Home > Blogs > Virtual Reality

VMware Bests Red Hat In OpenStack Performance, Cost Study

While the operating assumption is that the OpenStack framework works best on open source components such as KVM, a just completed study by Principled Technologies and commissioned by VMware showed otherwise. Tests showed remarkably higher performance and substantially reduced costs when using OpenStack with VMware technology including vSphere when compared to OpenStack with Red Hat components.

vmware openstack summary chart

In the study, OpenStack services were used to provision and manage the test configurations. The study equipment was identical except when published recommendations mandated a change. The test results showed:

  • VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN) provided 159% more IOPS than Red Hat Storage Server (GlusterFS)
  • A Cassandra NoSQL database installation performed 53% better on vSphere than on Red Hat KVM
  • Over 3 years, the total cost of infrastructure hardware and software was 26% lower on VMware than on Red Hat 

 The study recognized two trends in enterprise computing:

  • The emergence of hyper-converged architectures that can increase performance and lower costs associated with a virtualized infrastructure by having compute, network, and storage coexist closely on physical resources.
  • An interest in the OpenStack API framework as a way to provide efficient self-service provisioning and consumption of these underlying compute/network/storage resources to deploy applications on a large scale.

Cloud Performance

VMware innovations are helping customers get enterprise-class performance when exploring the OpenStack framework as a platform for large-scale application deployment. Among these innovations, the study showed that VMware Virtual SAN played an important role in providing performance advantages. Among the most significant findings related to VMware Virtual SAN, the study noted:

  • The use of direct-attached disks on the compute hosts brought proven benefits of shared storage in the VMware environment, such as High Availability (HA) and vMotion.
  • Tight integration with the vSphere [hypervisor]; scaled easily by adding more hosts to a cluster or more storage to existing hosts. In addition, VMware Virtual SAN can be managed directly through the familiar vCenter Server™ Web client console, alongside everything else in a VMware vSphere environment.
  • Every disk chosen for Virtual SAN storage belongs to a disk group with at least one solid-state drive that serves as a read and write cache. Additional storage or hosts added to the capacity and performance of a VMware Virtual SAN data store without disruption.

For the following tables, please refer to the full study for the complete test methodology and equipment setup.

Figure 1: The amount of YCSB (Yahoo Cloud Serving Benchmark) OPS achieved by the two solutions. Higher numbers are better.

Figure 1: The amount of YCSB (Yahoo Cloud Serving Benchmark) OPS achieved by the two solutions. Higher numbers are better.

Figure 2: The amount of IOPS achieved by the two solutions. Higher numbers are better. The workload was 70/30 R/W mix, random, and 4K block size.

Figure 2: The amount of IOPS achieved by the two solutions. Higher numbers are better. The workload was 70/30 R/W mix, random, and 4K block size.

Cost Comparison

The study showed that running OpenStack on VMware components required less hardware. Using VMware vSphere with Virtual SAN also lowered software costs. In total the study showed the 3 year costs were 26 percent lower. Because each OpenStack deployment and environment is different and support engagements vary widely from installation to installation, the costs of implementing the OpenStack framework were not included for either the VMware or the Red Hat platform.

Figure 3: Projected three-year costs for the two solutions. Lower numbers are better.

Figure 3: Projected three-year costs for the two solutions. Lower numbers are better.

Conclusion

The study concludes:

“In our testing, the VMware vSphere with Virtual SAN solution performed better than the Red Hat Storage solution in both real world and raw performance testing by providing 53 percent more database OPS and 159 percent more IOPS. In addition, the vSphere with Virtual SAN solution can occupy less datacenter space, which can result in lower costs associated with density. A three-year cost projection for the two solutions showed that VMware vSphere with Virtual SAN could save your business up to 26 percent in hardware and software costs when compared to the Red Hat Storage solution we tested.”

As an enterprise customer, you have choices when it comes to implementing an OpenStack framework. Your selections will impact the performance and overall cost of your scale out infrastructure. With this study, VMware has demonstrated significant performance gains and cost savings in an OpenStack environment.

Read the full study here.

Identifying Questionable Assumptions in the Amazon TCO Comparison Calculator

Amazon recently launched a new version of their Total Cost of Ownerships (TCO) Calculator that compares VMware on-premises solutions to Amazon Web Services (AWS) offerings. Our many customers choose us as their infrastructure platform and stay with us because we provide the best value. The Amazon calculator tries to create a different perception by using biased and inaccurate assumptions.

