VMw are Cloud on Azure.
June 8, 2018 1 Comment I work for a global channel partner of Microsoft , VMware & AWS and one of the teammates recently asked me the question whether VMware Cloud on Azure (similar solution to VMware Cloud on AWS) would be a reality.
It turned out that this was on the back of a statement from VMware CEO Pat where he supposedly mentioned “We have interest from our customers to expand our relationships with Google, Microsoft and others” & “We have announced some incremental expansions of those agreements“, which seems to have been represented in a CNBC article as that VMware cloud is coming to Azure (Insinuating the reality of vSphere on Azure bare metal servers).
I’d sent my response back to the teammate outlining what I think of it and the reasoning for my thought process but I thought it would be good to get the thoughts of the wider community also as its a very relevant question for many, especially if you work in the channel, work for the said vendors or if you are a customer currently using the said technologies or planning on to moving to VMware Cloud on AWS.
Some context first,.
I’ve been following the whole VMWare Cloud on Azure discussion since it first broke out last year and ever since VMware Cloud on AWS (VMWonAWS) was announced, there were some noise from Microsoft, specifically Corey Sanders (Corporate vice president of Azure) about their own plans to build a VMWonAWS like solution inside Azure data centers.
Initially it looked like it was just a publicity stunt from MSFT to steal the thunder from AWS during the announcement of VMConAWS but later on, details emerged that, unlike VMWonAWS.
This was not a jointly engineered solution between VMware & Microsoft
but a standalone vSphere solution running on FlexPod (NetApp storage and Cisco UCS servers) managed by a VMware vCAN partner who happened to host their solution in the same Azure DC, with L3 connectivity to Azure Resource Manager.
Unlike VMWonAWS, there were no back door connectivity to the core Azure services, but only public API integration via internet.
It was also not supposed to run vSphere on native Azure b are metal servers unlike how it is when it comes to VMWonAWS.
All the details around these were available on 2 main blog posts, one from Corey @ MSFT (here) and another from Ajay Patel (SVP, cloud products at VMware) here but the contents on these 2 articles have since been changed to either something completely different or the original details were completely removed.
Before Corey’s post was modified number of times, he mentioned that they started working initially with the vCAN partner but later on, engaged VMware directly for discussions around potential tighter integration and at the same time, Ajay’s post (prior to being removed) also corroborated with the same.
But none of that info is there anymore and while the 2 companies are likely talking behind the scene for some collaboration no doubt, I am not sure whether its safe for anyone to assume they are working on a VMWonAWS like solution when it comes to Azure. VMWonAWS is a genuinely integrated solution due to months and months of joint engineering and while VMware may have incentives to do something similar with Azure, it’s difficult to see the commercial or the PR benefit of such a joint solution to Microsoft as that would ruin their exiting messaging around AzureStack which is supposed to be their only & preferred Hybrid Cloud solution.
In my view, what Pat Gelsinger was saying above when he says (“we have interest from our customers to expand our relationship with Microsoft and others”) likely means something totally different to building a VMware Cloud on Azure in a way that runs vSphere stack on native Azure hardware.
VMware’s vision has always been Any Cloud, Any App, Any device which they announced at VMWorld 2016 (read the summary http://chansblog.com/vmworld-2016-us-key-annoucements-day-1/) and the aspiration (based in my understand ing at least) was to be the glue between all cloud platforms and on-premises which is a great one.
So when it comes to Azure, the only known plans (which are probably what Pat was alluding to below) were the 2 things as per below, To use NSX to bridge on-premises (& other cloud platforms ) to Azure by extending network adjacency right in to the Azure edge, in a similar way to how you can stretch networks to VMWonAWS.
NSX-T version 2.2.0 which GA’d on Wednesday the 6th of June can now support creating VMware virtual networks in Azure and being able to manage those networks within your NSX data center inventory.
All the details can be found here.
What Pat was probably doing was setting the scene for this announcement but it was not news, as that was on the roadmap for a long time since VMworld 2016.
This probably should not be taken as VMware on Azure bare metal is a reality
at least at this stage.
In addition to that, the VMware Cloud Services (VCS – A SaaS platform announced in VMworld 2017 – more details here) will have more integration with native AWS, native Azure and GCP which is also what Pat is hinting here when he says more integration with Azure, but that too was always on the roadmap.
