VMware shows marketing muscles against Microsoft

Microsoft is notorious for its aggressive marketing against VMware vSphere and VMware’s cloud solutions. In a recent whitepaper Microsoft claimed their private cloud solution is 5x to 16x cheaper than the VMware offering. They however compare apples to oranges by including more functionality in the VMware cost calculation making it look more expensive. See my posting titled Mythbusting:Can a VMware private cloud cost 5 to 16 times more than Microsoft private cloud?

Now VMware strikes back claiming Sphere delivers dramatically lower operational costs compared to Microsoft Hyper-V. This to earliers claims by VMware that vSphere will cost about the same as one built using Microsoft Hyper-V and System Center (or even much less when vSphere’s proven VM density advantage over Hyper-V is factored in.)

To have a fair comparision of tocal cost of ownership both he acquisition costs /capital expense (CapEx) and operational expense costs (Opex) should be calculated.

A posting on VMware.com titled Sorry Microsoft; Not Only Does vSphere Cost Less to Buy, It Also Costs Less to Operate writes about a research done by Principled Technologies which measures time needed for certain tasks done by system administrators on Hyper-V and vSphere 5.

The tasks tested were:

  1. Shifting virtual machines off a host to accommodate physical maintenance
  2. Adding storage volumes and redistributing virtual disk files across the new storage
  3. Isolating storage-intensive “noisy neighbor” virtual machines
  4. Provisioning new hosts
  5. Performing a non-disruptive disaster recovery failover test

Over a two year period in a datacenter with 1000 VM’s, vSphere’s operational costs are 91 percent less than Microsoft Hyper-V and System Center according to Principled Technologies. More about it at CRM.com

The report written by Principled Technologies was commissioned by VMware. This means VMware ordered and paid the research. While this is a common way to perform marketing it is obviously  a biased report. Someone who  pays for a report will have influence on the content.

Having said that it is clear to me VMware vSphere 5 outperforms Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V in operational costs. I have worked with both solutions in design and management for some years.

While this is true for Windows Server 2008, for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V 3 this could be a different story. Hyper-V 3 promises to deliver an unlimited number of concurrent Live Migrations. Currently Hyper-V is limited to a single concurrent live migration. Moving virtual disk files in Hyper-V 3 will be much more efficient and no downtime involved  as in Hyper-V 2. These missing features have a heavy influence in the TCO calculation performed by Principled Technologies.

The report is very detailled in describing the tasks that were performed. Worth the download and reading it. Take a look for yourself at the full test report by Principled Technologies here (registration required.)

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About Marcel van den Berg
I am a technical consultant with a strong focus on server virtualization, desktop virtualization, cloud computing and business continuity/disaster recovery.

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