Stacking the Deck…Obviously

Amazon claims their calculator provides an “apples-to-apples” comparison, but in reality, it doesn’t come close to doing so. Their calculator contains biased assumptions regarding VMware’s TCO, which inflate the costs of an on-premises cloud and underestimate the true costs of using a public cloud solution.

For instance, Amazon’s calculator:

  1. Assumes a customer has no existing on-premises investment. Cost assumptions include the purchase of entirely new data center space, racks, networking switches, spare parts, etc., which would not necessarily apply to a customer making an incremental investment in their IT infrastructure.
  2. Compares VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus, our most feature-rich edition, against AWS infrastructure. vSphere Enterprise Plus includes features such as vMotion and High Availability that Amazon customers do not get. As a result, AWS customers often find they have to re-architect their applications in order to work around these missing capabilities. Beyond the basic hypervisor features, Enterprise Plus also offers Application High Availability, Storage vMotion, DRS and Storage DRS, a fully manageable distributed switch, and storage and network I/O control. Customers can get some of these features in AWS by adding on 3rd party solutions, but features like I/O control and DRS are not features that can be added on AWS. Without these capabilities, AWS lacks an effective noisy neighbor solution, forcing customers to seek other ways to manage their applications and performance. These missing features are all part of the hidden costs customers encounter when they switch to AWS and one of the key reasons they delay or cancel AWS migration projects.
  3. Assumes high hardware costs. The calculator assumes a cost of $7,851 for a server with 2, 6-core CPUs and 96GB of RAM (including support). For instance, the same configuration at Dell can be priced at $4651. These price gaps add up, especially when considering larger environments.
  4. Does not include AWS support costs. The calculator includes the cost of VMware’s highly regarded Support and Subscription service for one year whereas no costs for AWS support are included. AWS support fees can be sizable.
  5. Most IT shops are keeping their hardware longer than three years. At the end of the three-year time horizon, the VMware user owns their infrastructure and VMware software licenses. The AWS TCO Calculator truncates the comparison at the three-year mark, yet operating VMware on your on-premises data center can lower your TCO over the long-term.  It is inaccurate of Amazon’s to assume that the value of the entire private cloud investment vanishes after three years. (We would love to hear about your real-world experiences, with your hardware’s working lifespans, in the comments section.)

Another Take on VMware vs. AWS TCO: VMware’s Own TCO Calculations

We decided to take a look at how costs might look using our math. The following is a VMware version of the TCO comparison against AWS. It compares costs associated with running conventional workloads on AWS and VMware infrastructure.

Conventional Workloads TCO Comparison

In a separate VMware TCO comparison calculation for a 100 VM environment, VMware TCO is $394K compared to AWS’s $487K over a four-year period. This represents a 21% cost savings when choosing VMware.

AWS TCO Comparison

This comparison uses the following 100 VMs for AWS:

  • 50 “Small” Windows servers (1 vCPU, 4 GB RAM, only full utilized about 4 hours per day; “Light Reserved” instance)
  • 25 “Large” Windows servers (4 vCPUs, 32 GB RAM, fully utilized about 18 hours per day; “Heavy Reserved” instance)
  • 20 “Small” MS SQL servers (1 vCPU, 2 GB RAM, only fully utilized about 4 hrs per day, “Light Reserved” instance)
  • 5 “High MEM Extra Large” MS SQL Servers (2 vCPU, 16 GB RAM, 400 provisioned [guaranteed] IOPS per VM, utilized about 12 hrs. per day; “Heavy Reserved” instance)
  • For the AWS deployment, it also included Business support (24×7 phone support) and the VPC service, which provides a security perimeter for the VMs.
  • For the VMware cost it uses the ROI/TCO tool (http://roitco.vmware.com) to estimate the cost of running 100 VMs.
  • It uses vSOM Standard for the infrastructure running on 5 ESXi hosts with 2 CPUs, 6 cores per CPU, 128 GB RAM per host and 6 NICs per host. Also included in this deployment is 10 TB of SAN storage using iSCSI.

Note that for this sample environment, the calculations assumed licenses for vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM) Standard, which offer more features and functionality than that of AWS and contain the features a customer truly needs for this scale environment. There are also additional AWS fees for things such as: data transfer, IP addresses, service monitoring, CloudWatch, etc. which are not captured in this TCO, but are a necessary part of running an application on AWS.

