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When Comparing VMware vs. Microsoft Costs, Pay Attention to Support Costs

If you’ve been to any Microsoft virtualization session over the past year, you’ve seen Microsoft comparing VMware vs. Microsoft costs to deploy 5 virtualization hosts and how VMware is supposedly much more expensive. We’ve already blogged in great detailabout why Microsoft’s approach makes little sense in a virtual environment (because it totally ignores VM density, which is critical for accurate cost calculations in a virtualized datacenter) and how the claim itself is not credible.

But there is another point that needs to be considered – the cost of support. In these Microsoft cost comparisons, Microsoft likes to compare the cost of VMware Production SnS (25% of license price per year, formerly known as Platinum SnS) to that of Microsoft Software Assurance (25% of license price per year). VMware Production SnSincludes subscription and 24×7, unlimited support to give our customers the peace of mind of knowing they can get support when they need it. Microsoft SA, on the other hand, includes subscription, but only one support incident for every $20,000 of server/CALs licenses purchased.

So what does a customer do once they’ve burned through the support incidents “included” with SA? Well, they have to buy more support from Microsoft of course. Option 1 is to purchase more per-incident support at $259 per incident(business hours only) or $515 per incident(after hours support). Option 2, if they are a larger enterprise, is to buy Microsoft Premier Support, which costs $210/hour (purchased in blocks of pre-paid hours). Microsoft’s cost comparisons to VMware leave out these additional support costs.

Now, your final support cost with Microsoft will depend on your environment and support requirements. But the next time you hear about or decide to do a cost comparison, remember to factor in VM density and the additional Microsoft support costs beyond SA.

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