In, “How Will VMware Win Against Microsoft?“, we addressed the question of if Microsoft is making the hypervisor a free part of the operating system (which it is), how could VMware effectively combat a free hypervisor that is at feature parity with its own. One of the answers was to bundle products with the hypervisor (vSphere) that were valuable and differentiated, thereby making the case that VMware’s hypervisor was effectively free as well. VMware has taken a step in that direction with vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM).
vSphere with Operations Management
vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM) is a bundle of vSphere and vCenter Operations Management. Think of this as just another suite, except that rather than include a lot of things that you may not need, what you get is just the vSphere platform and the Operations Management to go with it. So let’s take a look at the existing vCloud Site editions first. There are three editions of the vCloud Suite. vCenter Operations is not included in Standard, but it is included in the Advanced edition. The difference in price between the two editions is $2,500 per CPU socket, and vCenter Operations is probably the most meaningful difference between the two editions. Therefore, if we take the vCloud Suite pricing as our guide, the price for vCenter Operations is $2,500 per CPU socket. We can also see from the pricing directly below that if what you want is vSphere and Operations Management, the minimum price that you will pay via the vCloud Suite pricing is $7,495 per CPU socket.
vCloud Suite Editions and Pricing
Just for baseline and reference purposes, the existing vSphere pricing is shown below. Notice that there are substantial differences in price between just vSphere and the various vCloud Suite editions. For example, if you are a vSphere Enterprise customer and you are paying $2,875 per CPU socket, to change to a version of the vCloud Suite that includes Operations Management would cost $7,495, a difference of $4,620 per CPU socket. This has the effect of making vCenter Operations Management look, and in fact be, very expensive.
Existing vSphere Packaging and Pricing
Now if we look at the new vCenter with Operations Management pricing, the new bundles with vCenter Operations Management are only $750 per CPU socket more than the corresponding vSphere only products ($1,745 – $995 = $750). This holds true at the Standard, Enterprise, and Enterprise Plus levels for vSphere and vSOM.
New vSphere with Operations Management Packaging and Pricing
There are two ways to look at this new packaging and pricing. One way to look at it is that VMware is now offering vCenter Operations Manager for $750 per CPU socket, which is a substantial reduction in price over what one would have previously paid via the vCloud Suites or, most likely, via the old per-VM pricing. The other way to look at this is that if vCenter Operations Manager is really worth $2,500 per CPU socket, then vSphere Standard is now free, vSphere Enterprise is now only $375 per CPU socket, and vSphere Enterprise Plus is now only $995 per CPU socket.
All of the detail on the packaging and pricing for the various editions of vSphere and vSphere with Operations Management can be found on the VMware packaging and pricing page.
vSphere with Operations Management lets VMware use valuable and differentiated management software like vCenter Operations to make the price of vSphere free or nearly so. One can only wonder if other such bundles are forthcoming; for example, vSphere with vCloud Automation Center (vSCAC). VMware has significant product differentiation in management software over Microsoft, and it only makes sense to use this differentiation to combat the perception that vSphere is expensive.