Despite the fact that Hyper-V R2 addresses some of the issues of R1, Microsoft Hyper-V still cannot compete with VMware vSphere on a value-added capabilities and functionality. Just look at how Burton Group (“Microsoft Hyper-V Still a Work in Progress”) still deems Hyper-V R2 as not enterprise-ready. Therefore, Microsoft resorts to competing with VMware on cost. As such, Microsoft execs have been going around touting how Hyper-V is an order of magnitude cheaper than vSphere. Actually it is funny to see how the fraction they cite keeps changing -- the claim started at 1/3rd the cost of VMware (“…We [i.e. Microsoft Hyper-V] are one-third the price of VMware's”), then became 1/5th (“…the cost of vSphere Enterprise is five times that of buying the Microsoft solution”), and now Microsoft execs are saying 1/6th the cost (“…Hyper-V, which ships with Windows Server 2008, costs one sixth that of VMware's virtualization solutions”). I guess 1/3rd didn’t work or something so they keep marking it down – 25% off, 50% off, no wait if you buy now 75% off!
Given all this noise, imagine my surprise when I see a Microsoft blog that basically debunks Microsoft’s own “1/6th the cost” claim. In “Investigating the VMware Cost-Per-Application Calculator”, a Microsoft employee publishes a lengthy dissertation on our updated VMware Cost Per Application Calculator with which we demonstrate how thanks to its superior technology vSphere is actually a less expensive solution than Hyper-V. It appears that the author’s intent was to point out our model’s supposed flaws. But, one would have expected that after he “fixed” all of our “flawed” assumptions, his calculations would definitively show Hyper-V as truly 1/6th the cost of vSphere. However that’s not the case at all. In, fact, the only clear takeaway from Microsoft’s blog, after all the twists, turns, objections and re-calculations, is that Hyper-V is nowhere close to being 1/6th the cost of vSphere. Even in the author’s best case scenario for Hyper-V, in which Hyper-V hosts run more VMs than vSphere ones thanks to more physical RAM on the Hyper-V hosts, Hyper-V is only 31% less than vSphere’s highest-end edition. Last time I checked, 31% less is nowhere near 1/6th the cost. If he had compared Hyper-V to lower-end editions of vSphere, those that more closely match what Hyper-V R2 delivers, there would have been practically no cost advantage for Hyper-V R2.
The bottom line is that Microsoft’s blog doesn’t uncover anything new about the VMware Cost Per Application Calculator. Quite the opposite, it confirms it. Try our calculator for yourself and create a customized report. You will find that it includes a sensitivity analysis showing vSphere’s cost per application at different consolidation ratios. The analysis clearly demonstrates that even at equal consolidation ratios (worst case scenario for vSphere), Hyper-V’s total acquisition cost is, at best, only marginally lower. Once you factor in vSphere’s tremendous consolidation ratio advantage over Hyper-V and vSphere’s ability to scale up to 2X more VMs than Hyper-V (check-out the “Evaluating the ESX 4 Hypervisor and VM Density Advantage” report), vSphere delivers the lowest cost per application by up to 20-30%. In fact, often vSphere becomes a less expensive solution than Hyper-V with just 1-2 more VM’s per ESX host – in addition to being a much more functional, more scalable, more proven product.
So you can either believe us when we say that Microsoft Hyper-V is actually about the same cost as VMware products or you can believe Microsoft when they say that VMware solutions cost about as much as Hyper-V – take your pick!
OK, now let’s get back to talking about how virtualization technologies solve business needs. Oh, and thanks Microsoft for busting your own myth.