Conclusion

Clearly the AWS TCO Calculator does not represent a fair, “apples-to-apples” portrayal of the costs of an on-premises solution. Amazon’s calculator is underestimating AWS costs and overstating VMware costs. The costs of AWS instances are not the only factor to consider when choosing where to host workloads. Designing for AWS requires developer teams to significantly redesign their applications to account for the limitations and the quality of AWS infrastructure. With VMware, you have access to cost-effective, highly automated, secure infrastructure with a level of control and quality that provides superior value to IT and business units.

With the addition of vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS), VMware now offers customers a public cloud option with faster time to value and the ability to add or reduce capacity dynamically through the use of hybrid, off-premises data centers. The combination of on-premises vSphere or vCloud Suite infrastructure with cloud-based infrastructure hosted on vCloud Hybrid Services or a vCloud Powered partner clearly provides the best hybrid cloud experience. With infrastructure running on a common technology platform (vSphere) and integrations with existing tools like vCenter, vCenter Operations, and vCloud Automation Center, VMware customers get all the benefits of a true hybrid cloud.

Edit: An earlier version of this post claimed that the VMware TCO was over a three-year time period. The correct time horizon of the VMware TCO is four years. The post has been updated to reflect this change. 

 

 

 

Debunking Myths About vSphere Data Protection

The release of VMware’s vSphere Data Protection 5.5 (VDP) seems to have caused a stir in the virtual backup industry. It appears we have hit a soft spot with some of the other vendors offering backup solutions for vSphere and have seen some confusing messaging coming from our partners/competitors in this market. While we’re certainly proud of the technology partner ecosystem built around VMware solutions I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight on vSphere Data Protection.

The Myths

  1. Other vendors claim they never need agents to perform backups, where VDP Advanced does.
  2. If you cannot directly view your backup files you may lose your ability to recover from a disaster
  3. Replicating your backups off-site requires expensive “WAN acceleration” technology
  4. VDP lacks any kind of fast VM recovery technology
  5. VDP cannot automatically verify the recoverability of a VM

We’ll dive in to each of these a little bit to get to the truth about vSphere Data Protection.

Myth 1: Agents, or the lack thereof

Some vendors claim they require no agents to do vSphere backups, even for application aware backups of Exchange, MS SQL, and SharePoint, whereas VDP Advanced does require agents for these applications.

The fact of the matter is, the vast majority of VMs do not require agents because of the way our vSphere data protection APIs work. This is the case for VDP and every other vSphere certified backup solution. But, a proper application consistent backup of Exchange, MS SQL, SharePoint and other application does require an agent, even for vendors like Veeam. Need proof? Here’s a quote from page 235 of the Veeam Backup & Replication Version 7.0 User Guide:

To coordinate proper indexing and VSS activities, Veeam Backup & Replication injects a runtime process inside the VM...In the Guest OS credentials section, specify an account with local administrative privileges for injecting the process.

Call me crazy, but a runtime process injected on a VM via admin credentials to do indexing and other activities on behalf of another server is the very definition of an agent. The biggest difference between VDP and Veeam’s agent approach is that VDP’s agents are a one-time install via wizard, whereas Veeam’s agents are installed and uninstalled each and every time a backup job runs.

And don’t forget: our VDP Advanced agents also run on physical servers so you can backup your entire Exchange, SQL, or SharePoint environment with VDP Advanced.

Myth 2: If you can’t directly access your backup files you may suffer dire consequences

First things first, it really doesn’t matter which backup system you choose – your backup files are useless without the backup servers. Further, if you’ve lost your backup infrastructure I’d say the odds are good you’ve lost other critical parts of your infrastructure as well. In cases like this, perhaps backups aren’t the best option for getting up and running. You might want a disaster recovery solution like our Site Recovery Manager or vCloud Hybrid Service – Disaster Recovery for this situation.

But what about smaller, localized issues? What if your backup server gets wiped out? First and foremost I’d recommend you use a product that includes backup replication so you always have 2nd and 3rd copies of your backups, hopefully on-site and off-site. With VDP Advanced your backups could be replicated directly to another VDP Advanced virtual appliance so you could immediately restore from the 2nd appliance – no additional configuration or setup needed. (Even if vCenter is down!)

So what happens if you have your backup files but your backup server is gone? Nothing! At least not until you re-install the backup server and database and maybe some proxies and repositories so that you can actually use those files, stealing precious minutes or hours from your recovery time objective.

