I’ve said time and time again that SRM has always been my favorite non-vSphere 5 product. There are some great new features in SRM5 that definitely warrant an eval at the least (Failback, Host-based replication, etc). I was also excited that VMware released a new licensing model with SRM5. All existing customers would automatically upgrade to the new Enterprise Edition. The cost for Enterprise edition was the same as it always has been for SRM, roughly $495 list price per-vm plus SnS and sold in packs of 25 VMs. VMware wanted to take SRM down a notch to the SMB market which is why they created the new Standard Edition. The new standard edition is priced much more SMB friendly at $195 list price per-vm, plus SnS and sold in packs of 25 VMs. The Standard and Enterprise editions are feature-identical. Host based replication, fallback, and all the new features are included in both editions. The difference between the two editions is that Standard Edition can protect a site up to 75 VMs. When a customer grows past 75 VMs at a site, they must upgrade to SRM Enterprise Edition to protect up to 1,000 VMs (a technical limit, 500 VMs is the technical limit if using Host Based Replication).
Here lies the problem and the reason for my post. Remember that the licensing is sold in packs of 25 VMs so we can add SRM capacity in blocks of 25. When we cross that 75 to 100 in capacity required, we need to upgrade our existing Standard Licenses to Enterprise and purchase a 25-pack of Enterprise to protect the additional VMs. In list price terms, the 76th VM will cost $49,501. That price includes 3 of the 25-VM Upgrade packs for SRM Standard to Enterprise (to upgrade the existing licensing for that site), a 25-VM Pack of SRM Enterprise and 4 x 1-year SnS for SRM Enterprise (the upgrade packs require SnS at purchase).
I created a chart showing List Prices and the acquisition cost and total investment in SRM. From left to right shows the number of licensed VMs protected. This chart assumes you start purchasing SRM Standard for a site with 75 or less VMs protected and then grow the site to larger than 75 VMs protected.
You can see from the greenish line that the total cost takes a significant jump from the 75-to-100 number of VMs protected. Please keep in mind that these are list prices and assume that you are going to start with Standard Edition.
I was curious to know how this model would compare if we purchased SRM Enterprise licenses from the start. I created this graph below for comparison.
You can see the blue 25-VM pack acquisition costs are a constant and predictable for each 25-VM pack. The red total cost line is also a constant rate. You’ll also notice that at 100 VMs and on, total costs are lower when you use Enterprise from the start.
There are a couple important observations that I have made from this analysis. First, Standard Edition is a great way for customers to get into SRM at a much lower price point. Please understand the risks if there is potential for that site to grow large enough to protect more than 75 VMs from it.
Second, and most important, this article is not meant as a criticism of VMware licensing practices (I’ll let others write those). This article is meant to inform the customers: If you need to protect a site with SRM and you think that you will eventually grow that site past the 75-protected-VM mark, you may want to consider purchasing SRM Enterprise now to balance out your costs and save some money in the end. I really do not want to have to explain this licensing to you when started by purchasing SRM Standard Edition and now you need to protect the 76th VM.
Good luck and good computing.