At least that’s my t ak e on VMware’s plans and their future strategy.
Things can change in a flash as the IT m ark et is full of changes these days with so many competitors as well as co-petitors.
But I just cant see, at least in the immediate future, there being a genuine VMware Cloud on Azure solution that runs vSphere on bare metal Azure hardware, that is similar to VMWonAWS, despite what that article from CNBC seems to insinuate.
What do you all think.
Any insiders with additional knowledge or anyone with a different theory.
Keen to get people’s thoughts.
Azure, Microsoft, , VMWonAWS Ajay, , Azure, CNBC, Corey, , , VMWonAWS.
VMWonAzure Apple WWDC 2017 – Artificial Intelligence
Virtual Reality & Mixed Reality.
June 6, 2017 Leave a comment.
As a technologist, I like to stay close to key new developments & trends in the world of digital technology to understand how these can help users address common day to day problems more efficiently.
Digital disruption and technologies behind that such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), IoT, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) & Mixed Reality (MR) are hot topics as they have the potential to significantly reshape how consumers will consume products and services going forward.
I am a keen follower on these disruptive technologies because the potential impact they can have on traditional businesses in an increasingly digital, connected world is huge in my view.
Something I’ve heard today coming out of Apple, the largest tech vendor on the planet about how they intend on using various AI technologies along with VR and AR technologies in their next product upgrades across the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, App store, Mac…etc made me want to summarise those announcements and add my thoughts on how Apple will potentially lead the way to mass adoption of such digital technologies by many organisations of tomorrow.
Apple’s WWDC 2017 announcements.
I’ve been an Apple fan since the first iPhone launch as they have been the prime example when it comes to tech vendors who utilizes cutting edge IT technologies to provide an elegant solution to address day to day requirements in a simple and effective manner that providers a rich user experience.
I practically live on my iPhone every day for work and non-work related activities and also appreciate their other ecosystem products such as the MacBook, Apple watch, Apple TV and the iPad.
This is typically not because they are technologically so advanced, but simply because they provide a simple, seamless user experience when it comes to using them to increase my productivity during day to day activities.
So naturally I was keen on finding out about the latest announcements that came out of Apple’s latest World Wide Developer Conference event that was held earlier today in San Jose.
Having listened to the event and the announcements, I was excited by the new product and software upgrades announced but more than that, I was super excited about couple of related technology integrations Apple are coming out with which include a mix of AI, VR & AR to provide an even better user experience by integrating these technology advancements in to their product offerings.
Now before I go any further, I want to highlight this is NOT a summary of their new product announcements.
What interested me out of these announcements were not so much the new apple products, but mainly how Apple, as a pioneer in using cutting edge technologies to create positive user experiences like no other technology vendor on the planet, are going to be using these potentially revolutionary digital technologies to provide a hugely positive user experience.
This is relevant to every single business out there that manufacture a product, provides a service or solution offering to their customers as anyone can potentially look to incorporate the same capabilities in a similar or even a more creative and an innovative manner than Apple to provide a positive user experience in a similar fashion.
Use of Artificial Intelligence.
Today Apple announced the increased use of various AI technologies everywhere within the future apple products as summarised below Increased use of Artificial Intelligence technologies by the personal assistant “Siri”, to provide a more positive & a more personalised user experience In the upcoming version of the Watch OS 4 for Apple Watch, AI technologies such as Machine Learning is going to be used to power the new Siri face such that Siri can now provide you with dynamic updates that are specifically relevant to you and what you do (context awareness).
The new iOS 11 will include a new voice for Siri, which now uses Deep Learning Technologies (AI) behind the scene to offer a more natural and expressive voice that sounds less machine and more human.
Siri will also use Machine Learning on each device (“On device learning”) to understand specifically what’s more relevant to you based on what you do on your device so that more personalised interactions can be made by Siri – In other words, Siri is becoming more context aware thanks to Machine Learning to provide a truly personal assistant service unique to each user including predictive tips based on what you are likely to want to do / use next.
Siri will use Machine Learning to automatically memorise new words from the content you read (i.e.
News) so these words are now included on the dictionary & predictive texts automatically if you want to type them.
