vSphere Standard or Enterprise Plus?

Whenever it is time to renew some vSphere licenses, this question always come up… Enterprise Plus costs more money than Standard licensing…Do I really need Enterprise Plus? And if so, why?

Typical IT answer here (why not, right?), it depends. It depends on many factors and features that you may or may not be using. It also depends on the number and type of Clusters that you have.

Enterprise Plus licensing does include all of the Standard features, and then offers some more listed below:

  • Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS): features that automates the allocation of computing resources, such as CPU and memory among all virtual machines in a cluster (hands down the most important feature Ent Plus provides).
  • Distributed Switches (vDS): Standard Switch rules that can be easily applies to every host. Standard switches are included with Standard licenses, however, each host will own it’s own set of network settings (leaves room for errors/downtime).
  • Distributed Power Management (DPM): This features allows hosts to power themselves down when not needed and power back on when they are needed. I have not seen many organizations leverage this, so I would say that this is not a deal breaker for most.
  • Storage DRS: Just like DRS (for CPU/Memory) but for storage instead. Create several datastores in a Storage cluster and allow this feature to balance and place the disks in the datastores that make the most sense.
  • Network I/O Control (NIOC): NIOC allows admins to create network resource pools in order to prioritize the traffic to the most critical applications. Overall a powerful tool for optimizing network and storage performance, prioritizing traffic, and simplifying management.
  • Virtual Machine Encryption: Feature to allow data-at-rest encryption for a single or multiple VMs.
  • Fault Tolerance (FT) CPUs: Enterprise Plus supports FT up to 8x vCPUs while Standard only supports up to 2x of them.
  • Enhanced vCenter vMotion: Useful feature if you have multiple vCenters linked together. This can apply to both, on-premise or to cloud based instances too.
  • NVIDIA GPU Support: Accelerate AI/ML and graphics workloads by supporting multiple vGPUs per VM.

Not all your hosts/clusters need Enterprise Plus features? No problem, simply keep some Standard licenses for those basic workloads and save some funds.

Want to check out the full list of features from VMware’s official site? Click here