Questions on VMWare Infrastructure Client 2.5 and VSphere 5

I'm fairly green in the VMWare world, but we currently have a server that came with the embedded ESXi 3.5, which is managed via the VMWare Infrastructure Client 2.5

We are looking at purchasing a new server, which would come with ESXi 5, and after countless hours of research and many questions answered, I think I now have more questions than answers.
 
On the 3.5 machine, we have two quad core Xeon processors and 32GB between three VM's. Obviously very low usage but it was the least inexpensive route at that time and had certain advantages. This was years ago and much has changed, and we are restructuring the way we look at data storage, availability etc. I would like to migrate the 3 VM's, and a multitude of our physical servers to ESXi 5, and potentially down the road take advantage of features like VMotion, HA, etc.

With 3.5, there were really no costs; ESXi was free, the Infrastructure Client was free, and we never had to purchase any licensing based on number of cores, pRAM or vRAM. Now looking at version 5, it seems that there are fairly tight licensing restrictions, and a much greater initial investment?

My main question: what changed? Did we improperly license in the past, are things really that different, and if I get the embedded ESXi 5 that comes on a Dell Poweredge, does a management client like Infrastructure Client (which I now understand to be a VSphere client) come with it? If not, what type of licensing am I looking for?
TercestisiAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
ESXi is still FREE.

ESXi 4.1 has no server vRAM limitation, ESXi 5.0 is limited to 32GB per server.

do you need more than 32GB.

VMs are easily moved from old server to new server using vCenter trail if required.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Things are exactly the same other than VMware have reduced what you can do with FREE version 5.0!

Client is still included FREE download from VMware or from ESXi server.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If you want to use more than 32GB per server and use HA, vMotion you will need to look at at least vSphere Essentials, and a SAN or NAS - shared storage, and at least two hosts.
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TercestisiAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the quick response!

Is the client with version 5 now labeled VSphere? What do I get with the next level up from free with VSphere? I guess I am slightly confused if that I look at VMWare's tool on deciding which licensing model fits, there is no "free option," as I believe it starts at Essentials.

Any link that shows: this is what you get (and what you can and can't do) if you get ESXi embedded and do nothing, this is what you get for the next level of licensing, etc. would be very helpful.
TercestisiAuthor Commented:
Wow, you're fast; believe you may have answered my question as I was writing it.

So if I stick with the most basic version of what comes with the Dell PowerEdge, I'm limited to 32GB of vRAM, correct? Can I oversubscribe the RAM based on usage or is it allocated only?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
if you use ESXi 5.0 the limit is 32GB ram per server. it does not matter how many cores, processors.

32GB is your max you can allocate to VMs.

ESX 4.1 no limits!

your choice whether you use 4.1 or 5.0.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
32GB of vRAM based on usage.
TercestisiAuthor Commented:
OK; other than end-of-life for ESX 4.1, which I believe is 2014, are there any advantages at the Essentials or below level that would justify ESXi 5.0? I believe that ESX 4.1 would have cost associated since it's not the "i" version?

To clarify too, I'm not necessarily looking for the cheapest route, just trying to understand all of the routes and picking the both the best immediate and down-the-road fit.

On the "32GB of vRAM based on usage," we may be using terms differently. From what I understood the 32GB was a hard limit to what could be reserved for all VM's shared (i.e. 12GB of RAM reserved for three VM's would not allow me to add any additional VM's). Is this true, or is it usage based on actively used (i.e. I could have 10 VM's on, oversubscribe the allocated RAM to 75GB total, but be limited to actively using 32GB among all hosts at any one time)?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
ESXi 4.1 and ESXi 5.0 are both free. You register with VMware, and download for free, and they provide a free license. The exact process as in v3.5i.

just go here

VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi)

VMware had a rebrand of the product, in v4, and called it vSphere.

