Looking at Veeam’s new Universal Licensing

Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to attend my fourth Veeam Vanguard Summit; if you aren’t familiar with the event, this is an experience like none other. I’ve written about the Vanguard program before, and chances are I’ll write about it again. The Summit is one pieceof the program, but in my opinion it is one of the most noteworthy components. In a nutshell, it is an opportunity for the Vanguards to spend time with some key Veeam staff, talk about current and upcoming technologies, and have some very deep NDA-level discussions.

There was a ton of great content presented to us, but I wanted to share some thoughts I had on Veeam’s new licensing model. I never thought I would ever be mentally engaged, let alone interested in a licensing talk. We’ve all had to deal with licenses and it is a far from fun topic. As a former IT Manager, it was also the bane of my existence, second only to printers. So when we started talking about Veeam’s new Universal Licensing, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself taking note.

VEEAM INSTANCE LICENSING

Veeam Products 2019-10For those unfamiliar with Veeam’s licensing history, Veeam started with (and still offers) socket-based licensing. You have two sockets with 12 cores each? Two socket licenses – nice and easy. As Veeam’s products have expanded (think along the lines of Veeam Agents), and as organizations started adopting the cloud, this model didn’t make sense anymore. Taking a look at the image on the left, you can see that Veeam’s product list has grown noticeably over time. This is what led to Instance-based licensing being introduced earlier this year. Its goal was to give customers an easy way to license capabilities based on need (i.e. backup a bunch of VMs and handful of physical hosts).

Unfortunately it also got a lot more complicated, as depending on the version of VBR you were running (Standard, Enterprise, Enterprise Plus), there were multipliers involved. If you need to use Agent for Windows, that will be 1 Instance on Standard, .5 Instances on Enterprise, or .33 Instances on Enterprise Plus. Needless to say, the waters were muddied. I’m sure in some situations, this new licensing made a ton of sense, and possibly saved a ton of cash. But by and large this model didn’t seem to sit well with most folks.

ENTER VEEAM UNIVERSAL LICENSING

Veeam Universal Licensing SimplifiedIn an effort to simplify things again, Veeam introduced Universal Licensing at the beginning of this month. Given how new it is, we had a full session on this topic at the Vanguard Summit. So what is it? In short, it is what Instance licensing should have been, in my opinion. With this new model, customers can purchase 10-packs of licenses and then use those licenses as they see fit.

Taking a look at the chart on the right, you can see how things are greatly simplified. No more multipliers, and no-more being locked-in with certain licenses. Say you have 10 physical hosts that are protected with VAW, but then you virtualise them. Now you can re-assign those licenses from VAW and keep protecting those machines as VMs. The best part: VUL operates at the Enterprise Plus feature set – this can be a great way to get the higher-end features into existing environments where the cost was hard to justify in the past.

A few things to note:

  1. Socket licensing is still available, so you aren’t forced to move over to VUL if you don’t need to;
  2. Three Agent licenses only requires 1 VUL … I like that math;
  3. NAS backup will only be licensed via VUL in 250 GB increments;
  4. VUL is an annual fee, which makes this a subscription-based license in essence.

WHERE DOES THIS MAKE THE MOST SENSE

I can see this licensing model being incredibly helpful for a lot of organizations out there. As workloads shift between private and public clouds, or even from physical to virtual (yes, there is still a ton of physical workloads), being able to bring your licenses with you is not only a great value, but a great convenience.

This can also be a great way to get Enterprise Plus into a lot of shops, particularly SMBs. Using Veeam’s own pricing calculator, let’s do some simple math:

  • 3 hosts with dual processors each
  • 30 VMs to be backed up

Under the Per-Socket licensing, 6 sockets of Veeam Availability Suite Enterprise Plus with Production-level support would go for $17,010.00 USD. On the flip side, 30 VMs of VAS (which would be licensed as Enterprise Plus) comes in at $4500 USD a year.

Subscription-based licenses will likely be a hot topic for years to come. Sometimes they make sense, and sometimes they don’t. In my opinion, which is based on working with business units that don’t like to pay for updated software, the idea of always having access to the latest and greatest version is quite appealing.

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