Even if you’re using our basic version of VDP, which is included with most versions of vSphere and which does not have built-in replication, keep in mind that everything you need to protect your backups – the backup files, database, everything! – is contained within a single VM. Simply copy the VM to secondary storage periodically to avoid a single point of failure.

Myth 3: You’re going to need to buy a WAN accelerator to handle replication

VDP Advanced includes highly efficient, secure backup data replication across any link at no additional cost. How do we do it and why don’t you see some special “WAN accelerator” configuration inside VDP Advanced? VDP Advanced is based on EMC Avamar and uses the same enterprise-class deduplication algorithm and replication engine as Avamar. What this means to you is VDP does all the required deduplication as soon as the backups are created, across all backups stored on the appliance. No additional steps are needed to further optimize the data for WAN transfers. Plus you get the added benefit of using less storage for the primary backups so you save money on your overall backup solution!

Myth 4: VDP lacks any kind of fast VM recovery mechanism

“Instant Recovery” is the hot marketing item in the backup world (it’s kind of a boring world). Strategies for restoring data quickly is a topic I’d like to explore further in a more detailed article so we can look at how we’d approach some common scenarios with VDP. For now I want to say this about “instant” recovery: the feature looks good in the brochure, but instant recovery techniques from nearly every vendor end up with VMs that are pinned to a single host, running from your backup storage, with IO shuttled through some sort of proxy VM. Add it all up and you’re left with a significant performance and usability hit to the recovered VMs. If you later decide to move that VM from backup storage to production, it often requires multiple steps to move and rehydrate the VMDKs and then rebuild them from the delta disks that were written while the “instant” VM ran.

In contrast, VDP Advanced can utilize Changed Block Tracking to restore a VM directly on full production storage. This means only the blocks that have changed since the selected restore point will be restored. As a result, restore times can be dramatically reduced – up to 6X versus traditional restore methods according to the VDP Advanced study performed by ESG Labs.

Myth 5: You cannot verify a backup with VDP

This myth is just plain wrong. VDP Advanced does include automated backup verification. And we’re not just talking about verifying a file checksum. A VDP backup verification job can be created to automatically restore and verify the full functionality of a VM on a scheduled basis, e.g., once per week. Results of the backup verification jobs are reported in the VDP Advanced user interface and email reports so that administrators have the utmost confidence that important VMs can definitely be restored when needed.

Where VDP Advanced Shines

We’ve designed VDP and VDP Advanced to offer a great value to our customers, who often struggle to setup a good backup system and cannot afford the high price of some of the enterprise backup solutions. We think VDP excels in many areas but especially with features like:

  • Reduced storage consumption to save you money (up to 75% less storage)
  • Fast and simple recovery for VMs, applications, and files (up to 6x faster)
  • Application protection for Exchange, MS SQL, and SharePoint (virtual and physical)
  • Integration directly with vCenter
  • Overall simplicity (go from zero to your first backup in 30 minutes)
  • Leverage the best technology available (powered by EMC Avamar)

As I said at the start, we’re very proud of the ecosystem of partners we’ve built around vSphere, even those we compete with at times. While we at VMware focus on building products that are “better together” we realize that no single product will fit every customers’ needs and at the end of the day it’s you – the customer – who has to navigate the maze of features and jargon and figure out the solution that’s best for you. I hope this article makes that task a little bit easier.

VMware TCO Comparison Calculator Now Shows that Stepping Up to Private Cloud Costs Less with vCloud Suite

If you’ve had a chance to use the VMware TCO Comparison Calculator, you know that it factors in all the elements of a proper Total Cost of Ownership analysis to compare the true cost of building a virtual infrastructure on our vSphere and vSphere with Operations Management products to the cost of building a similar infrastructure on Microsoft’s “Cloud OS” – their name for Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center. [VMware has an even more detailed ROI/TCO Calculator to show the financial savings of virtualization and private cloud vs. physical infrastructure.]

image

The results are eye-opening for many users who have seen the comparisons from our competitors that consider only the Windows operating system and virtualization software license costs. Including all the TCO elements shown above makes it very clear that the cost of virtualization software is just a small part of the overall TCO for a virtualized infrastructure.

We’ve just updated the TCO Comparison Calculator with two important new features:

  • You can select VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN) as the storage technology for VMware. VSAN capital costs are significantly less than other storage options like Fibre Channel, iSCSI or NAS.
  • You can see the TCO of upgrading your vSphere infrastructure to a full-featured vCloud Suite private cloud. This option compares the cost of upgrading to vCloud Suite with the cost of migrating to a Microsoft Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center private cloud.

