VMware (finally) admits that its costs are higher than Microsoft’s

Recently we came across the updated VMware cost per application calculator and discovered what our customers and partners have been telling us all along – VMware vSphere 5.1 costs more than Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 combined. And we’re not just talking about license acquisition cost, but also the capital expenditure costs (CAPEX), including power, space, storage, and server hardware costs. 

To see for yourself, plug in the following values in the calculator–

  1. Number of VMs: 100
  2. Virtualization host type: Server B
  3. Network storage type: iSCSI SAN
  4. Compare to vendor: Microsoft
  5. VMware vSphere 5.1 edition: Enterprise Plus
  6. Management deployed on physical or virtual: virtual
  7. Electricity: low
  8. Real estate: low

(It’s important to note that these aren’t random values -- they represent a common datacenter virtualization scenario.) When you input these values into the calculator and review the output – the headline looks like the following:

The cost-per-application to virtualize 100 apps using VMware vSphere 5.1 Enterprise Plus edition is 19% higher than with Microsoft Hyper-V and System Center 2012.

However, we firmly believe you will save far more with Microsoft.  According to VMware’s calculator, Microsoft’s total software cost ($974) is much lower than VMware’s ($1,491), but the infrastructure cost ($1,198) is higher than VMware’s ($1,083) infrastructure cost. Why is this the case?

This happens because the calculator assumes that a VMware ESXi host can run 20% more applications than a Microsoft Windows Server 2012 (Hyper-V) host—an assumption with little credibility or real-life customer evidence.

  1.  The calculator bases the “run 20% more applications advantage” on a third party, VMware commissioned report from August 2011 that compares vSphere 5 to Microsoft Hyper-V 2008 R2 SP1. Dynamic Memory, introduced in Hyper-V 2008 R2 SP1 has been improved in Hyper-V 2012, a fact that VMware simply ignores. Moreover, you cannot apply the results of a test performed with a previous version of the product (Hyper-V 2008 R2 SP1) to the current version (Hyper-V 2012) and assume everything remains constant.  Why would VMware choose to base results on older technology?  This paper about the advantages of Hyper-V over vSphere 5.1 provides the likely answers.
  2. Also, this report doesn’t build on a realistic customer scenario. VMware was able to show an 18.9% performance improvement (and higher consolidation ratio) only when using many VMs running the exact same workload with the exact same data and overcommitting the host -- under specific VM configurations and settings. Ask yourself:  do you ever run the exact same workloads with exact same data on a host and overcommit in a production environment?  Your most likely answer is no. 

When you purchase Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012, you get a complete private cloud solution.   A realistic cost comparison with VMware should include VMware’s private cloud solution, introduced recently, named vCloud Suite 5.1. If you re-run the cost comparisons for 100 VMs using vCloud Suite 5.1, you’ll find that a VMware solution costs not 19% more, but around 440% more than a Microsoft solution with Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012.

You can try the calculation here.

Let me know what you find when you do real apples to apples comparisons!


Amy Barzdukas
General Manager, Server & Tools Marketing


Comments (15)

  1. Anonymous says:

    @MattAndrews I think your statement will be irrelevant very soon… But if I were to read into your argument, there will always be "something" that is 'not apples-to-apples' when comparing Microsoft Hyper-V v.Next to VMware vSphere.

  2. Matt Andrews says:

    And until Microsoft's management solution for Hyper-V 3 (SCVMM 2012 _SP1_) is available, its not an apples-to-apples comparison.

  3. Silver says:

    I agree with Matt, I think this post is nonsense. You are asking for comparing Hyper-v 3 without SCVMM 2012 SP1?  MS product is not even officially released and you are trying to compare with vSphere 5.1?

  4. Cmc says:

    And boom goes the dynamite

  5. ok says:

    " Matt Andrews

    15 Nov 2012 11:17 AM

    And until Microsoft's management solution for Hyper-V 3 (SCVMM 2012 _SP1_) is available, its not an apples-to-apples comparison."

  6. customer says:

    To earn trust, vendors should tell the full picture and compare the same capability

  7. JDB says:

    Not to mention you have also been asked to use VmWare's most expensive edition (Enterprise Plus) in this example. This really is not saying much, it would look much better if you compared apples to apples and showed features, system requirements etc….

  8. Patrick says:

    Might be worth looking at prior to upgrading to the next version of vSphere. Currently would need as stated before SP1 for SCVMM 2012 to be an attractive enough solution to look into for production. Last time I tested in-house I couldn't get anywhere near the consolidation ratios (under 2008 R2) which supposedly has been fixed but with other constraints dumping existing production setups it just doesn't make sense.

  9. Kenco G. says:

    You are comparing a Volkswagen to a Mercedes, obviously you will pay more. You pay peanuts you get a monkey.

  10. James says:

    Please, Microsoft, stop this kind of marketing. I would not run any workload on Hyper-V at all because it's not innovative at all. You are still trying to copy and using marketing power to convince everyone that your solution is best which it is not. No Integration between product, everything looks different, 3rd party tools are required for everything.

  11. Justin.K. says:

    Couple of comments on both sides to add a little color:

    1.  Critics are absolutely right to be harsh on MS and highlighting the lack of compatibility between System Center and Server 2012.  The timing of those two products is terrible (One released in February the other in Sept .yet the Feb release looks like it wont support Server 2012 until _next_year_) despite both being critical to compete with VMware).

    2.  On the other hand, the reason MS is comparing System Center to Enterprise Plus is because System Center _does_ everything Enterprise plus does and then some.  It blows it out of the water really.  Saying "but you're not comparing Apples ot Apples" is simply saying you don't understand the full capabilities that System Center brings to the table now.

    Microsoft:  get SP1 out ASAP.  The state of incompatibility between your own products is holding you back more than your competitors at this point.  Expect more of the same with your brain dead Exchange 2013 release with no SP upgrade path.

  12. Preston Gallwas says:

    I saw similar comparisons with Hyper-V 2 (Server 2008 R2) and yet simple functionality like 'online snapshot consolidation' was missing.  Granted, I'm no expert on Hyper-V 3 and I know that one specific example is (supposedly) addressed, but there were many such 'small' examples that created a huge disparity between Hyper-V(w/SCVMM) and ESXi.  That being said, as others have pointed out, as far as this comparison goes it is really useless as there is no "System center" product with Hyper-V 3 released yet…

  13. CStar says:

    What the hell is VMware Service Manager?? Also, why is vFabric APM included in the costs? vCloud Suite includes a hell of a lot more than just the basis for a Private Cloud platform, such as full site failover and failback capabilities, including SAN block level re-write, deep monitoring of server, network, storage, software etc.

    I'd really like to see a true apples to apples, or as close as can be achieved, maybe revisit this when SP1 actually launches with the functions promised, and compare it to a close comparison of Hyper-V 3 SC12 SP1 such as vSphere Standard with maybe vCOps Advanced?

  14. Jeremy says:

    And Microsofts HV3 is still not comparable to vmware's enterprise plus.   its like a watermelon seed to watermelon comparison.

    Why not compare HV3 to ESXi free version.  

    Stability – VMware wins

    Security – VMware wins

    TechSupport – VMware wins

    WorkLoad – VMware wins..

    Trusted Leader in Virtualization for production environments?  – VMWARE WINS…

    I could go on and on..

    Come on,  this is typical MS Spin..  

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