Use of Machine Learning in iOS 11 within the photo app to enable various new capabilities to make life easier with your photos Next version of Apple Mac OS, code named High Sierra, will supports additional features on the photo app including advanced face recognition capabilities which utilises AI technologies such as Advanced convolution Neural networks in order to let you group / filter your photos actually based on who’s on them.
Machine learning capabilities will also be used to automatically understand the context of each photo based on the content of the photo to identify photos from events such as sporting events, weddings…etc and automatically group them / create events / memories.
Using computer vision capabilities to create seamless loops on live photos.
Use of Machine Learning to activate palm rejection on the iPad during writing using the apple Pen.
Most Machine Learning capabilities are now available for 3rd party programmers via the iOS API’s such as Vision API (enables iOS app developers harness machine learning for face tracking, face detection, landmarks, text detection, rectangle detection, barcode detection, object tracking, image registration), Natural Language API (provides language identification, tokenization, lemmatisation, part of speech, named entity recognition).
Introduction of Machine Learning Model Converter, 3rd party ML contents can be converted to native iOS 11 Core ML functions.
Use of Machine Learning to improve graphics on iOS 11 Another Mac OS high sierra updates will include Metal 2 (the Apple API that provides app developers near direct access to the GPU capabilities) that will now integrate Machine Learning to graphic processing to provide advanced graphical capabilities such as Metal performance shaders, Recurrent neural network kernels, binary convolution, dilated convolution, L-2 norm pooling, Dilated pooling etc.
Newly announced Mac Pro graphics powered by AMD Radeon Vega can provide up to 22 teraflops of half precision compute power which is specifically relevant for machine learning related content development.
Use of Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality.
Announcement on the introduction of Metal API for Virtual Reality to be used by developers – That includes Virtual Reality integration to Mac OS High Sierra Metal2 API to enable features such as VR-optimised display pipeline for video editing using VR and other related updates such as viewport arrays, system trace stereo timelines, GPU queue priorities, Frame debugger stereoscopic visualisation.
Availability of the ARKit for iOS 11 to create Augmented Reality straight out of iPhone using its camera and built in Machine Learning to identify contents on the live video, real time.
Use of IoT capabilities.
Apple Watch integration for bi directional information synchronisation between Apple Watch and ordinary gym equipment so that your apple watch will now act as an IoT gateway to your typical gym equipment’s like the Treadmill or the cross trainer to provide more accurate measurements from the apple watch and the gym equipment will adjust the workouts based on those readings.
Apple watch OS 4 will also provide core Bluetooth connectivity to other devices such as various healthcare tools that open the connectivity of those devices through the Apple Watch.
The use cases for digital technologies, such as AI, AR & VR in a typical corporate or an enterprise environment to create a better product / service / solution offering like Apple has used them, is immense and is often only limited by one’s level of creativity & imaginations.
Many organisations around the world, from other tech or product vendors to Independent Software Vendors to an ordinary organisation like a high street shop or a supermarket can all benefit from the creative application of new digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Internet Of Things in to their product / service / solution offerings to provide their customers with richer user experience as well as exciting new solutions.
Topics like AI and AR are hot topics in the industry and some organisations are already evaluating the use of them while some already benefit from some of these technologies made easily accessible to the enterprise through platforms such as public cloud (Microsoft Cortana Analytics and Azure Machine Learning capabilities available on Microsoft Azure for example) platforms.
But there are also a large number of organisations who are not yet fully investigating how these technologies can potentially make their business more innovative, differentiated or at the very least, more efficient.
If you belong to the latter group, I would highly encourage you to start thinking about how these technologies can be adopted by your business creatively.
This applies to any organisation of any size in the increasingly digitally connected world of today.
If you have a trusted partner for IT, I’d encourage you to talk to them about the same as the chances are that they will have more collective experience in helping similar businesses adopt such technologies which is more beneficial than trying to get their on your own, especially if you are new to it all.
Digital disruption is here to stay and Apple have just shown how advanced technologies that come out of digital disruption can be used to create better products / solutions for average customers.
Pretty soon, AI / AR / IoT backed capabilities will become the norm rather than the exception and how would your business compete if you are not adequately prepared to embrace them.
Keen to get your thoughts.
You can watch the recorded version of the Apple WWDC 2017 event here.