There are three key cost elements that work strongly in VMware’s favor that show up in the calculator results:

  • Better VM density – Being able to run more VMs per CPU has always been a vSphere strength due do its outstanding memory management and DRS load balancing technology. Our customers running both vSphere and Hyper-V report higher densities on vSphere and analysts like Gartner agree, saying, “VMware’s customers have higher VM densities.” Even a conservative VM density advantage translates directly to significantly lower CapEx and OpEx costs.
  • Richer feature set – vSphere with Operations Management and vCloud Suite provide more of the management, data protection and availability, networking and disaster recovery features that customers need. Without those features, Microsoft customers must purchase, integrate and administer multiple third-party products to fill the gaps, driving up costs.
  • Much lower operational costs – Our customers that have tried competitors’ products tell us that running a vSphere and vCloud Suite infrastructure is much easier and more efficient. Third party studies have quantified VMware OpEx cost as much as 80-90% lower than Microsoft and recent studies with the latest product versions show a similar advantage. The OpEx savings from VMware’s greater administrative efficiency are built into the TCO Comparison Calculator.

A quick example from the VMware TCO Comparison Calculator shows just how much of an impact those VMware cost savings have. This example shows the two-year TCO for an infrastructure of 1,000 VMs on vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise Plus (our highest edition) vs. Microsoft Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center.

image

image

You can see that VMware delivers 30% lower TCO from its lower OpEx costs and features that preclude the need for third-party add-ons.

Here’s an example showing that the two-year TCO for upgrading a 1000-VM vSphere Enterprise environment to our full-featured vCloud Suite Enterprise platform comes in 36% less than if that same infrastructure were migrated to Microsoft’s “Cloud OS”.

image

Whether you’re new to virtualization and considering a greenfield server consolidation project or a long-time vSphere user weighing your options for a private cloud upgrade, give the VMware TCO Comparison Calculator a try – you’ll see that you can get the best for less.

Partnership, Choice and the Hybrid Cloud

“There is much rhetoric these days about “cloud wars”.  Beyond the rhetoric, the hype is there for a reason: the value of hybrid cloud environments is becoming real, and the market opportunity even more real.  We are proud to serve our customers as a leading provider of virtualization software and cloud infrastructure.  And we’re equally proud of what our customers are achieving with VMware as a partner.”

You can take a break from the hype cycle by checking out the rest of the blog post by Bogomil Balkansky, Sr. Vice President, Cloud Infrastructure Platform here.

vSphere with Operations Management – Raising the Bar for Integrated Cloud Management

With the announcement of vSphere with Operation Management this week, it is truly exciting to not only see the advancements of management being tied so closely to the vSphere platform, but also bring our customers closer to the vision of the Software Defined Data Center.  As we see both the vSphere platform mature along with our customers’ use of it, we also see an evolution of VMware operations management accelerating and leveraging the value of the platform in our customers’ environments.

This new offering signifies a number a key aspects in the evolution of virtualization and cloud management:

First, our customers have experienced and expressed the need for accurate and automated solutions to proactively manage performance and capacity and vCenter Operations Manager, as part of vSphere with Operations Management, has delivered.  Leveraging a foundation of patented self-learning analytics, vCenter Operations Manager delivers the most comprehensive, scalable and automated management solution for vSphere.   Utilizing the vSphere health model, vSphere with Operations Management further extrapolates and presents data for managing performance and capacity more effectively than any other current or promised solutions.

 “We invested in vCenter Operations to support our large infrastructure of 500 VMs and 40 hosts. It has enabled us to predict capacity needs and to easily locate any performance issues.”

— Eric Krejci , Systems Specialist, EPFL

 

Second, vSphere with Operations Management leverages true automated operations for vSphere environments.  This VMware innovation reduces the administrative overhead and inaccuracies from tools using static thresholds (manual thresholds set for individual metrics) while analyzing all (not just a handful) of relevant vSphere performance metrics to ensure there are no performance or capacity “blind spots”.  Furthermore, to automatically correlate and expose the bottlenecks (with associated metrics) along with best practice remediation, vSphere with Operations Management ensures accurate management alignment that supports and further leverages our customer’s investment in VMware.

