On 3rd February 2020, VMware announced a change to their per-CPU (Processor) licensing model.
This change will come into effect starting 2nd April 2020.
Prior to this announcement VMware had been one of the few remaining enterprise software vendors not to have transitioned to per-core licensing.
With this change, VMware are now limiting their definition of a per-CPU licence to a maximum of 32 physical cores per-CPU.
Thus, if a physical CPU has more than 32 physical cores you will now require more than one per-CPU licence and there is a decent infographic further explaining this on VMware’s announcement of this licensing change.
The VMware definitions of both “Processor” and “Core” are listed in their product guide, current version February 2020;
“Core” means: (1) in a physical environment, a single unit of processing power on a physical chip housing a CPU that can execute computer programs, and (2) in virtualized or hypervisor (VM) environments, a Core is a single physical computational unit of the Processor.
“Processor” means a single, physical chip that houses a central processing unit that can execute computer programs.
The majority of current VMware customers will not be immediately impacted as most existing hardware will be at or below the 32 cores per-CPU threshold.
However, any existing physical servers that have processors with more than 32 cores per-CPU, will at least be eligible for additional free per-CPU licences to cover the processors on that server.
VMware have made one further concession in that any servers purchased prior to 30th April 2020 will also be eligible for these additional free licence grants.
To receive these additional free licences, customers will need to apply either via the My VMware Portal or through your reseller, and meet the terms & conditions detailed in the announcement.
Why are VMWare making this change?
The stated reasoning behind this change is to “align our product offerings to industry standard licensing models and projected changes in the hardware market.”
In short, this is VMware looking to protect/increase their revenue as physical CPU’s move to ever larger numbers of cores.