VMware vSphere Pricing in 2024: Licensing and Overhead Costs - V2 Cloud

VMware vSphere Pricing in 2024: Licensing and Overhead Costs


Are you overwhelmed after navigating the complex hierarchy and deeply nested options of vSphere licensing and costs? There are various VMware vSphere licensing categories, cost breakdowns, editions, and pricing structures. It is complicated and time-intensive to manually research different areas to determine the pricing per resource, processor, or core. At the same time, determining which solution aligns with your business needs and IT budget is necessary.

This blog post will provide a complete breakdown of how vSphere is licensed and everything that counts in the final cost of vSphere 8 licensing. From the different editions and kits available, you will get a well-structured and easy-to-understand idea about the various pricing options and how to calculate overall expenditure based on resources and editions.

Read till the end to find the alternate solution and make an informed purchase that is cost-effective in the short and long run. Let’s dive deep into further details.


VMware vSphere Overview

VMware vSphere is a virtualization platform that allows businesses to create a flexible and scalable IT framework. Using vSphere, you can run multiple cloud servers on a single physical server that improves functional efficiency and streamline workflows. vSphere also offers a range of features to ensure reliability, data security, and performance optimization. The key specifications of VMware vSphere include the following:


  • vMotion – It Allows users to migrate running virtual machines (VMs) or cloud servers from one physical server to another without service disruption.
  • Distributed Resource Scheduler – VMware’s Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) dynamically assigns resources to virtual machines to meet varying client demands while optimizing performance and resource utilization.
  • Fault Tolerance – VMware offers continuous availability for VMs by launching a live shadow instance that mirrors the primary VM, allowing instant failover in the event of a hardware failure.
  • vSphere Replication – It replicates cloud servers to a remote site for disaster recovery, ensuring the safety of your critical data and resources.


VMware vSphere Cost Breakdown

vSphere 8 licenses comprise an 8-digit key with encrypted information about the VMSphere vSphere edition or kit you will buy and the number of processors (or cores) allocated as resources. Your license key omits any server-specific information – making it flexible enough to be applicable on multiple vSphere hosting servers unless the number of licenses allocated for cores or processors stays under the encoded limit.

You can calculate the required licenses if you are using a perpetual license with SnS (Support and Subscription). License for each processor license is flexible for up to 32 physical processing cores per CPU. Using a per-core licensing option with a subscription model, you can include multiple cores per CPU (up to 16 physical cores per CPU).

Consider the following scenario to calculate the pricing according to the VMware whitepaper.

Licensing New Hosts with vSphere Enterprise Plus Edition if a user has allocated two 2-CPU hosts (each having 6 cores) with 128GB of physical memory.

Each physical processor requires a license, so four vSphere (for two 2-CPU hosts = 4 CPUs in total) vSphere 8 licenses for Enterprise Plus Edition are required irrespective of the number of virtual machines (VMs), size of virtual memory (VRAM), or several CPU cores (in the perpetual model).

The pricing of vSphere 8 licensing for the Enterprise Plus edition is VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus edition is $4780 per processor per year for a perpetual license.


Are vSphere Licenses for Processors or Cores?

vSphere 8 licensing can be estimated per processor or core per year, depending on the license category.

  • Perpetual licenses with SnS (Support and Subscription) are licensed per processor (per CPU) per year.
  • Subscription licenses are licensed on a per-core per-year basis.
  • vSphere + cloud-connected subscriptions are also licensed on a per core per year basis

For vSphere Standard (perpetual), vSphere Enterprise Plus(perpetual), vSphere Acceleration Kits, and vSphere Essential Kits, each physical CPU in a hosting server must have at least one processor license key assigned to host vSphere VMs. (vSphere Standard and Enterprise Plus editions also have subscription models licensed per core instead of per CPU).


How is vSphere Licensed?

You have different VMware vSphere editions and kits with perpetual and subscription license categories. Below is the categorical division of vSphere editions. Let’s evaluate and compare each of these in detail.


VMware vSphere+ (Cloud-Connected Subscriptions)

vSphere+ is the multi-cloud hosting infrastructure that integrates the privileges of cloud framework to on-premises infrastructure. It also incorporates market-leading virtualization technology with enterprise-grade container orchestration solutions and other high-end cloud solutions to elevate existing on-premises deployments to SaaS efficiency. vSphere+ can be purchased through a flexible subscription plan that better aligns with the business.