Image credit goes to #Apple #Apple #WWDC #2017 #AI #DeepLearning #MachineLearning #ComputerVision #IoT #AR #AugmentedReality #VR #VirtualReality #DigitalDisruption #Azure #Microsoft Artificial Intelligence, Azure 2017, AI, Apple, AR, AugmentedReality, Azure, ComputerVision, DeepLearning, DigitalDisruption, , MachineLearning, Microsoft, VirtualReality, VR, WWDC Time of the Hybrid Cloud?.
January 22, 2016 Leave a comment.
A little blog on something slightly less technical but equally important today.
Not a marketing piece but just my thoughts on something I came across that I thought would be worth writing something about.
I came across an interesting article this morning based on a Gartner research on last years global IT spend where it was revealed that global IT spent was down by about $216 Billion during 2015.
However during the same year data center IT spend was up by 1.8% and is forecasted to go up to 3% within 2016.
Everyone from IT vendors to resellers to every IT sales person you come across these days, on Internet blogs / news / LinkedIn or out in the field seem to believe (and make you believe) that the customer owned data center is dead for good and everything is or should be moving to the cloud (Public cloud that is).
If all that is true, it made me wonder how the data center spend went up when in fact that should have gone down.
One might think this data center spend itself was possibly fuelled by the growth in the public cloud infrastructure expansion due to increased demand on Public cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS.
Make total sense right.
Perhaps in the outset. But upon closer inspection, there’s a slightly complicated story, the way I see it.
P art 1 – Contribution from the Public cloud
Public cloud platforms like AWS are growing fast and aggressively and there’s no denying that.
They address a need in the industry to be able to use a global, shared platform that can scale infinitely on demand and due to the sheer economy of scale these shared platform providers have, customers benefit from cheaper IT costs, especially compared to having to spec up a data center for your occasional peak requirements (that may only be hit once a month) and having to pay for it all upfront regardless of the actual utilisation can be an expensive exercise for many.
With a Public cloud platform, the up front cost is cheaper and you pay per usage which makes it an attractive platform for many.
Sure there are more benefits of using a public cloud platform than just the cost factor, but essentially “the cost” has always been the most key underpinning driver for enterprises to adopt public cloud since its inception.
Most new start ups (Netflix’s of the world) and even some established enterprise customers who don’t have the baggage of legacy apps, (By legacy apps, I’m referring to client-server type of applications typically run on Microsoft Windows platform), are by default electing to predominantly use a cheaper Public cloud platform like AWS to locate their business application stack without owning their own data center kit.
This will continue to be the case for those customers and therefore will continue to drive the expansion of Public cloud platforms like AWS.
And I’m sure a significant portion of the growth of the data center spend in 2015 would have come from the increase of these pure Public cloud usage causing the cloud providers to buy yet more data center hardware.
P art 2 – Contribution from the “Other” cloud.
The point is however, not all the data center spend increment within 2015 would have come from just Public cloud platforms like AWS or Azure buying extra kit for their data centres. When you look at numbers from traditional hardware vendors, HP’s numbers appear to be up by around 25% for the year and others such as Dell, Cisco, EMC also appear to have grown their sales in 2015 which appear to have contributed towards this increased data center spend. It is no secret that none of these public cloud platforms use traditional data center hardware vendors kit in their Public cloud data centres. They often use commodity hardware or even build servers & networking equipment themselves (lot cheaper).
So where would the increased sales for these vendors have come from.
My guess is that they likely have come from most enterprise customers deploying Hybrid Cloud solutions that involves customers own hardware being deployed in their own / co-location / off prem / hosted data centres (customer still own their kit) along with using an enterprise friendly Public cloud platform (mostly Microsoft Azure or VMware vCloud Air) acting as just another segment of their overall data center strategy. If you consider most of the established enterprise customers, the chances are that they have lots of legacy applications that are not always cloud friendly.
By legacy applications, I mean typical WINTEL applications that typically conform to the client server architecture.
These apps would have started life in the enterprise since Windows NT / 2000 days and have grown with their business over time.
These applications are typically not cloud friendly (industry buzz word is “Cloud Native”) and often moving these as is on to a Public cloud platform like AWS or Azure is commercially or technically not feasible for most enterprises.
