With the new 64-core AMD EPYC processors available and the 56-core Intel Xeon on the horizon, it was bound to happen… On February 3, 2020, VMware announced that effective April 2, 2020, all per-CPU licensed products will be limited to 32 physical cores per CPU license. This change means that those shiny new 64-core processors will require the purchase of 2 CPU licenses for each processor going forward. This change affects all per-CPU licensed products, including vSphere, vSAN, NSX, and Enterprise PKS, to name a few.
According to VMware:
“VMware is working to align our product offerings to industry standard licensing models and projected changes in the hardware market. We cannot continue pricing on a per-CPU basis, where CPUs could have unlimited core counts. The 32-core limit is designed to minimize customer impact given current core counts generally used in the industry, and by the majority of our customers.”
It’s no surprise to see that VMware is making this change. As the CPUs are becoming wider with more cores per socket, customers are purchasing fewer ESXi hosts to meet their computing demands. Fewer ESXi hosts mean fewer licenses being purchased, which ultimately hurts VMware’s bottom line.
According to the VMware announcement, any licenses purchased before April 30, 2020, for use on CPUs containing more than 32 cores “will be eligible for additional free per-CPU licenses to cover the cores on those CPUs.” The main point to take away is that if you are using CPUs with more than 32 cores today, nothing changes immediately. VMware has no plans to force you to buy additional licenses to support your existing deployments.
Unfortunately, nothing is ever really free. While VMware will provide you with the additional CPU licenses at no cost today, VMware will require that you pay for additional Service and Support on these “free” CPU licenses the next time you renew your support contracts.
You can contact your VMware Partner Reseller or VMware sales representative for additional information. Alternatively, a customer can contact VMware Support to raise a ticket in My VMware. Additionally, keep the following items in mind in regards to your request for additional CPU licenses:
The full announcement from VMware can be viewed here: Update to VMware’s per-CPU Pricing Model
Also, please see the following VMware KB for access to a PowerShell script for calculating licensing requirements for existing deployments under the new policy: Counting CPU licenses needed under new VMware licensing policy (77098)
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