only between clusters, but data centre objects as well. However, I could be wrong, so don’t quote me on that just yet.

For simplicity, I’m going to assume that we have a single vCenter server that manages a single cluster of ESXi hosts.

In my first example, I’m going to keep it real simple. In this example we have a single ESXi host being managed by a vCenter server. The ESX host has two 12-core CPUs and 64GB of RAM to start with. The calculation looks as follows:

vsphere5-lic-figure-01

In the table above, we see that it actually costs more to run vSphere 4 Enterprise than vSphere 5 Enterprise or Enterprise Plus. Also, notice that we require more vSphere 4 Standard and Enterprise licenses as what is required for vSphere 4 Enterprise Plus as well as all of the vSphere 5 Editions. This is because of the 6-core CPU limit on vSphere 4 Standard and Enterprise Editions.

Other than that, there’s not much else to say about the calculation above, so let’s double the memory in that host to a figure that I’m more likely to see more often in my customer environments.

vsphere5-lic-figure-02

Ok, the table above shows a little more about the penalty that will be paid in terms of vRAM TAX. Because there is now more than 96GB of RAM, an extra CPU license is required to legally make use of use of 100% of the physical memory.

However, as a single host is not very realistic, I’m going to up the ESXi hosts to 4. Let’s see what happens.

vsphere5-lic-figure-03

The table above shows 4 ESXi hosts. Although the licensing looks bad, keep in mind that we are planning to use 100% of the physical memory in the host, which is not a good idea in terms of HA and N+1. It is also very bad design practice.

So to get ourselves into a better position in regards to HA, let’s apply a rule that states we have to leave 25% headroom in terms of cluster wide memory.

vsphere5-lic-figure-04

As a result of applying a rule that states that we are only allowed to use 75% of the TOTAL cluster’s physical memory resources, the licensing seems to be more on target, with an equal license count between vSphere 4 and 5. Also, because of the CPU core limit in vSphere 4, notice that with the Enterprise license, vSphere 5 actually works out cheaper than vSphere 4.

Now here’s the trap. Let’s up the Target Physical memory Utilization figure to by 1% to 76% and see what happens.

vsphere5-lic-figure-05

As soon as we use 76% of the cluster wide physical memory resources, we are required to purchase another license. The biggest issue I have here is that VMware now contradicts itself in terms of features and licensing. For example, they would like to sell vSphere as the “clever” solution that will sort out resource contention with things like Resource Pools (Proportional Share-Based Algorithm) and Transparent Memory Page Sharing, but on the other hand, they tax you for using those features.

vsphere5-lic-figure-06

In the figure above, vSphere 5 is more expensive as we only have two CPU sockets in each host and are aiming to utilize 100% of the physical memory. As said before, this is a bad design!

vsphere5-lic-figure-07

The figure above shows that with the reduced Max physical memory utilization of 75%, vSphere 4 and vSphere 5 is on equal footing in regards to price. However, the catch is detailed in the graphs below:

vsphere5-lic-figure-08

The figure above starts to reveal the vRAM tax. Simply because we use 1% more than 75% of the physical memory, we now require an additional CPU license on vSphere 5

vsphere5-lic-figure-09

Now the figure above shows just how the vRAM tax is applied. The next figure will make it even clearer.

vsphere5-lic-figure-010

Ok, so we can clearly see that from the images above, based on 128GB of RAM per host, which I have to say, based on my experience, is an average amount of RAM for today’s blade systems, the penalty get’s heavier and heavier with every host you add to the environment.

Now, if you do end up in a situation where you need to purchase additional licenses, the only thing that can think of to cushion the blow a little would be to double the amount of physical processor packages in each host, if you have the empty sockets available to do so. Probably the worst thing I can think of is having a situation where you have more licenses than physical CPUs and still have empty CPU sockets. At least, by filling the empty CPU sockets, you’ll have the option of additional CPU resources.

vsphere5-lic-figure-011

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13 Jul 2011
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THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED. CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE UPDATED ARTICLE

On July 12, 2011 at about 16:00GMT, VMware announced vSphere 5 and a bunch of changes surrounding the product suite. During the event, Twitter was ablaze with updates with regards to what was being revealed by VMware. However, one of the changes seemed to have caused some concern amongst the trusted virtualisation community. The change to the vSphere licensing model is what seems to have been discussed quite a bit on Twitter.

I’m not going to expand by giving details on the licensing changes, for more information on the new licensing model, see the link below:

http://wcc.on24.com/event/33/43/99/rt/1/documents/slidepdf/cloud_infrastructure_licensing_v2.pdf

At first I wasn’t going to write up on this as the blogging community already came out and published pre written posts as soon as the VMware NDA time expired at 16h00 GMT. Also, I’m pressed for time at the moment, so I’m rushing this one and the research done on this post in.

After doing some number crunching, I came to a disturbing conclusion. Unless my calculations are way off, and unless VMware is drastically going to reduce the “per license” price tag, the new licensing model will offer a raw deal to VMware’s customers.Surprised

As far as I am aware, VMware has not yet published the price list for vSphere 5. As I really wanted to see what implications the new licensing strategy was going to have in terms of today’s prices, I did some calculations using today’s vSphere 4 license costs. As I said, unless VMware reduces the price per license, it would be almost impossible to sell the product to some of my current customers who already think that VMware vSphere is too expensive in comparison to rivals such as Microsoft’s Hyper-V. Well, unless I’m very wrong, it’s about to get worse!