(I’ve been working in the industry since Windows 2000 days and I can assure you that these type of apps still make up a significant number out there).
And this “baggage” often prevents many enterprises from purely using just Public cloud (sure there are other things like compliance that gets in the way too of Public cloud but over time, Public cloud system will naturally begin to cater properly for compliance requirements…etc. so these obstacles would be short lived).
While a small number of those enterprises will have the engineering budget and the resources necessary to re-design and re-develop these legacy app stacks to be a more modern & cloud native stack, most of them will not have that luxury. Often such redevelopment work are expensive and most importantly, time consuming and disruptive.
So, for most of these customers, the immediate tactical solution is to resort to a Hybrid cloud solution where the legacy “baggage” app stack live on a legacy data center and all newly developed apps will likely be developed as cloud native (designed and developed from ground up) on an enterprise friendly Public cloud system such as Microsoft Azure or VMware vCloud Air.
An overarching IT operations management platform (industry buzz word “Cloud Management Platform”) will then manage both the customer owned (private) portion and the Public portion of the Hybrid cloud solution seamlessly (with caveats of course).
I think this is what has been happening in 2015 and this may also explain the growth of legacy hardware vendor sales at the same time. Since I work for a fairly large global reseller, I’ve witnessed this increased hardware sales first hand from the traditional data center hardware vendor partners (HP, Cisco…etc.) through our business too which adds up.
I believe this adoption of Hybrid cloud solutions will continue through out 2016 and possibly beyond for a good while, at least until such time that all legacy apps are eventually all phased out but that could be a long while away.
So there you have it.
In my view, Public cloud will continue to grow but if you think that it will replace customer owned data center kit anytime soon, that’s probably unlikely.
At least 2015 has proved that both Public cloud and Private cloud platforms (through the guise of Hybrid cloud) have grown together and my thoughts are that this will continue to be the case for a good while.
Who knows, I may well be proven wrong and within 6 months, AWZ & Azure & Google Public clouds will devour all private cloud platforms and everybody would be happy on just Public cloud :-).
But the common sense suggest otherwise.
I can see lot more Hybrid cloud deployments in the immediate future (at least few years) using mainly Microsoft Azure and VMware vCloud Air platforms. Based on technologies available today, these 2 in my view stand out as probably the best suited Public cloud platforms with a strong Hybrid cloud compatibility given their already popular presence in the enterprise data center (for hosting legacy apps efficiently) as well as each having a good overarching cloud management platform that customers can use to manage their Hybrid Cloud environments with.
Thoughts and comments are welcome….!.
Azure, Microsoft, vCloud Air, Azure Pack, Azure Stack, Hybrid Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Private Cloud, Vmware vCloud Air, vRealize Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Licensing – Impact on Private Cloud / Virtualisation Platforms.
December 6, 2015 4 Comments It looks like the guys at the Redmond campus have released a brand new licensing model for Windows Server 2016 (currently on technical preview 4, due to be released in 2016).
I’ve had a quick look as Microsoft licensing has always been an important matter, especially when it comes to datacentre virtualisation and private cloud platforms. Unfortunately I cannot say I’m impressed from what I’ve seen (quite the opposite actually) and the new licensing is going to sting most customers, especially those customers that host private cloud or large VMware / Hyper-V clusters with high density servers.
What’s new (Licensing wise)?.
Here are the 2 key licensing changes.
From Windows Server 2016 onwards
licensing for all editions (Standard and Datacenter) will now be based on physical cores, per CPU.
A minimum of 16 core license (sold in packs of 2, so a minimum of 8 licenses to cover 16 cores) is required per each physical server. This can cover either 2 processors with 8 cores each or a single processor with 16 cores in the server.
Note that this is the minimum you can buy.
If your server has additional cores, you need to buy additional licenses in packs of 2.
So for a dual socket server with 12 cores in each socket, you need 12 x 2 core Windows Server DC license + CAL).
The most obvious change is the announcement of core based Windows server licensing.
Yeah you read it correct…!.
Microsoft is jumping on the increasing core count availability in the modern processors and trying to cache in on it by removing their socket based licensing approach that’s been in place for over a decade and introducing a core based license instead.
And they don’t stop there….
One might expect if they switch to a CPU core based licensing model
that those with smaller cores per CPU socket (4 or 6) would benefit from it, right.
