The pricing model means that customers who have servers powered by dual-core processors will get more performance from their VMware applications without seeing a jump in their licensing fees.
VMware Inc. joins a number of other major software makers, including IBM and Microsoft Corp., in deciding how to charge for software that will run on systems powered by dual-core chips.
Dual-core chips contain two processing cores on a single piece of silicon, and offer significant performance boosts for relatively small increases in price.
OEMs such as IBM and Sun Microsystems Inc. have offered dual-core capabilities in their RISC-based processors for several years, but the technology is just this year making its way into the x86 space.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. offers dual-core capabilities in its Opteron line of server chips and Athlon 64 PC processors.
Intel Corp. has brought the technology to its Pentium processors, and this month will begin rolling out early versions of dual-core processors in its Xeon and Itanium 2 lines.
The dual-core version of Itanium, code-named Montecito, is due for wide distribution later this year, with dual-core Xeons coming early next year.
IT administrators have said that the idea of getting almost twice the performance out of their systems is attractive, but that software licensing will be a key factor in how quickly the technology is adopted. Many applaud Microsofts earlier decision to charge on a per-socket basis, rather than per core.
Raghu Raghuram, senior director of strategy and market development for VMware, said the per-socket pricing makes the most sense for customers. "It will allow the customers to leverage the power of dual-core processors at the same cost [as single-chip systems]," Raghuram said.
VMwares virtualization technology enables customers to run multiple operating systems and applications on a single system, which in the past has presented its own thorny pricing problems for software makers.
The Palo Alto, Calif., company earlier this month released its first server product for dual-core systems, GSX Server 3.2. The next releases of VMwares data center offerings, ESX Server and VirtualCenter, also will support dual-core systems, Raghuram said. VMware Workstation already supports dual-core processors on the desktop.
Raghuram said VMwares virtualization technology will work with dual-core technology to help customers further consolidate their data center resources.
One major software maker that has not adopted the per-socket pricing model is database vendor Oracle Corp. The Redwood Shores, Calif., company on Thursday changed its licensing terms in regard to dual-core systems, saying that it would offer a 25 percent rebate to customers running dual-core systems. They previously were charged on a per-core basis.
Oracle officials Friday defended the decision, saying the pricing model is in line with the 1.5 to 1.75 percent performance boost businesses are liking to see migrating from single-core to dual-core systems.