Advanced analytics easily identifies and shows root-cause to problem areas

Finally, vSphere with Operations Management raises the bar by redefining what operations management needs to be in today’s dynamic infrastructure.  Cloud customers simply were not finding effective solutions from their traditional, legacy IT management frameworks, or even 3rd party tools that are built on the same premise.   Even when considering other hypervisor / cloud products, the management ecosystem is at the heart of truly enabling the platform.  VMware vSphere with Operations Management clearly demonstrates the next step in simplicity of both cost and value through reliable, proven and innovative technology.

Going to VMware Partner Exchange 2013?  Be sure to check out these sessions on VMware management and the competition: MGMT1238, MGMT1369 & CI1523.

Twitter: @benscheerer

Study Shows Higher Costs and Complexity When Managing vSphere Using Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager

The idea of introducing multiple hypervisors into your data center and managing them seamlessly from a single tool might sound appealing, but in reality, products claiming that ability today can’t deliver on that promise.  You introduced virtual infrastructure to simplify operational tasks for your IT staff, so why would you want to handicap them with a management approach that adds costs and complexity?  A study recently completed by the Edison Group and commissioned by VMware shows that is exactly what you will be doing if you introduce Microsoft System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) with the hopes of using it to manage VMware vSphere hosts.

Microsoft touts SCVMM as a heterogeneous management tool with the ability to manage VMware vSphere and Citrix XenServer hosts in addition to those running Hyper-V.  IT managers might find Microsoft’s claims that they can, “easily and efficiently manage… applications and services across multiple hypervisors,” enticing. The suggestion by Microsoft is clear: don’t worry about complicating the jobs of your system administrators by introducing Hyper-V into a VMware environment because SCVMM provides a do-everything single-pane-of-glass control panel. Are their claims true?  Can Microsoft SCVMM really let you operate a multi-hypervisor data center without the cost penalties that come with staffing, training for, and operating across the isolated islands of management that would otherwise exist?

To find the truth behind Microsoft’s promises, we asked Edison Group to test VMware vSphere in their labs using both vCenter and the vSphere Client and Microsoft SCVMM 2012 to complete a set of 11 typical management tasks.  Edison’s analysts used their Comparative Management Cost Study methodology to measure the labor costs and administrative complexity of each task.  The tasks Edison Group studied were those that any vSphere administrator performs on a regular basis, such as provisioning new vSphere hosts, deploying VMs, monitoring system health and performance, configuring virtual networks, etc.

Higher costs and complexity when managing vSphere with SCVMM 2012

The results were clear and conclusive – managing VMware vSphere is much more efficient using vCenter than when attempting to manage it with Microsoft SCVMM 2012.  To complete the 11 typical management tasks Edison Group tested took 36% less time and required 41% fewer steps using vCenter and the vSphere client compared to SCVMM 2012.

Figure 1 Managing vSphere using vCenter takes 36% less administrator time than with SCVMM 2012

Figure 2 vCenter management of vSphere requires 41% fewer steps than SCVMM 2012

Jack of some trades, master of none

It’s not hard to understand why vCenter and the vSphere Client make life so much easier for vSphere administrators. As my colleague Randy Curry wrote, Microsoft SCVMM 2012 just doesn’t do a very good job of enabling vSphere management.  SCVMM’s incomplete or missing support for even basic tasks forces administrators to constantly jump over to the vSphere Client to get any real work done.  Microsoft was apparently more interested in being able to “check the box” for multi-hypervisor management when they built SCVMM 2012 than they were in providing a truly usable vSphere management tool. As Edison Group said in their report (available here or here):

Managing hypervisors using tools that are not specifically optimized to control all aspects of their operations risks impairing reliability, elegance, and ease of management, with potential adverse impact on the bottom line. Creating a truly successful solution requires deep integration and expertise in development.

Adding different hypervisors? Proceed with caution.

Multi-hypervisor IT shops are a trend that may be growing, but don’t expect a simple single-pane-of-glass management experience if you bring in a different hypervisor.  The testing by Edison Group clearly shows that management costs and complexity will be substantially higher if you attempt to use a partially implemented heterogeneous management tool like Microsoft SCVMM 2012 to manage a vSphere infrastructure. We at VMware realize that operating a 100% vSphere environment is not always possible and we’ve recently introduced our own multi-hypervisor management features with vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager and vCloud Automation Center to accommodate those cases. Rather than positioning those solutions as enablers of permanent multi-hypervisor environments, we’re offering them to help our customers manage heterogeneous pools of infrastructure until they can migrate their workloads to a VMware platform where they can benefit from our exclusive software-defined datacenter capabilities.