You have 2 options to choose from Cloud-Connected Subscriptions:

  • vSphere+ comes with all industry-leading features of vSphere + standard and some additional utilities like developer services and application performance optimization features.
  • vSphere+ Standard has a cloud console, application development lifecycle management, and capacity visibility console.


vSphere+ is offered as a SaaS model while your vCenter VMs (cloud servers) and ESXi hosts remain deployed on an on-premises framework. The pricing of vSphere+ is not as transparent as other perpetual and subscription licenses, but you can contact the sales team of VMware to get an estimated budget for your specific needs.


VMware vSphere Perpetual Editions

You have two options in perpetual editions:

  • VMware vSphere Standard Edition – an entry-grade solution for fundamental server consolidation and budget-friendly hardware expenditure while boosting the app deployment process. The price of VMware vSphere Standard is $1394 per CPU per year.
  • VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus Edition – offers the complete spectrum of vSphere services that transform your traditional hosting servers into a cloud framework with application acceleration, lifecycle management, and security. VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus (with operations management) costs $4780 per CPU per year.


Despite having a perpetual license category the contract for support and subscription (SnS) is mandatory for every edition you purchase. Note: Remember that these editions are also available with a subscription model.


VMware vSphere Essentials Kits

VMware vSphere Essentials Kits are all-rounder solutions for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) requiring up to 3 hosts with up to two CPUs per host.


You have two options to choose from vSphere Essentials Kit:

  • VMware vSphere Essentials Kit – a complete suite for small businesses that enables application consolidation and management to cut hardware & operating costs significantly. You have to pay $576.96 for the kit with optional incident support that works on a per-incident basis.
  • VMware vSphere Essentials Plus Kit – includes all the features of the vSphere essential kit and additional features like vMotion, vSphere hypervisor, and enterprise-grade data protection facility to ensure maximum up-time and reliable IT services for SMBs. The pricing of vSphere essentials plus kit is $5596, which is exclusive of the Support and Subscription (SnS) fee.


Each kit comes with 6 processor licenses for vSphere and a license for a single instance of vCenter hosting server. If you want to increase the scalability limits for the Enterprise kits the producer enforces extension by asking you to upgrade the entire kit to an Acceleration Kit.

vSphere Acceleration kits also consist of six processor licenses for vSphere and a single license for the vCenter host. You can also choose from vSphere Standard and vSphere Enterprise Plus Acceleration kits. You can contact the sales team of VMware to evaluate the pricing criteria per your upgrade requirements. Note: vSphere Essentials and Essential Plus Kits are standalone and integrated kits. The kit cannot be decoupled or integrated with the vSphere editions we discussed above.


Untangling VMware Cost Inefficiency & Affordable Alternative

There are several reasons why VMware pricing may be seen as complex and imperfect, especially for small and mid-sized companies.

Expensive Categories – VMware licensing and pricing structure are challenging. You must choose between different packages, perpetual and subscription models, separate quotes for incident response, per CPU or Core cost, etc. Every product, package, and license category has advantages, limitations, and different pricing structures, making it difficult for people to decide which options best align with particular requirements and budgets.

Higher budget expenditure – The pricing of VMware Vsphere is exorbitant, making it an expensive solution compared to other market-leading virtualization solutions like V2 Cloud. Pricing is the primary deciding factor in choosing a hosting service. It can either make or break your ROI. Therefore, small and midsize businesses with tight IT budgets should explore more cost-effective solutions like V2 Cloud, which offers a 7-day trial.

Lack of Transparency – The pricing of VMware and licensing policies lack transparency. It is difficult to fully understand and estimate the cost of using VMware virtualization service because of overlapping packages and licensing categories. For instance, the Enterprise edition has a perpetual license based on a per-CPU basis and a subscription license based on a per-Core basis. In the long run, the relatively negligible portion of the price significantly burdens the IT budget if it’s not tailored to your organization’s needs.

Disadvantages of VMware vSphere

While VMware vSphere is a popular platform for virtualization, organizations must carefully balance the disadvantages against the platform’s benefits to make an informed decision that aligns with business needs and budgetary constraints.


Licensing and Costs

One of the most notable disadvantages of VMware vSphere is its licensing structure and associated costs. The licensing fees can be significant, especially for businesses scaling their operations or requiring advanced features. This cost factor becomes increasingly relevant as organizations need to purchase additional licenses for upgrades or to access premium capabilities.

