The End of VMware Horizon Perpetual Licensing

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Feb 24, 2021 by Leah Weisman

VMware Horizon is a platform for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and allows organizations to virtualize desktops or applications for a more centralized system of IT service delivery. It can be a very powerful tool for some organizations, especially when serving a disparate, remote workforce.

Well, consistent with the industry’s vicious focus on making everything recurring revenue, VMware Horizon’s perpetual licensing model is going the way of the dodo. As of May 6, 2021 you will not be able to purchase perpetual VMware Horizon licensing. That is, say goodbye to paying upfront for and owning your Horizon licensing – it’s a subscription now.

Then again, you may shrug at this – we’ve been paying for support and maintenance on a yearly or multi-year basis anyway, right?

If you already have VMware Horizon perpetual licensing, you can still renew it for a three-year term at this point for a final possible expiration date in or before May 2025. For example, if your licenses are up for renewal this year (in 2021), it would be for three years and it would be your last renewal since you are unable to renew the perpetual licenses beyond May 2025.

Alternatively, you can upgrade to their Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or term subscription models. SaaS offers a cloud hosted option that offers multiple payment options. The term subscription model offers an experience that is most similar to the perpetual licensing that you may currently have (hosted on-premises and prepaid).

In breaking down the difference between Horizon SaaS and term:

Given there are three different versions of Horizon perpetual licenses (Standard, Advanced and Enterprise), the SaaS and term models have those same versions.

As of now, VMware is offering considerable discounts for the upgrade itself. Upon renewing the SaaS or term subscription options, it appears that it would be at normal pricing.

If you can remember, last March VMware broke out the Horizon bundle so that you can pick and choose what products (vRealize, vFusion, vSAN, and Horizon) you use. We received clarification here recently to find out only the Horizon piece was impacted by the above licensing change. Therefore, by switching to one of the new subscription models, you will only pay for Horizon. If you use Horizon and any of the add-ons, you still have to either upgrade to Horizon SaaS or term or renew the perpetual license for three years. The add-ons would remain under the same process.

And, of course, change doesn’t come without requiring some extra “change” – VMware has introduced a six percent price hike across all Horizon-related products and renewals (effective February 8, 2021).

If you need help finding the right renewal or upgrade path, we can help. Send us an email at or give us a call at 502-240-0404!

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