If you’re weighing possible benefits of introducing a second hypervisor, you may want to take the advice of Gartner’s Chris Wolf and stick to a single hypervisor unless you want maintain and pay for separate islands of management:

Multi-hypervisor… has serious tradeoffs if it’s the end goal for the production server workloads in your data center. Additional hypervisors for one-off siloed initiatives is often practical, but becoming less standardized in your data centers is anything but efficient.

Chris Wolf repeated that message at a session on heterogeneous virtualization we attended at the recent Gartner Data Center Conference. In fact, he stated there that no Gartner clients have succeeded in adopting a single-pane-of-glass multi-hypervisor approach. That’s refreshingly frank advice that should be heeded by anyone lured by Microsoft’s promises of multiple hypervisor nirvana.

Flawed Logic Behind Microsoft’s Virtualization and Private Cloud Cost Comparisons

Microsoft has published a blog article claiming that VMware’s Cost-Per-Application Calculator admits VMware’s costs are higher.

VMware’s Cost-Per-Application calculator is designed to rebut Microsoft claims that Hyper-V is five to ten times cheaper. It shows that the acquisition cost with even VMware’s highest edition – vSphere Enterprise Plus is at parity with Microsoft and actually beats Microsoft for most configurations. For example, the blog shows a comparison result from the VMware calculator using servers that have 64GB RAM. A comparison using servers with 128GB RAM, the more common configuration, shows that the total cost with VMware is at parity with Microsoft.

When customers do cost comparisons for themselves, they’ll have to decide what is important to their deployment. Can they risk looking only at the initial licensing costs or is it important to plan for ongoing support and maintenance as well. VMware’s Cost-Per-Application calculator aids customers in comparing the total acquisition costs of a virtual infrastructure and not just the software cost.

VMware’s calculator takes a conservative approach by not including the support cost for Microsoft as Microsoft Premier Support is billed by the hour and the usage varies from customer to customer. Once the incremental support cost is added for Microsoft, the acquisition cost with VMware is at parity or less in all scenarios.

In addition, vSphere Enterprise Plus has far better functionality than Hyper-V as shown by the feature comparison table in the Cost-Per-Application calculator detailed results.

Following are the discrepancies in Microsoft’s claims. A fair cost comparison for virtualization and private cloud platform is also outlined below.

The incremental cost of Microsoft Premier Support  needs to be added to Microsoft’s total cost. VMware’s Support and Subscription Services (SNS) entitles a customer to not only all software releases and updates but also VMware’s Technical Support. Microsoft “Software Assurance” (SA) does not provide similar technical support access. Customers must either purchase “Premier Support” separately from Microsoft (at >$200 per hour) or use third party services.

The claim that Dynamic Memory improvements in Hyper-V 2012 will reduce the 20% VM density advantage VMware calculator assumes is unsupported. The improvement in “Dynamic Memory” that the blog refers to, is only a feature that allows host-level memory swapping during VM startup. VMware’s published third party tests that showed the 20% VM density advantage were based on running steady-state VM workloads and not VMs that were booting up. The steady state scenario is more representative of a production datacenter.

The VMware vSphere VM density advantage derives from its use of five levels of memory management technology.  Hyper-V 2012, like previous versions, continues to employ just “memory ballooning” and that limitation handicaps its VM density.

Once the incremental cost of Microsoft Premier Support is considered, Microsoft’s total costs are at parity even with VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus edition. Following comparison shows the cost of deploying 12 VMs/host for Microsoft and 14 VM/host for VMware for a 100 VM virtualization deployment using dual socket, 6-core servers with 128GB RAM.

Virtualization Platform: Acquisition cost comparison using VMware vSphere and Microsoft Windows Hyper-V 2012

Next, let’s take a look at the private cloud solution stack comparison suggested by Microsoft to point out the flaws in their analysis.

vFabric APM and Service Manager costs need to be excluded for VMware. It seems Microsoft wasn’t paying attention when VMware announced the “Extension of Cloud Management Capabilities with vCloud Suite Updates” in October 2012. Monitoring of operating systems, web servers, application servers, mail servers, database, messaging middleware, network, virtualization platform and application platform is now included in VMware vCloud Suite Enterprise. In addition, vCloud Suite Enterprise also includes vCloud Automation Center that automates several cloud delivery services across private and public clouds.