Now, bear in mind that I did these calculations in a rather short period of time. I’ve not done a whole bunch of research on the new licensing model yet, but went by what the PDF stipulates. I could have made a fundamental mistake somewhere, and I really hope that I am wrong on this.

Please, if anyone can find a major error somewhere in my figures, please let me know.

I based my calculations on the following template as most of my customers typically run a similar setup;

  • 2 CPU sockets
  •  12 Cores per CPU
  •  128GB per Host

I compared what the new vSphere 5 model would cost in comparison to the vSphere 4 licensing model. The results are truly staggering!

Also, to give vSphere 4 a level playing field in terms of memory assignment, I assumed that we would want to be able to use up to 100% of the physical memory in the cluster, as this would not carry any penalty in terms of vRAM TAX in vSphere 4. Now I know that the license on vRAM is on allocated and not on total physical memory, but for an apples and apples comparison on possible memory consumpsion, this was the most straight forward way of calculating the numbers.

Below are my results. Now if I have made some mistakes here, please let me know. I’m looking for constructive comments here! An argument is not going to help anyoneWink

 

1host

 

2host

 

4host

 

8host

 

10host

 

costgraph

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01 Jul 2011
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I am delighted to be able to finally announce that I am in the process co-authoring a book. At first the prospect of being involved in such a project seemed a bit daunting, but I very quickly realised that opportunities such as this are few and far between, and it is something that I have to take on board and make time for.

I am however not in a position to disclose any details around the project just yet, but I can say that it will be on virtualization and surprisingly enough, it will be on a subject that is not covered by any books that I know of at the moment.

If any of the many much experienced authors out there are interested in sharing some tips with me, please drop me an email or a DM tweet!! I would appreciate any advice or suggestions, as this is my first time authoring a book.

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03 Mar 2011
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So I’ve had my HTC Desire HD mobile phone since it was released in October 2010. As I’m not one to follow trends, line an arrogant company’s pockets and make a fashion statement by opting to buy an iPhone 4, the HTC Desire HD really was the obvious choice for my next phone. Overall, I have to say it’s a brilliant piece of kit. Android is really easy to use and it does everything, well almost everything you ask of it very well. Then HTC put their spin on Android , they produced a device that really gives the iPhone 4 a solid competitor.

 

However, as I said before, I’m not one to follow trends, but I’m also not one who likes arrogant companies like Apple, and now Google. How can I say Apple is arrogant? Well easy! They charge an arm and a leg for a device that will only be good for 6 months to a year (if you’re one that follow fashion trends) before they replace it with “Version 2”. To make it worse, they don’t even give you an option to change simple things like the battery. However, this post is not to slam Apple, as I use a MAC myself with Final Cut Studio, a software package that is very powerful, easy to use, and compared to similar products from other vendors, rather cheap (and we all know the cheap word and Apple don’t go together all too often). No, this post is to slam Google for not listening to its customers when all we want to do is keep your text messages once we have received them.

 

Yes that’s right! All I want is for my text messages to live happily ever after on my Android device after I have received them! Is that too much to ask from a mobile device? For a 10 year old Nokia device that’s been dropped, kicked and lived life to its fullest? No problem. For a brand new Android device? Well, that could be a problem.

 

Many people, including non technical people will be asking why someone would be complaining about a new, state-of-the-art device’s functionality surrounding the rather ancient technology known as Text Messages and also known as SMS messages. But I have to say, it is rather annoying if your shiny new, all-bells-and-whistles mobile phone (or for you guys in the America, Cell Phone) randomly decides to delete all of your text messages. What’s more annoying than that is when it happens for a second time two months later. What’s even more annoying than losing more than a thousand text messages over a period of 3 months is the fact that the great search engine giant responsible for the Android operating system, Google doesn’t seem to be bothered about the issue. At first, I thought it’s an issue that only affects the HTC Desire HD handset, but a quick search on Google revealed that the issue affects most, if not all Android devices.

 

My mobile phone have now on two occasions randomly decided to delete all of my text messages! How? Well easy! I decide to send a text message, and when I open Text Messages on my phone, all my messages are gone!


When this happened to me again last night, I decided that I’ll jump on Google.com and have a look if anyone else is having the problem. Sure enough. It turns out that the issue has been around for a very long time. Many people have complained about losing thousands of text messages and in some cases photos and contact information and this has been going on since 2009.

 

The issue, known on Google Code forums as issue 5660, has been around for more than a year. Since 26 December 2009, a whopping 959 posts of complaints have been made regarding this problem on this forum thread: http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=5669

 

Yes, that’s right. People have been losing data on their handsets for more than a year and Google still hasn’t replied, or to my knowledge even acknowledged that there is an issue.

 

When Apple launched their iPhone 4, the entire world kicked up a fuss surrounding a small issue where the phone had signal problem in certain cases. That, in my book isn’t an issue compared to data loss. However, the peeps at Apple were forced to respond with advice on how to fix the issue as it was a media frenzy. Now my question is.... WHERE IS THE MEDIA FRENZY on this one? Why is Google allowed to get away with not listening to their customers.

 

You know what. Everyone out there, if you are unsure on what the next mobile phone you would like to buy, BUY AN iPhone. Don’t buy an Android device. Google doesn’t deserve your support as clearly we, the consumers and users of their operating systems isn’t important enough for them to care. It’s a sad day, as I love my HTC Desire HD, but in reality, until they fix the issue surrounding data loss, I cannot trust it with ANY of my data at this point in time.

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Sitting in Madrid Airport waiting for my flight back to London. That 4am start this morning is starting to pull me… https://t.co/JPZIsH5JnZ
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