One of the interesting things about my career thus far is working for a Service Provider. Working in Telecom settings has its challenges, even more so whiny throw virtualization into the mix. But one of the things that can help or hurt an SP is licensing. Technology companies trying to work with SP’s will usually offer a usage based plan to work their licensing into the companies Operational Expenses.

Why is this so different? Well, everything that the SP produces from their product line, is typically charged on a usage basis. So this helps to figure into the revenue stream, how much of that revenue pays for the licensing that is necessary to host or create the product. The downside is that over time it starts to really add up. If you want a good example, try to even wrap your head around the SPLA licenses from Microsoft. SP Licensing can get very complicated, but in the end, it can be very helpful.

So let’s take VMware into example. On average when you think about VMware and the licensing, it looks and to your wallet, feels very expensive. The initial up front cost hurts, but is followed up with support costs. As you grow, you buy additional up front licenses to cover the additional servers, followed up then by the additional support costs. But when you are a Service Provider, your licensing is based on usage.

You pay in one way or another, per hour. Yup… thats nuts, but really its cents per hour. I’ll explain in a little more detail in another post, but VSPP / vCAN lowers the cost of entry so that Service Providers can worry about what they do best.

So where don’t I like it? Well, the formula for licensing could be easier. But, what really grinds my gears is that for smaller SP’s, it really lack the resources to help then get up and running or improve upon their infrastructure. What I mean is that there isn’t really a lot of Systems Engineers available to SP’s. The account reps are less responsive and those reps cover the whole of the US. After voicing this at Partner Exchange at VMworld, I met a few people with helpful answers.

Yes, Systems Engineer resources for Service Providers needs to be better, but in the mean time you have things like vmLive and other webinars that can introduce you to people within VMware. Those contacts will be very helpful. vmLive does add value because its free! On top of this, VMware has started to release their Validated Designs that are a top down configuration design of SDDC’s. As more of the VVD’s become available, I would imagine that they will cover some area that coincides with how you could deploy SDDC within your constraints.

Another thing that I don’t care for is that there are no Global Contracts for organizations using smaller than 60,000 point contracts. You could talk with the reps to potentially agree on 30,000, but thats still relatively high. You could fit about 1000 VM’s or more depending on their RAM allocation.

Lastly, but most importantly, the program just isn’t flexible enough. For organizations that use it to build IaaS within their company, if you don’t need vCloud Director but maybe something like vRealize Automation, you can’t swap them. You have to end up paying $5+ a VM per month, or do without (Or make custom built GUI’s over Orchestrator). In some cases, depending on usage, that could double your licensing fees. I think there needs to be some flexibility with vCD and vRA. Especially since there is little faith in a product that is not being fully developed any longer (API’s only… not GUI). Not everyone is large enough to build their own frontend for vCloud Director.

All in all, the program in very interesting, and its value show within the savings, but I feel there is room for growth to handle the varying degrees of service providers and companies just starting to deploy new virtualized infrastructures.