Wrong….!!! By introducing a mandatory minimum number of cores you need to license per server (regardless of the actual physical core count available in each CPU of the server), they are also making you pay a guaranteed minimum licensing fee for every server (almost as a guaranteed minimum income per server which at worst, .
Would be the same as Windows server 2012 licensing revenue based on CPU sockets)
Now Microsoft has said that the cost of each license (covers 2 cores) would be priced at 1/8th the cost of a 2 processor license for corresponding 2012 R2 license.
In my view, that’s just a deliberate smoke screen which is aimed at making it look like they are keeping the effective Windows Server 2016 licensing costs same as they were on Windows Server 2012, but in reality, only for small number of server configurations (servers with up to 8 cores per server which no one use really anymore as most new servers in the datacentre, especially those that would run some form of a Hypervisor would typically use 10/12/16 core CPUs these days). See the below screenshot (taken from the Windows 2016 licensing datasheet published by Microsoft) to understand where this new licensing model will introduce additional costs and where it wont.
The difference in cost to customers.
Take the following scenario for example.
You have a cluster of 5 VMware ESXi / Microsoft Hyper-V hosts each with 2 x 16core Intel E5-4667 or an Intel E7-8860 range of CPU’s per server.
Lets ignore the cost of CAL for the sake of simplicity (you need to buy CAL’s under existing 2012 licensing too anyway) and take in to account the list price of a Windows to compare the effect of the new 2016 licensing model on your cluster.
List price of Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter SKU = $6,155.00 (per 2 CPU sockets)
Cost of 2 core license pack for Windows server 2016 (1/8th the cost or W2K12 as above) = $6,155.00 / 8 = $769.37.
The total cost to license 5 nodes in the hypervisor cluster for full VM migration (VMotion / Live migration) across all hosts would be as follows Before (with Windows 2012 licensing) = $6,155.00 x 5 = $30,775.00.
After (with Windows 2016 licensing) = $769.37 x 16 x 5 = $61,549.60.
Now obviously these numbers are not important (they are just list prices, customers actually pay heavily discounted prices).
But what is important is the percentage of the price increase which is a whopping 199.99% compared to current Microsoft licensing costs….
This is absurd in my view……!! The most absurd part of it is the fact that having to license every underlying CPU in every hypervisor host within the cluster with the windows server license (often with datacentre license) under the current license model was already absurd enough anyway. Even though a VM will only ever run on a single hosts’ CPU at any given time, Microsoft’s strict stance on immobility of Windows licenses meant that any virtualisation / private cloud customer had to license all the CPU’s in the underlying hypervisor cluster to run a single VM, which meant that allocating a Windows Server Datacenter license to cover every CPU socket in the cluster was indirectly enforced by Microsoft, despite how absurd it was in this cloud day and age.
And now they are effectively taxing you on the core count too?.
That’s possibly not short of a day light robbery scenario for those Microsoft customers.
FYI – Given below is the approximate percentage increment of the Windows Server licensing for any virtualisation / private cloud customer with any more than 8 cores per CPU in a typical 5 server cluster where VM mobility through VMware VMotion or Hyper-V Live Migration across all the hosts is enabled as standard.
Dual CPU server with 10 cores per CPU = 125% Increment.
Dual CPU server with 12 cores per CPU = 150% Increment.
Dual CPU server with 14 cores per CPU = 175% Increment.
Dual CPU server with 18 cores per CPU = 225% Increment.
Now this is based on todays technology.
No doubt that the CPU core count is going to grow further and with it, the price increment is only just going to get more and more ridiculous.
It is pretty obvious what MS is attempting to achieve here.
With the ever increasing core count in CPUs
2 CPU server configurations are becoming (if not have already) the norm for lots of datacentre deployments and rather than be content with selling a datacentre license + CAL to cover the 2 CPUs in each server, they are now trying to benefit from every additional core that Moore’s law inevitably introduce on to the newer generation of CPUs.
We are already having 12 core processors becoming the norm in most corporate and enterprise datacentres where virtualisation on 2 socket servers with 12 or more is becoming the standard. (14, 16, 18 cores per socket are not rare anymore with the Intel Xeon E5 & E7 range for example).
