Veeam has recently released the long-awaited Update 4 to their Backup and Replication 9.5 product and with it has come some changes to how they deal with licensing. As workloads that need to be protected/backed up/made available have moved from being 100% on-premises and inside our vSphere or Hyper-V environments to mixes of on-prem, off-prem, on physical, public cloud, etc. my guess is their customers have asked for a way to make that protection and licensing portable.In Veeam’s move they have decided this can be solved by creating per instance licensing, which is similar to how you consume many other cloud based services. This rides along with the established perpetual licensing we still have for VBR and Veeam Availability Suite.
I will be honest and say that the upgrade was not as smooth as I would have hoped. Now that I’ve got to the bottom of my own licensing issues I’ll post here what I’ve learned to hopefully keep you from experiencing the same headaches. It’s worth noting that there is a FAQ on this but the content is varying quite a bit as this gets rolled out.
How We Got Here
In the past if you were using nothing but Veeam Backup and Replication (VBR) you did all your licensing by the socket count of protected hypervisors. After that came along Veeam Agents for Windows and Linux and we had the addition subscriptions levels for VAW Server, VAW Workstations, and VAL. As these can be managed and deployed via the Veeam Console this license was required to be installed on your VBR server as well so you now had 2 separate licenses files that were commingled on the server to create the entire solution for protecting VBR and Agent workloads.
Now as we look at the present and future Veeam has lots of different products that are subscription based. Protecting Office365, AWS instances, and Veeam’s orchestration product are all per consumable unit subscriptions. Further when you consider that due to Veeam’s Service Provider program you as an end customer have the option of either buying and subscribing directly from a VAR or “renting” those licenses from a server provider. As you keep counting up you can see where this model needed (and still needs) streamlined.
Update 4 License Types
So that brings us to the here and now. For now and for as far as I can get anyone to tell me perpetual (a.k.a. per socket) licensing for Veeam Backup and Replication and the Veeam Availability Suite which includes VBR and VeeamONE is here to stay. Any new products though will be licensed through a per instance model going forward. In the middle there is some murkiness so let’s take a look at the options.
- Perpetual (per socket) only. This is your traditional Backup and Replication license, licensed per protected socket of hypervisor. You still have to obtain a new Update 4 license from my.veeam.com but works exactly the same. If you have a Veeam Server without any paid VAW/VAL subscriptions attached you can simply just run the installer and continue on your current license. An interesting note is that once you install your Update 4 perpetual license and if you have no instances it will automatically provide you with 1 instance per socket up to a maximum of 6. That’s actually a nice little freebie for those of us with a one-off physical box here or there or a just a couple of cloud instances.
- Instance based. These are the “portable licenses” that can be used for VBR protected VMs, VAW, VAL, Veeam for AWS, etc. If you are an existing customer you can contact licensing support and migrate your per socket to this if you want, but unless you are looking at a ROBO site, need more cloud protection or have a very distributed use case for Veeam (small on-prem, workstations, physical servers, cloud instances) I don’t see this being a winner price-wise. For those of us with traditional workloads perpetual makes the most sense because it doesn’t matter how many VMs we have running on our hypervisors, they are still all covered. If you’d like to do the math for yourself they’ve provided a instance cost calculator.
I will mention that I think they are missing the idea in the calculator that unless they are doing something magical this is based on buying new. Renewals of perpetual licenses should be far cheaper than the given number and I’ve never heard of a subscription license service having a renewal rate.It is also worth noting that even if you aren’t managing your licensed (as opposed to free) Veeam Agent for Windows and Linux with VBR you will need to go to the Update 4 License management screen in my.veeam.com and convert your subscription licenses to Update 4 instances ones to be able to use the 3.0 versions of the software. It doesn’t cost any thing or make a difference at this point, but while you could buy subscription licenses in any numbers you choose per instance licenses have a minimum level of 10 and are only sold in 10 packs. So while for now it might be nice that your licenses are rounded up understand you’ll have to renew at the rounded up price as well.
Further its worth noting that back when VAW was subscription there were separate lines for workstations and servers, with 1 server license costing the same as 3 workstations. In the new per instance model this is reflected by consumption. A server of any kind will consume 1 instance, but a workstation will only consume 0.33 of one. Same idea, different way of viewing it.
- The Hybrid License. This is what you need if you need/want to manage both perpetual and instances from the same VBR server . If you previously had per socket for your VMs and subscription licenses for VAW/VAL you will need to hit the merge button under your Update 4 license management screen. This only works if you are the primary license administrator for all support IDs you wish to merge.
Just to make sure it’s clear in previous versions you could have both a per socket and subscription license installed at the same time; this is no longer the case thus the reason for option 3. You cannot have a 1 and a 2 installed on the same server, the 2 will override the 1. So if you are consuming both perpetual and per instance under the same VBR server you must be sure to merge those licenses on my.veeam.com. In order to do so you will need any and all licenses/Support IDs to be merged to be under the same Primary License Administrator. If you did not do this previously you will need to open a case with support to get a common Primary set for your Support IDs.
As we begin, or continue, to move our production workloads from not only our own datacenters to others as well as the public cloud those workloads will continue to need to be protected. For those of us that use Veeam to do so handling the licensing has, for now, been made simpler and is still cost effective once you can get it lined out for yourself.