VMware vSphere Licensing Costs – A Comprehensive Guide

VMware vSphere functions as follows:

  • Centralized Management: Offers a unified platform to manage virtual machines and physical hosts.
  • Virtualization Layer: Creates and manages virtual machines by abstracting hardware resources.
  • Resource Allocation: Efficiently distributes computing, storage, and networking resources to VMs.
  • High Availability & Scalability: Enhances reliability and adjusts to workload changes.
  • Security Features: Provides robust security measures for VMs and data.
  • VMware vsphere is no longer available as a license; you must look at VMware subscriptions.

VMware vSphere Licensing and Costs

VMware vSphere is a virtualization platform that allows businesses to create a flexible and scalable IT framework.

Using vSphere, you can run multiple cloud servers on a single physical server, improving functional efficiency and streamlining workflows.

vSphere also offers a range of features to ensure reliability, data security, and performance optimization.

Key Features of VMware vSphere

  • vMotion: Allows users to migrate running virtual machines (VMs) or cloud servers from one physical server to another without service disruption.
  • Distributed Resource Scheduler: VMware’s Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) dynamically assigns resources to virtual machines to meet varying client demands while optimizing performance and resource utilization.
  • Fault Tolerance: VMware offers continuous availability for VMs by launching a live shadow instance that mirrors the primary VM, allowing instant failover in the event of a hardware failure.
  • vSphere Replication: It replicates cloud servers to a remote site for disaster recovery, ensuring the safety of your critical data and resources.

Understanding VMware vSphere Licensing

VMware vSphere offers perpetual and subscription licenses, each with editions and kits.

vSphere Perpetual Editions

Perpetual editions include the vSphere Standard Edition and the vSphere Enterprise Plus Edition.

The Standard Edition is an entry-grade solution for fundamental server consolidation and budget-friendly hardware expenditure while boosting the app deployment process.

The Enterprise Plus Edition offers the complete spectrum of vSphere services that transform traditional hosting servers into a cloud framework with application acceleration, lifecycle management, and security.

vSphere Standard Edition

The vSphere Standard Edition is an entry-level solution for essential server consolidation. It helps reduce hardware expenditure while accelerating the application deployment process.

The price of VMware vSphere Standard is $1394 per CPU per year.

vSphere Enterprise Plus Edition

The vSphere Enterprise Plus Edition offers a comprehensive range of vSphere services that can transform your traditional hosting servers into a cloud framework with application acceleration, lifecycle management, and security.

The VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus (with operations management) costs $4780 per CPU per year.

vSphere Subscription Licenses

Subscription licenses are licensed on a per-core per-year basis. vSphere + cloud-connected subscriptions are also licensed on a per-core per-year basis.

For vSphere Standard (perpetual), vSphere Enterprise Plus(perpetual), vSphere Acceleration Kits, and vSphere Essential Kits, each physical CPU in a hosting server must have at least one processor license key assigned to host vSphere VMs.

vSphere Kits

vSphere Kits are comprehensive solutions for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) requiring up to 3 hosts with up to two CPUs per host. They include the vSphere Essentials Kit and the vSphere Essentials Plus Kit.

vSphere Essentials Kits

The vSphere Essentials Kit is a complete suite for small businesses that enables application consolidation and management to cut hardware & operating costs significantly.

The vSphere Essentials Plus Kit includes all the features of the vSphere essential kit and additional features like vMotion, vSphere hypervisor, and enterprise-grade data protection facility to ensure maximum uptime and reliable IT services for SMBs.

vSphere Acceleration Kits

vSphere Acceleration kits also consist of six processor licenses for vSphere and a single license for the vCenter host. You can also choose from vSphere Standard and vSphere Enterprise Plus Acceleration kits.

vSphere Licensing – Costs and Considerations

The pricing of vSphere licensing involves a range of complexities and additional charges with less control over the budget.

On the contrary, you can still opt for a more transparent and cost-effective solution like V2 Cloud.

Top 5 mistakes organizations often make with VMware Licensing

  1. Not Understanding Licensing Terms: One of the most common mistakes is not fully understanding the licensing terms. VMware’s licensing model can be complex, and misunderstanding the terms can lead to non-compliance and potential fines. It’s essential to thoroughly read and understand the licensing agreement before purchasing.
  2. Overbuying Licenses: Another common mistake is purchasing more licenses than necessary. This often happens when organizations don’t accurately assess their needs before buying. It’s essential to thoroughly assess your organization’s needs to avoid wasting money on unnecessary licenses.
  3. Underbuying Licenses: On the flip side, some organizations don’t purchase enough licenses, which can lead to non-compliance and potential fines. Again, conducting a thorough assessment of your needs can help avoid this issue.
  4. Not Keeping Track of Licenses: VMware licenses must be managed and tracked to ensure compliance. Failing to do so can lead to lost licenses, non-compliance, and potential fines. It’s essential to have a system in place for tracking and managing your licenses.
  5. Not Considering Future Needs: When purchasing VMware licenses, it’s important to consider your current and future needs. Failing to do so can lead to a lack of necessary resources in the future, which can hinder your organization’s growth and development.


  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, enhancing organizational efficiency.