Why we need a vSAN licensing for SMB customers

Not every customer is running a full-blown vSphere Enterprise Plus licensing. To be honest, when I look at the number of sold licenses, most of my customers are running vSphere Essentials Plus. Not Essentials, nor Standard or Enterprise (Plus), but two or three hosts with Essentials Plus. And that’s perfectly fine!

Two or three hosts with 10 GbE and pretty often 12G SAS. Some of them with Fibre-Channel, nearly no one with iSCSI. My colleagues and I developed a pretty rock solid setup over the last years, which we sell like some kind of building block: HPE ProLiant, HPE MSA, Aruba Switches, vSphere Essentials Plus. A perfect setup for most of our customers, which run something between 10 and 30 VMs on it. Some of them also add Horizon View (Add-On) to it.

But requirements change. More customers ask for more hosts. When customers break out of the Essentials Plus licensing, then often because of the host limitation. Less of them do this because they need DRS or even Storage vMotion.

Some of my customers have heard about vSAN and they like the idea behind it. Especially when you take into account, that hardware costs decrease and flash storage is getting cheaper. But when you discuss the idea of combining vSAN and Essentials licensing, you will hit the host limitation early.

VMware itself states in the vSAN licensing guide:

The 2-node vSAN deployment model is not restricted to a specific vSAN license edition. In other words, any of the licensing editions can be used with a 2-host configuration. vSphere Essentials Kit or vSphere Essentials Plus Kit licensing limits the number of hosts managed by
vCenter Server Essentials to three. The vSAN witness host – virtual appliance or physical – is considered a host in these Essentials licensing bundles.

Source: VMware vSAN Licensing Guide

When you take a look at the Horizon Desktop licensing, or at the RoBo licensing, you will see another kind of limitation: Limiting the number of VMs, not the number of hosts. This is pretty interesting when you think about combining vSAN and Essentials licensing.

Why not offering a “HCI Essentials Kit” limitied to 25 VMs, and the features offered by Essentials Plus and vSAN Standard? This would allow customers to run four or five hosts with vSAN. By limiting the number of VMs, customers can scale-out their infrastructure in terms of capacity.

Hey VMware, you might think about this over the Christmas holiday. ;) There is a customer segment that is not yet sufficiently addressed by your sales team. This is a chance for more YoY growth. ;)

Patrick Terlisten
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