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7 Reasons Why Microsoft’s Cloud Math Needs Remediation

Microsoft has published a white paper claiming Microsoft’s private cloud solution costs much less than VMware’s. It is interesting to see that 75% of the white paper is actually about VMware!

The white paper uses distorted cost comparisons such as comparing Microsoft’s unreleased products with VMware’s released products, comparing Microsoft discounted prices with VMware’s list price, comparing dissimilar features and comparing software only costs and ignoring the total cost. When fairly calculated, the total cost of using VMware’s solution is actually 15% less than that of Microsoft’s.

Why Microsoft Private Cloud Cost Claims in the Paper are Invalid

(1) The paper compares Microsoft’s volume discounted prices with VMware’s full list prices. The paper uses prices that are available only with their “Enrollment for Core Infrastructure” (ECI) bundle. The bundle requires a minimum initial purchase of 50 processor licenses with 3 years of Software Assurance (SA). VMware vSphere has no such minimum purchase requirements. A fair comparison should compare the product list prices from both vendors or volume discounting from both vendors.

(2) The paper compares dissimilar functionality – Microsoft’s ECI bundle is not equivalent to the VMware Cloud Infrastructure Suite. The ECI bundle either does not have a fully equivalent solution or greatly lags behind in functionality for the following VMware products making the comparison an apples-to-oranges one.

VMware-exclusive features

VMware advantages over Microsoft ECI

Microsoft’s Solution

vShield

Adaptive, virtualization-aware security for virtual datacenters and cloud environments at all levels – host, network, application, data and endpoint.

Endpoint Protection is only an antivirus solution and not virtualization aware. It lacks a built-in network loadbalancer or firewall, requires in-guest agents and is prone to AV storms.

Site Recovery Manager

Out-of-the-box, automated datacenter-level disaster recovery solution that provides replication to a secondary site, management of recovery and migration plans and non-disruptive testing.

No integrated SAN/host based replication, tedious orchestration for site failover and failback and no full-scale failover testing with network isolation making disaster recovery limited and highly manual.

vCenter Operations

Purpose-built cloud management solutions that provides intelligent monitoring, self-learning analytics, proactive management and comprehensive visibility across the entire infrastructure.

Limited operations management for the cloud that offers basic analytics, uses static, reactive thresholds with limited visualization to aid monitoring and analytics.

vCloud Director

Accelerates provisioning on shared infrastructure. Allows migration of workloads between different clouds and integration of existing management systems using extensions, APIs, and cross-cloud standards.

Cannot fully isolate tenants and extensibility to various cloud providers is limited to the Azure platform.

 

(3) The paper uses VMware’s highest product editions for comparison when Microsoft’s products are closer in functionality to VMware’s lowest editions. Hyper-V R2 is actually is closer to vSphere Standard edition in functionality.

(4) The paper ignores total costs and the impact of VM density on total costs. The paper compares the cost of software licenses only and ignores the total cost of ownership. It also does not account for VM density. vSphere’s proven 20% VM density advantage over Hyper-V (proven in tests conducted by 3rd parties) lowers the total cost for a VMware cloud by reducing the spending on servers, network, storage, power and cooling and guest operating systems.

The paper also ignores the additional costs a customer has to incur with 3rd party solutions given the lack of various critical features in Hyper-V.

When fairly calculated, Microsoft’s costs are comparable to VMware’s. When the total cost using Microsoft undiscounted Windows Server 2008 and System Center 2012 list prices are compared to the total cost of using VMware vSphere Standard and vCenter, VMware is actually 15% cheaper. Following is a total cost and and cost per VM example using the same configuration cited in the Microsoft paper. It compares the cost of deploying 14 VMs/host for Microsoft and 17 VM/host for VMware for a 500 VM deployment using dual socket, 6-core servers.

