Update June 27, 2022: VMware announced vSphere+ and vSAN+
VMware is giving their customers more and more the option to move towards a subscription-based licensing model. In general, companies are moving away from the large pay-up-front deals and replace them with recurring subscriptions. Vendors like VMware are making a lot of investments to provide the structures, processes and capabilities to offer subscription licenses (and SaaS services). Organizations see the benefits of subscription licenses and this blog describes the current options if you want to move your vSphere perpetual licenses towards vSphere subscription.
vSphere+ Advantage – vSphere Subscription Service
Since December 2021, VMware offers vSphere Advantage in limited regions (aka Initial Availability).
vSphere Advantage gives you the flexibility to manage and operate your on-premises vSphere infrastructure while leveraging several VMware Cloud capabilities:
- Transition from vSphere perpetual to vSphere subscription-based consumption for your vSphere deployments
- Complete view of the globally distributed on-premises vSphere inventory
- VMware-managed vCenter Servers (aka Project Arctic, not GA yet)
From a centralized VMware Cloud Console you can monitor events, alerts, capacity utilization, and the security posture of your vSphere infrastructure.
It is also possible now for you to plan and upgrade your existing vSphere licensing keys and replace them with vSphere Advantage, which enables you to make use of keyless entitlements. This keyless entitlement makes it very easy for customers to stay compliant all the time and to understand the current subscription usage.
To start using vSphere Advantage, you must enable communication between your on-premises vCenter Server and VMware Cloud by using a vCenter Cloud Gateway. This requires an outbound connection (443, HTTPS) only, no VPN is needed.
Current vCenter Server Requirements:
- The vCenter Server version must be 7.0 Update 3a and later
- Configure the vCenter Server with a backup and restore mechanism
- Dedicate at least three ESXi hosts for the vCenter Server. (Recommended)
- The vCenter Server must be self-managed. It must manage its own ESXi hosts and virtual machines
Unsupported vCenter Configurations:
- Ensure that the vCenter Server is not configured in High Availability mode
- If the vCenter Server is configured in Enhanced Linked Mode (ELM), unlink it from ELM. See Repoint a vCenter Server Node to a New Domain. ELM is no longer required because with vSphere Advantage you can monitor your entire vSphere inventory in a single pane of glass.
- Ensure that the vCenter Server is not configured with NSX for vSphere, vRealize Operations Manager, Site Recovery Manager, vCloud Suite, or vSAN.
Project Arctic – VMware-Managed vCenter (Roadmap)
VMware introduced Project Arctic at VMworld 2021. Now it’s called vSphere Advantage. While a hybrid cloud operating model for vSphere becomes default now, it’s not yet possible to let VMware manage your vCenter Servers. We can expect that this capability will be shipped and made generally available somewhen in 2022.
VMware Edge Compute Stack
Edge Compute Stack (ECS) is a purpose-built stack that is available in three different editions (information based on initial availability from VMworld 2021):
As you can see, each VMware Edge Compute Stack edition has the vSphere Enterprise+ (hypervisor) included. Software-defined storage with vSAN is optional, but Tanzu for running containers is always part of each edition.
Note: The Edge Compute Stack includes vSphere subscription licenses.
If you are running the VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) stack and look for a managed service offering, which includes subscription-based licensing, have a look at the following alternatives:
- VMware Cloud Universal (VMCU)
- Dedicated Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (formerly known as Local Cloud as a Service)
As you can see, you can start small with vSphere Advantage and grow big with VMware Cloud Universal as the final destination.