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The ultimate VMware ROBO guide

VMware's latest offering for companies that want to run virtualized workloads in multiple remote offices offers flexibility and resilience at a cheaper price.

For companies with small offices sprinkled in several areas, having an IT person at every site in the event of a problem may be too costly a proposition. One option for these businesses is to virtualize on vSphere to avoid a single point of failure when a server keels over.

But the ability to run virtualized applications at each site has also been an expense many organizations had difficulty justifying. To address this need, VMware announced its vSphere Remote Office Branch Office (ROBO) edition at VMworld 2014. This is a less-costly venture that adds flexibility for companies dispersed across several sites. This mini guide can help administrators determine if VMware ROBO is a good fit for their environment.

Stay on the ground or move to the cloud?

For a company that wants to run workloads in a remote office with some business continuity protections, such as high availability, virtualization is one option. But the maturity and pricing of the public cloud could sway the organization's decision-makers to lift remote workloads off premises.

How is licensing handled with vSphere ROBO?

VMware's vSphere product for remote and branch offices changes the typical licensing costs for its flagship virtualization platform. VMware has a standard and an advanced edition to match the availability needs for the business. These VMware ROBO editions each include licenses for 25 VMs per site and eliminate the cap on ESXi hosts.

What are the different vSphere options available?

This newest iteration of vSphere's ROBO offerings differs from previous versions in the number and the distribution of virtual machine licenses. VMware has revamped this product to add more flexibility with how VMs can be deployed. For businesses with one of the vSphere Essentials kits, VMware will allow those companies to transition over to a ROBO offering.

Next Steps

Ways to attain management and business continuity in remote offices

How to cope with remote office/branch office storage challenges

Fixing the "problem" of supplying IT support to the branch office

This was last published in September 2015

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