VCB is Officially Gone in vSphere 4.1 Announced July 13 and Other Data Protection Changes

As expected, VMware announced vSphere 4.1 yesterday. Among the changes, the switch in the pricing model from /CPU to /VM for some of its management portfolio - like vCenter Capacity IQ, SRM, and so forth - seemed to take some by surprise. Comments from Colin Steele at

Search Virtualization

provide some insight on the new model and how VMware expects it to work:

"In theory, per-VM licensing gives customers more flexibility. But in practice, it can be complicated. You know how many processors you have on a system, and that’s a fixed number. But the number of VMs on one host — let alone throughout your entire infrastructure — is regularly in flux. How do you plan your purchasing around that? And how do you make sure you don’t violate your licensing terms?


I asked Balkansky Worried About How to Replace VCB Capabilities with vSphere 4.1 - Being Announced July 13? those same questions, and his answer was surprisingly simple. Here’s how he said the procurement process will work:

You estimate your needs for the next year and buy licenses to meet those needs. Over the course of those 12 months, vCenter Server calculates the average number of concurrently powered-on VMs running the software. And if you end up needing more licenses to cover what you used, you just reconcile with VMware at the end of the year. (If you end up needing fewer licenses, VMware won’t reimburse you, but as Balkansky pointed out, there’s really no need to overestimate in the first place.)"



Notably, however, the vSphere kits and editions are still charged per processor, as follows:


    • VMware vSphere Essentials Kit, $495 per 6 processors (includes VMware vCenter for Essentials);
    • VMware vSphere Essentials Plus Kit, $3,495 per 6 processors (includes VMware vCenter for Essentials);


    1. VMware vSphere Standard, $995 per processor;
    2. VMware vSphere Advanced, $2,245 per processor;
    3. VMware vSphere Enterprise, $2,875 per processor;
    4. VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus, $3,495 per processor;
    5. VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus and Cisco Nexus 1000v bundle, $3,895 per processor;


    1. VMware vCenter Server Foundation, $1,495;
    2. VMware vCenter Server Standard $4,995;


    1. VMware vSphere Advanced Acceleration Kit for 6 Processors, $10,495;
    2. VMware vSphere Midsize Acceleration Kit for 6 Processors, $17,795;
    3. VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus Kit for 8 Processors, $26,395.



vSphere 4.1 Changes in Data Recovery



VDR is not included in vSphere Essentials Kit for SMB customers, nor in the vSphere Standard edition for mid-tier/enterprise organizations.


Here's what's in 4.1 for VMware Data Recovery (VDR), when you do get it:


    1. vDR support management for up to 10 appliances and 1000 VMs per vCenter Server;
    2. File Level Restore for Linux VMs;
    3. Improved VSS support for Microsoft Windows 2008 and 7 in the form of application level quiescing -- presumably this change is in the platform and not in VDR itself;
    4. Extended support for DAS, CIFS, NFS, iSCSI and FC Storage;
    5. Improved deduplication performance;
    6. Better GUI and usability by improving the vSphere Client Plugin-in.


Is the Vizioncore VSS Driver Still Required?



The VSS driver released in vRanger Pro 4.5 was provided to make up for the following known defects in VMware's implementation of VSS: 1) lack of appropriate VSS-writer application quiescing on Windows 2008 guests; 2) lack of appropriate VSS-writer application notification when backup jobs complete, to enable log file truncation.


So, in vSphere 4.1, VMware has addressed one of the two known problems. If your Microsoft Exchange administrator relies on VSS for log truncation, then you still need the Vizioncore VSS driver in Windows 2003 and Windows 2008 guests running Exchange.


And, or course, you can also elect to use Vizioncore VSS driver with any supported ESX or ESXi server, whether vSphere 4.1 is present or not.