Small and medium-sized enterprises, in particular, may find these costs prohibitive when compared to other virtualization solutions in the market that offer lower entry points or open-source alternatives.


Complexity in Configuration and Management

vSphere’s comprehensive feature set, while powerful, also contributes to its complexity. The initial setup, configuration, and ongoing management of a vSphere environment require a steep learning curve and a higher level of technical expertise.

Organizations might need to invest in specialized training for their IT staff or hire certified VMware professionals, which adds to the total cost of ownership.


Hardware Compatibility Issues

VMware vSphere demands strict hardware compatibility, meaning not all physical servers or components are supported. Businesses must carefully plan their hardware purchases to ensure compatibility with vSphere’s requirements, limiting flexibility in hardware choices and potentially increasing hardware costs.


Limited Open Source Integration

vSphere’s ecosystem, predominantly proprietary, may not integrate as seamlessly with open-source technologies or tools. This limitation can pose challenges for organizations with a strong reliance on open-source solutions, requiring additional workarounds or adjustments to fit into a vSphere-based infrastructure.


Overhead Costs for Advanced Features

Accessing advanced features such as live migration, high availability, or automated disaster recovery often requires purchasing higher-tier licenses. These capabilities, while critical for ensuring business continuity and operational efficiency, can significantly increase the overall investment in vSphere.


Frequently Asked Questions about VMware vSphere Pricing and Licensing

How do VMware vSphere’s licensing costs compare to other virtualization solutions in terms of long-term value?

VMware vSphere’s licensing costs, when compared to other virtualization solutions, can offer long-term value, particularly for organizations that leverage its extensive features for efficiency, scalability, and robust management capabilities. The specific value derived from vSphere depends on the unique needs and growth trajectory of each business, including considerations for infrastructure flexibility, performance requirements, and integration with existing systems.


What are the potential cost implications for businesses looking to migrate from another platform to VMware vSphere?

Migrating to VMware vSphere from another platform may involve several cost implications, including initial licensing fees, potential hardware upgrades to meet vSphere requirements, training costs for IT staff, and the possible need for consulting services to ensure a smooth transition.

Businesses should also consider the long-term operational savings vSphere may offer through improved efficiency and reduced downtime, which could offset initial migration expenses. For a successful migration, a detailed cost-benefit analysis is recommended to fully understand the financial impact.


Can the licensing model of VMware vSphere be tailored to fit small or rapidly growing businesses?

The model is designed to scale with business needs, allowing for adjustments in licensing as a company grows or its requirements change. This scalability ensures that businesses can start with what they need and expand their virtual infrastructure as necessary, without facing prohibitive upfront costs.


V2 Cloud – The Best VMware Alternative

V2 Cloud is one of the leading Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution providers, enabling businesses to easily shift their mission-critical IT infrastructure to the cloud. What sets V2 Cloud apart from its competitors, such as VMware, however, is its simple, transparent, and cost-effective pricing structure.

Unlike VMware, V2 Cloud offers a transparent pricing package that includes all costs in one bundle with no hidden charges for subscription and support, incident response, and hourly usage.

But that’s not all – V2 Cloud, as a VMware alternative, offers technical support for seamless cloud migration and onboarding. And if you’re worried about initial setup charges, V2 Cloud significantly cuts the initial investment for businesses to make the cloud accessible for businesses of all scales.


Choosing Between Two Solutions – Finalizing Purchase

After going through all the aspects involved in vSphere licensing, you can now make an informed decision that aligns with your interest and budget. VMware vSphere licensing and pricing structure involves a range of complexities and additional charges with less control over the budget. On the contrary, you can still opt for a more transparent and cost-effective solution like V2 Cloud. Explore V2 Cloud – the top VMware alternative, for seamless scalability and management of virtual desktops.

V2 cloud’s pricing structure positions it as a “go-to” service for small and midsize businesses seeking a budget-friendly, secure, and reliable virtualization solution. By opting for V2 Cloud, you can expect enterprise-grade security with MFA, data backups, a budget-friendly pricing structure, and industry compliance to ensure 99.9% uptime. Compare VMware with V2 Cloud and Contact V2 cloud for smooth onboarding & dedicated ongoing support before and along the service tenure.

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