With this week’s release of version 5, VMware has changed the way in which vSphere is licensed, and provoked a flurry of complaint. Elias Khnaser is amongst the disgruntled, and does a good job of explaining his concerns. Companies like VKernel have been quick to capitalize upon the grumbles, and competitors such as Citrix and Microsoft must be hard at work trying to work out if this gives them an opportunity to poach customers from the industry leader. VMware finds itself in a difficult position, as the company’s old pricing model was not well suited to the next generation of RAM-laden multi-core servers; customers were beginning to get more for their license dollars than VMware felt was fair. In responding, though, the company appears to have tipped the balance too far the other way and unleashed a lot of noisy criticism. It’s worth noting that VMware is still arguing that “we believe 90+% of our customers will not see a licensing cost increase,” and CTO Steve Herrod also discusses the new model on camera for CloudCover TV’s Jo Maitland. Despite Savio Rodrigues’ assertion on InfoWorld that “vSphere 5 pricing could accelerate the shift toward a mixture of commercial and open source products in the virtualization arena,” it remains possible that VMware has the pricing more or less right, that all the noise is coming from a vocal minority, and that “90+%” are just quietly getting on with it.