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How do the VMware ROBO editions differ?

The new offering for remote/branch offices, VMware ROBO, comes with different features and VM licensing models.

VMware vSphere Remote Office Branch Office (ROBO) is available in standard and advanced editions. Both VMware ROBO...

editions provide the vSphere hypervisor and share a common core of features. These include high-availability (HA), vSphere vMotion, storage vMotion, hot add, vSphere Data Protection, replication, fault tolerance (FT) and vShield Endpoint for security. The advanced edition builds on the standard feature set to include vSphere Distributed Switch, host profiles and auto-deploy. The advanced edition may be more appealing for larger, more distributed enterprise environments that need additional automation to deploy and manage remote systems.

Perhaps more interesting than the feature set is the licensing approach. VMware's previous vSphere Essentials Kit for Retail and Branch Office products relied on socket-based licensing and enforced a maximum of three ESXi hosts per site. The new VMware ROBO editions each include licenses for 25 VMs per site and eliminate the cap on ESXi hosts. Note that some functionality is eliminated. The vSphere ROBO editions do away with the vCenter Server licenses previously included with legacy Essentials kits, but users can employ current versions of vCenter Server Standard for ROBO virtual machine management -- or purchase vCenter Server separately. The vSphere ROBO standard edition retails for $3,000 and the advanced edition retails for $4,500; volume discounts may be available through your preferred resellers. Service and support contracts are also available for ROBO deployments.

It's also worth noting that while one site may use as many as 25 VM licenses per pack, unneeded or excess VM licenses can be distributed across more than one site. For example, 10 VM licenses could be used at one site, six VM licenses could be used at a second site and nine VM licenses could be used at a third site. Remember, it is not possible to mix ROBO editions or include other vSphere product licenses on the same site. This means you can't run vSphere ROBO standard and vSphere Standard on the same site.

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