Cost per Virtual Machine

VMware

Microsoft

VMware Savings

VMware Savings (%)

Infrastructure Cost

       

Servers

$414,000

$510,600

$96,600

19%

Storage

$349,000

$366,500

$17,500

5%

Networking

$40,000

$52,000

$12,000

23%

Power and cooling (1 Year)

$25,002

$30,836

$5,834

19%

DataCenter Space (1 Year)

$6,510

$8,680

$2,170

25%

Total Infrastructure cost

$834,512

$968,616

$134,104

14%

Virtualization SW Cost

     

 

vSphere 5 (Standard) + SnS

$119,684

 

 

 

Hyper-V

 

$0

 

 

Windows Licenses Cost

 

 

 

 

Win 2008 w/Hyper-V + SA

$269,910

$332,889

$62,979

23%

Virtualization Mgmt. SW Cost

 

 

 

 

vCenter Total (w/SNS)

$9,465

 

 

 

vCenter and SnS

$7,318

 

 

 

Windows for vCenter and SQL

$0

 

 

 

SQL 2005 for vCenter

$2,147

 

 

 

System Center and SA

 

$133,496

 

 

SMSD and SA

 

$133,496

 

 

Total Management Software Cost

$9,465

$133,496

$124,031

93%

Total Software Costs

$399,059

$466,385

$67,326

14%

MS Support (Assumption 20hrs/year @ $214/hr)

 

$8,560

   

Total Costs

$1,233,571

$1,443,561

$209,990

15%

Total Costs per Application

$2,467

$2,887

$420

15%

% difference in VM density

     

21%

 Based on average support usage, the computation adds 20 hours of support per year for Microsoft as Microsoft SA does not include support. Also the storage and networking costs are higher with the Microsoft solution as it requires more servers.

(5) The paper incorrectly claims that Microsoft costs will not increase as the number of VM increases. The paper claims that customers will have to pay more with VMware as the number of VMs grows, however with Microsoft the costs remains flat. This claim is not based on realistic growth models. We know from various performance testing reports that Hyper-V R2 supports fewer VMs per processor than vSphere 5, hence, as the number of VMs increases, a Microsoft solution will require more servers along with an increase in other associated costs.

(6) Customers will see 10-20% increase in Microsoft management costs with higher System Center 2012 pricing. Microsoft’s white paper doesn’t mention that customers will now be paying more for System Center. Based on the pricing and packaging changes announced by Microsoft for System Center 2012, there is a 37.5% increase in license price per processor for the Datacenter edition.

 

System Center (Current) – Datacenter Edition

System Center 2012 -Datacenter edition

Published list price including 2 years of SA

$1310/processor

$3,607 covering up to 2 processors

License price per proc without SA

$873/processor

$1,202/processor

 Even after subtracting the cost of Management Server and SQL Server licenses, customers will experience a 10-20% price increase. In fact, our analysis shows that the impact increases as the number of VMs in the environment grows.

 Also, customers will be forced to buy the full System Center 2012 suite at a higher price as the individual components included in the new System Center 2012 cannot be purchased separately.

(7) Microsoft support costs are not included when comparing to VMware’s Support and Subscription Services (SNS). Microsoft’s SA is billed at 25% of license price and does not include “MS Support”. Customers either purchase “Support” separately from Microsoft [at $200+ per hour] or use 3rd party services. VMware’s SNS entitles a customer to not only all software releases and updates but also VMware’s Technical Support. The paper uses highest end support cost for VMware and completely ignores support cost for Microsoft!

Finally, the paper overlooks how VMware’s cloud infrastructure products are designed and built for virtual and cloud infrastructures and are far more efficient, reliable and robust compared to Microsoft’s. Check out the blog that outlines the key advantages VMware’s cloud Infrastructure Suite has over Microsoft’s products.

The Microsoft white paper is nothing but an attempt to artificially inflate VMware’s prices and distract customers from the shortcomings of their own products.

 

One thought on “7 Reasons Why Microsoft’s Cloud Math Needs Remediation

  1. Mike

    Microsoft have also neglected to mention their far smaller range of supported Guest Operating system types, which of course will limit what you can virtualize. VMware’s wide range of supported OS types means a lot more can be virtualized, potentially increasing cost savings further.

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