VMWare - what licence / product

Posted on 2011-09-08
Last Modified: 2012-05-12

We wish to move our development-environment for our programmers to a sinlge but very powerfil server.
We mainly use Delphi, and this is currently installed locally on each developers PC. This is a nightmare when upgrading to newer versions. This is mainly bacause of a large number f third party packages. Allso some progrmmers have PC's of older date, - so there is allso an wish for better performance.

I have created a complete Win7/Delphi VMWare-image which is ready to clone, but we still need to buy the right server. This will probably be some IBM-server with 96+ GB RAm, 8-12 physical cores and perhaps a dedicated SSD-drive for each client.

My plan is to install the VMWare Player and then let each programmer execute his own VMWare-image in this. This would be free, but ofcause require win7-licences for each client.

BUT is this the right approach. Are there VMWare-tools better suited for this kind of job?
OR is it better to just make a multiuser-installation of Delphi+tolls directly on the server?

I think the VMWare-products is a jungle to find arround in.

Are the anyone with any experience in regard to establishing this kind of setup?
Question by:EjnarDahl
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LVL 118
ID: 36502228
I would not recommend or use VMware Player, it's a type 2 Hypervisor which is slow.

I would recommend you re-consider and have a look at VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi 5.0) which is also free, if you want to continue down this road of Virtualisation for Developers.

The free download is available from here

This installs on bare metal, and then you can create individual Virtual Machines for each user.

Personally, we have done this for Develeopment Teams, but we would still recommend, Each Developer having his own personal High Spec PC.

Expert Comment

ID: 36503383
Windows Server 2008 R2 also provides Hyper V.  Although you would need to purchas the server license, for example if you buy Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise.  Then you can have 4 Windows Server 2008 R2 server virtual machines without paying for the virtual OS licenses.

Author Comment

ID: 36507025
If I read it corrently, the VMware vSphere Hypervisor will only run on servers with up to 32 GB of physical RAM. We were thinking of installing at least 64 GB. We want to dediciate 4GB per user, and there should be room for 10-15 simultanious users. Looks like we will have to pay for one of the larger solutions.
It is good to know that the Player will not perform as good as vSphere. I have had no complaints about the performance with Player in my tests. But if performance is even better with vSphere, then I am very convinced that this is the road to proceed upon. I only have to decide on the right product/licence.

I have looked at Hyper V, but am leaning more towards VMWare.
LVL 118
ID: 36507149
The FREE VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi 5.0) is limited to 32GB vRAM (no limit on cores). ESXi 4.x is NOT limited by vRAM, but it's limited up to 6 Cores on the CPU.

If using ESXi 5.0 you would need to use Enterprise Licensing, because your vRAM entitlement is 64 GB. (or use ESXi 4.1 U1 FREE with no vRAM entitlement).

Check the article here

If you need to use more vRAM in vSphere Hypervisor you would need to purchase the approriate License from VMware or use ESXi 4.x.

VMware Player is a Type 2 Hypervisor, other Type 2 Hypervisors include, VMware Server 2.0, Virtualbox 4.0, and Parallels.

Type 2 Hypervisors are SLOW.  In most reviews and experience, they perform at roughly 30-40% hardware capability.  That means an OS in a VM run off VMWare Workstation will likely perform at best like it has an 800 MHz CPU if you have 2 GHz physical CPU. You install Type 2 hypervisors onto of an existing host operating system.

If you use a Type 1 Hypervisor, you get MUCH better performance. ESX, ESXi, are all Type 1 hypervisors - they (based on experience and reviews) typically get 80-90% hardware capability - so that same VM run off the same 2 GHz CPU should operate more like it has a 1.6 GHz CPU instead of 800 Mhz. Type 1 hypervisors are installed on the bare metal of the server.

Type 1 Hypervisors also include Hyper-V.
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Author Comment

ID: 36526187
Thank you very much for the answers.

Ok, so the Player and the Hypervisor is out of the question. As I read it I am in for a paid version of vSphere... But I may be a bit "slow", because I find it quite hard to find out what licence I will need.

I need support for about 15 concurrent clients. The clients need 4GB of Ram each.
The server will have 2 CPU's with each 4 physical and 4 virtual cores. (Xeon 56xx)

What licence will I need, and does any one have an idea of the pricing?

LVL 118

Accepted Solution

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 36526346
So, you want to create 15 Virtual Machines, each virtual machine will need 4GB of RAM?

So a total of 60GB of RAM?

So you would need VMware vSphere Enterprise Edition

Prices are here

USD 2,875.00 per processor.

Total USD 5,750

Author Comment

ID: 36528280
Hi hanccocka

Thank you very much for the answer.

As I read the pricing I will also need licences to VMware vCenter Server Editions, which is 1,495.00 per instance, plus SnS.....

In total this seems a bit pricy compared to buying a bunch of powerfil desktops.
But still I would like to have the centralized environment.

So I am considering a setup with two smaller servers in stead (1 or 2 CPUs and max 32GB ram). Then I can use the free Hypervisor. This will even save money on Server OS since I do not need 2008 Enterprice.
What will I miss if I go for that solution. And will I need anything besides the Hypervisor.

Thanks in advance
LVL 118
ID: 36528592
With the free version, you are limited, you cannot use vSphere vCenter, you may have difficulties in backup, because the third party backup products cannot access thre licensed API.

You may want to consider ESXi 4.x (if still available for download) it does not have the vRAM memory restriction of ESXi 5.0.

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