I think this is a shocking move from Microsoft and I cannot quite see any justifiable reason as to why they’ve done this, other than pure greed and complete and utter disregard for their customers… As much as I’ve loved Microsoft Windows as an easy to use platform of choice for application servers over the last 15 odd years, I for once, will now be looking to advise my customers to strategically put in plans to move away from Windows as it is going to be price prohibitive for most, especially if you are going to have an on-premise datacentre with some sort of virtualisation (which most do) going forward.
Many customers have successfully standardised their enterprise datacentre on the much cheaper LAMP stack (Linux platform) as the preferred guest OS of choice for their server & Application stack already anyway.
Typically, new start-up’s (who don’t have the burden of legacy windows apps) or large enterprises (with sufficient man power with Linux skills) have managed to do this successfully so far but I think if this expensive Windows Server licensing does stay on, lost of other folks who’s traditionally been happy and comfortable with their legacy Windows knowledge (and therefore learnt to tolerate the already absurd Windows Server licensing costs) will now be forced to consider an alternative platform (or move 100% to public cloud).
If you retain your workload on-prem, Linux will naturally be the best choice available. For most enterprise customers, continuing to run their private cloud / own data centres using Windows servers / VMs on high capacity hypervisor nodes is going to be price prohibitive.
In my view, most of the current Microsoft Windows Server customers remained Microsoft Windows Server customers not by choice but mainly by necessity, due to the baggage of legacy Windows apps / familiarity they’ve all accumulated over the years and any attempt to move away from that would have been too complex / risky / time consuming….
However now, I think it has come to a point now where most customers are forced to re-write their app stack from ground up due to the way public cloud systems work….etc.
and while they are at it, it makes sense to chose a less expensive OS stack for those apps saving a bucket load of un-necessary costs in Windows Server licensing.
So possibly the time is right to bite the bullet and get on with embracing Linux?.
So, my advise for customers is as follows Tactical: Voice your displeasure at this new licensing model: Use all means available, including your Microsoft account manager, reseller, distributor, OEM vendor, social media….etc.
The more of a collective noise we all make, the louder it will collectively be heard (hopefully) by the powers at Microsoft.
Get yourself in to a Microsoft ELA for a reasonable length OR add Software Assurance (Pronto): If you have an ELA, MS have said they will let people carry on buying per processor licenses until the end of the ELA term.
So essentially that will let you lock yourself in under the current Server 2012 licensing terms for a reasonable length of time until you figure out what to do.
Alternatively, if you have SA, at the end of the SA term, MS will also let you define the total number of cores covered under the current per CPU licensing and will grant you an equal number of per core licenses so you are effectively not paying more for what you already have.
You may also want to enquire over provisioning / over buying your per proc licenses along with SA now itself for any known future requirements, in order to save costs.
Strategic: Put in a plan to move your entire workload on to public cloud: This is probably the easiest approach but not necessarily the smartest, especially if its better for you to host your own Datacenter given your requirements.
Also, even if you plan to move to public cloud, there’s no guarantee whether any other public cloud provider other than Microsoft Azure would be commercially viable to run Windows workloads, in case MS change the SPLA terms for 2016 too).
Put in a plan to move away from Windows to a different, cheaper platform for your workload: This is probably the best and the safest approach.
Many customers would have evaluated this at some point in the past but would have shied away from it as its a big change, and require people with the right skills.
Platforms like Linux have been enterprise ready for a long time now and there are a reasonable pool of skills in the market.
And if your on-premise environment is standardised on Linux, you can easily port your application over to many cheap public cloud portals too which are typically much cheaper than running on Windows VMs.
You are then also able to deploy true cloud native applications and also benefit from many open source tools and technologies that seem to be making a real difference in the efficiency of IT for your business.
This article and the views expressed in it are mine alone.
Comments / Thoughts are welcome P.
This kind of remind me of the vRAM tax that VMware tried to introduce a while back which monumentally backfired on them and VMware had to completely scrap that plan.
I hope enough customer pressure would hopefully cause Microsoft to back off too….
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New Windows Server 2016 Licensing
ridiculous Windows 2016 licensing, Server 2016, Windows 2016, Windows 2016 Licensing, Windows 2016 licensing on Hyper-V, Windows 2016 licensing on VMware, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2016 Licensing.