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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

We are looking at rolling out VMware vSphere Standard in the next 2 weeks and looking to cut a few corners cost wise if at all possible. Wondering if anyone has any thoughts/perspective on their support. I have a couple explicit questions but welcome all input.

1: Since I have to purchase at least 1 year with it initially, does anyone have any experience with the difference between production and basic? What are the differences? When would you opt for one vs the other?

2: How many of you continue with the support contract AFTER the 1 year? Would Basic be sufficient then?

We are currently looking at rolling it out at the cost of 10 production processors (5 servers) and 1 vCenter Server, production licensing can run close to 5k for a year and not sure that is in the annual budget.

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marked as duplicate by pauska, jscott, Shane Madden, ThatGraemeGuy, Iain Jul 18 '11 at 14:54

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

A side-note: Be aware of the new licensing for vSphere 5.0 - you are limited to 24GB RAM per CPU license with the standard edition. More info: – pauska Jul 18 '11 at 13:34
Basic and Production. – Shane Madden Jul 18 '11 at 14:23
@pauska, careful, it's 24GB of virtual RAM allocated per CPU. Be that as it may, ServerFault isn't the place for this sort of discussion, it needs to be discussed with the relevant vendor/reseller. – ThatGraemeGuy Jul 18 '11 at 14:25
@Graeme: That's true (and something I probably should have mentioned), but with a setup of 10x24GB then I have a feeling that he quickly would want to allocate more than 240GB vRAM in the near future :) – pauska Jul 18 '11 at 14:55
up vote 2 down vote accepted

To answer your questions:

  1. I can't speak of differences per-se, but I can tell you that with "production", you have someone capable ready to help at any time to make sure that down-time is minimized. I don't know about basic, but my guess is that you'll be getting pushed to the back of the support queue.

  2. We continue with support on a just in case basis, but I think that we will be discontinuing soon seeing as everything is runnign smoothly.

Personally, it seems that the decision doesn't only depend on the budget, but on wether or not your system is mission-critical or not. More importantly, it depends on how important it is for you to get the system rolled-out into mainstream usage without a few months of problems and quirks that end-users will be struggling with.

You can take a detailed look at the differences between the support solutions here:

Support comparison chart

As you can see, the main difference between basic and production is the availability of the technical support staff. Thus, depending on whether the system will be mission-critical and if it has to be running 24/7 with minimal interruptions, you should pick one or the other.

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One of the reported benefits of staying with support is updates/new versions. Since ESXi the hypervisor is free, what other updates/new versions would you be getting that aren't already readily available? – Bolson32 Jul 18 '11 at 14:14
Added more information above. – akseli Jul 18 '11 at 14:22
@Bolson32 New versions of the non-free license levels (of which standard is one) of ESXi are not free, and you're paying for a whole new license to upgrade if you don't have a support contract. – Shane Madden Jul 18 '11 at 14:25

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