The additional costs a customer has to incur with 3rd party solutions given the lack of various critical features in the Microsoft stack needed to be added. In addition, the total acquisition cost, beyond the cost of software licenses only, needs to be considered. Following is an estimation of the additional cost to acquire missing functionalities from 3rd parties.

(The3rd party products are examples of equivalent technology only and do not imply support for Window Hyper-V.)

Following is a cost comparison for a private cloud deployment for 100 VMs using dual socket, 6-core servers with 128GB RAM.

Private Cloud: Acquisition cost comparison using VMware vCloud Suite vs. Windows-based Private Cloud

Finally, VMware vCloud Suite is designed and built for virtual and cloud infrastructures and is far more efficient, reliable and robust compared to Microsoft Windows based private cloud solution.

The Microsoft blog is yet another attempt to artificially inflate VMware’s prices and distract customers from the shortcomings of their own products.

 

 

VMware Delivers on vCloud Suite and vSphere 5.1 and Further Raises the Bar for Virtualization and Private Cloud Innovations

Today is an exciting day for VMware and for all our customers. The new vCloud Suite 5.1 and vSphere 5.1 products announced just two weeks ago at VMworld are now available for download. With these new releases, VMware customers can build even more agile, efficient and reliable datacenters.

VMware vCloud Suite is the most comprehensive solution for the Software-Defined Datacenter. It extends the benefits of virtualization to other aspects of infrastructure such as storage, networking, security and availability. By abstracting and pooling the underlying hardware, vCloud Suite enables customers to better utilize their hardware resources, provision datacenter services on demand and manage their environments using policy-driven automation. Customers can thus respond faster to their business needs while delivering the highest service levels for their applications. vCloud Suite also simplifies purchasing by integrating VMware’s virtualization, cloud infrastructure and management portfolio into a single SKU, priced per CPU with no limits on provisioned virtual memory or virtual machines.

vSphere 5.1, the foundation of vCloud Suite, also comes with over 100 enhancements and new features to deliver the highest performance and availability for all applications. Every vSphere 5.1 edition now comes with much more capabilities and value. Key enhancements include more powerful VMs, features to avoid unplanned downtimes and robust networking capabilities. vSphere 5.1 supports VMs with up to 64 vCPUs, enhanced vMotion to enable live migration without any shared storage, new vSphere Data Protection powered by EMC Avamar, vSphere replication for cost-effective disaster recovery, vShield endpoint for efficient VM security and enhanced vSphere Distributed Switch for simplified deployment and management of virtual networks.

Customers across the board, SMBs or Enterprises, can start deploying these capabilities right away. If we take a look at competitive offerings, there are several promises made which are yet to be realized, keeping prospective users waiting. For example, to use most of the features of Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, customers need System Center 2012 SP1, which is only in beta and several months away from release. Microsoft is making customers wait even longer for features that have been promised for over a year now.

Once again, VMware has extended its leadership in providing customers an agile, reliable and cost-effective cloud infrastructure. I encourage every customer to download vSphere 5.1, upgrade to vCloud Suite and take advantage of the new features and capabilities available to them. Customers can be assured that VMware engineers are already hard at work on, our next vSphere and vCloud releases to continue delivering the innovative solutions our customers need and expect from us.

VMworld 2012: Real Customers, Real Momentum (Thursday)

It’s the last day of VMworld 2012. The customer stories continue with Cardinal Health, Green Mountain Power Corporation, Northwestern University, Warner Bros, NYSE Technologies, and Boeing sharing their deployments of VMware products. However, I thought we could talk about one last company using VMware-based clouds – and that is VMware!

OneCloud is an internal private cloud built on vSphere and vCloud Director. It originally started as a way for VMware technical sales to demonstrate the capabilities of vCloud Director and other VMware solutions to customers. It now serves as the IaaS cloud for many departments within VMware including R&D, education, and corporate IT. VMware IT has also deployed vFabric Application Director internally to streamline application provisioning. They have seen a 90% improvement in workload provisioning time and significant opex savings while delivering a more scalable, more adaptive cloud environment for users within VMware.

It’s been an exhilarating (and exhausting!) week at VMworld 2012. The community has been amazing and hearing these customers explain their deployments of VMware products has been highly educational. Now it’s back to work and getting ready for VMworld Europe. See you in Barcelona!