What we used to call the VIC (VMWare Infrastructure Client 2.5) is now called the vSphere Client (GUI), it's free, available to download from VMware, and if you point your browser to the ESXi server, this allows you to manage ESXi 3.0, 3.5, 4.x and 5.0.

The free option is officially called the VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi).

when you purchase a license, we just call it VMware vSphere 4.x/5.0 (ESXi).

The basic level of VMware vSphere is Essentials, which for approx $500 you get

1. Three Host Licenses of ESXi 5.0 (the hypervisor) for two processors, with 32GB vRAM per processor.
2. VMware vSphere vCenter Server (which is the management server which controls vMotion, HA)

You can start on free and upgrade by just changing the license to Essentials.

http://www.vmware.com/products/datacenter-virtualization/vsphere/small-business/essentials-kits.html

The Essentials kits are the low cost solution for Small Business to Quickly get into License VMware vSphere.

Personally at $500, I think a bargain!

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
ESXi 4.1 is also free, you can apply Essentials downgrade rights and use ESXi 4.1.

ESXi 4.1 (Free) has no vRAM limit, but is limited to only 6 Cores per Processor.

They removed this limit with ESXi 5.0, if can use all the cores.

That is correct it is a hard limit, but with Free it's 32GB per server. with essentials it's 32GB per proceesor. So if you purchased dual processors, that's 64GB!
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Here is the Official License 5.0 doc
http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vsphere_pricing.pdf
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Configured vRAM is equal to the sum total of vRAM configured
to all powered-on virtual machines managed by a single instance
of VMware vCenter Server.

Available pooled vRAM is equal to the sum total of vRAM
entitlements for all VMware vSphere licenses of a single
edition, managed by a single instance of VMware vCenter
Server

Pooled vRAM in essentials is 192GB.
TercestisiAuthor Commented:
Excellent, you have very much succinctly answered all of my questions, and I think you for that.

One last one I believe, which is what initially threw me off:

1. Three Host Licenses of ESXi 5.0 (the hypervisor) for two processors, with 32GB vRAM per processor.

What does that mean exactly, as to me that means (3) hypervisors for three individual physical servers; if ESXi is already free, I must not be understanding that correctly.
TercestisiAuthor Commented:
You may have opened a few questions on that latest response concerning configured vRAM and pooled vRAM. Pooled vRAM is only applicable, if I'm correct, with a minimum of the Essential license and is regarded as vRAM across multiple physical servers with the hypervisor installed?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
ESXi 5.0 can be obtained for free. 32GB per server.

Essentiakls gioves you a license for

Three ESXi 5.0 servers with 32GB of vRAM per processor.

Yes, vRAM is pooled across servers.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
The vSphere 5 licensing model has a pooled vRAM entitlement. vRAM is total amount of virtual RAM allocated to all VMs.

if you have 100 VMs with 4GB of vRAM each, then you need a vRAM pool of 400GB.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
that 4GB of vRAM is what you have actually allocated to that VM. (in the settings for the VM).
TercestisiAuthor Commented:
Thanks!

I may still be failing to understand this:

"Essentiakls gioves you a license for

Three ESXi 5.0 servers with 32GB of vRAM per processor."

If ESXi is already free, don't I theoretically have unlimited (not three) licenses for ESXi 5.0 serves with 32GB of vRAM per processor?" I could just simply go and download it?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
ESXi FREE is 32GB vRAM PER SERVER!
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
there is a difference here, per server (free) and per processor (licensed).

if you have a server with 2 processors, using free it's still 32GB, if you have a licensed server with two processors, you have 64GB.

if you server only has one processor, ah yes, use free!
TercestisiAuthor Commented:
Ah, you hit the nail on the head there; that was my hang-up!

I must say that you have beautifully illustrated how the licensing process works, and I thank you very much for clearing up a lot of confusion for me.
TercestisiAuthor Commented:
Outstanding and extremely quick responses; could not be happier!
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
No problems, always here to help.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Happy VMware Year!
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