Effective June 15th, 2010

This policy updates the definition of a "Processor" in the VMWARE MASTER END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT to mean a single, physical chip that houses no more than the number of processor cores as defined by the description of the Software licensed, and set forth in the license portal or applicable documentation for the Software. Your use of the Software is limited to Processor with up to six (6) cores, except for the following Software editions in which your use of the Software is limited to Processor with up to twelve (12) cores: VMware vSphere Advanced and VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus.

This policy update will also be reflected in the next applicable version of the VMWARE MASTER END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT. Unless otherwise modified herein, the remaining terms of the VMWARE MASTER END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT shall remain in full force and effect and in the event of a conflict, the terms in this notice shall control.

VMware vSphere licenses come with two different entitlements on number of cores allowed per Processor:

  • Software Licenses with six(6) cores per Processor restriction: vSphere Essentials, vSphere Essentials Plus, vSphere Standard and vSphere Enterprise
  • Software Licenses with twelve(12) cores per Processor restriction: vSphere Advanced and vSphere Enterprise Plus

    As the core density per processor increases, customers may want to deploy their VMware software products on Processors which have more cores than their entitlement permits. Customers in these situations have two options:

    1) Upgrade to a different VMware software edition with higher core per processor entitlements, sufficient for number of cores on their processor OR

    2) Combine multiple VMware software licenses on a single host. Licensing Policy allows combining licenses of same software on single processor.

    However, the Policy does not allow splitting a single processor license across multiple processors, for example, customers may not use one, 12-core processor License on two processors, with 6 cores each.

    Example: A customer has previously purchased vSphere Enterprise licenses. Recall that each vSphere Enterprise license may be deployed on a processor with up to 6 cores. However, the customer now wants to use these licenses on a newly acquired server that has processor with 12 cores. The customer has two options:

    • Upgrade the vSphere Enterprise license to vSphere Enterprise Plus, which provides a 12-core entitlement and additional OR
    • Use two (2) vSphere Enterprise licenses for each processor with 12 cores.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is a multi-core processor?
    Intel and AMD have announced new x86 processors that combine multiple independent central processing units ("cores") on a single silicon chip. These processors, generally referred to as multi-core processors, offer increased performance compared to conventional processor designs. Multi-core processors also reduce heat dissipation, a benefit referred to as "higher performance per watt."

    What benefits should VMware customers expect to see from multi-core processors?
    Published performance benchmarks for multi-core systems show significant gains over single-core systems. Each processor core provides resources for one or more virtual machines, increasing the scalability of the VMware virtual infrastructure and offering even more fine-grained resource isolation. Server consolidation in virtual machines particularly benefits from the naturally partitioned processing capacity provided by additional cores.

    Which VMware products does this affect?
    This policy affects all the VMware vSphere Products i.e. vSphere Essentials, vSphere Essentials Plus, vSphere Standard, vSphere Enterprise, vSphere Advanced and vSphere Enterprise Plus

    How does this policy affect my licensing costs on servers with less than 6 cores per processor?
    A. Software Licenses with six(6) cores per Processor restriction: Customers may use one(1), 6-core license for these processors

    B. Software Licenses with twelve (12) cores per Processor restriction: Customers may use one (1), 12-core license for these processors.

    How does this policy affect my licensing costs on servers between 7 and 12 cores per processor?
    A. Software Licenses with six(6) cores per Processor restriction: Customers may combine two(2), 6-core license for these processors

    B. Software Licenses with twelve (12) cores per Processor restriction: Customers may use one (1), 12-core license for these processors.

    How does this policy affect my licensing costs on servers with more than 12 cores per processor?
    Though VMware Licensing Policy allows combining licenses of same software on a single host, we are reviewing the Licensing Policy and feasibility as x86 processors with greater number of cores become available.

    What multi-core server models are supported?
    Only servers listed in the Systems Compatibility Guide for VMware vSphere are supported. As VMware certifies additional servers with multi-core processors, they will be added to the Systems Compatibility Guide.

    When did this licensing change become effective?
    This licensing policy became effective on May 21st, 2009. Support for specific multi-core processors is effective when servers containing these processors have been certified and added to the relevant Systems Compatibility Guide.

    If I want to understand more about multi-core technology, where should I go?
    Learn more about dual-core technology at http://www.intel.com/technology/advanced_comm/multicore.htm or http://multicore.amd.com.

    I have an Enterprise License Agreement (ELA). How does this Policy impact my agreement?
    Customers with Enterprise License Agreements (ELA) shall contact their VMware Sales Associate or VMware authorized Partners, should there be questions or clarifications needed.