Last week VMware announced very positive business results for the first quarter 2010, beating analyst expectations by a considerable margin. Needless to say, we are thrilled to see how customers continue to turn to VMware to reduce complexity, dramatically lower costs, and increase business agility.
In the earnings call, our execs also described how we saw strong momentum in our vSphere bundles for small and medium businesses (vSphere Essentials, vSphere Essentials Plus and vSphere Acceleration Kits). For some people, hearing this may be a bit of a surprise as other virtualization vendors have been trying to create the misconception that VMware’s virtualization is too expensive for small businesses. Microsoft, for example, claims that Hyper-V and System Center are 3x to 12x less expensive than the VMware’s Essentials bundles. Ultimately, nothing better than positive business results demonstrates how such claims are a misrepresentation of reality, but just in case, here is some simple math that proves it.
In the table below we compare the cost of software licenses and support to deploy a virtualization solution with centralized management and the ability to quick recovery from hardware failures. The size of the deployment is 3 virtualization hosts (2 CPUs per host) running 15 VMs total.
As you can see from the table, VMware Essentials Plus is actually about $800 cheaper than a comparable offering from Microsoft even when only considering licensing cost and assuming equal consolidation ratios. While we believe that cost per application is a better approach to determine cost of acquisition for large and small/medium businesses, we wanted to debunk our competitor’s claim using their preferred methodology – upfront software license costs.
Price is certainly an important element of consideration for a small business; however it is not the only advantage that explains the momentum of the VMware Essentials bundles. Reliability, ease-of-use, unlimited technical support calls, and rapid recovery from unplanned hardware failure are also other very important ones. In the last couple of blogs (“VMware ESX to ESXi Upgrade Center – Check it Out!”, “Jumpstart a free virtual environment in a few clicks with VMware GO and ESXi”) we have talked about how and why VMware ESXi is a more reliable, robust and easy-to-use virtualization platform. VMware’s solutions for SMBs are based on the same core technology that the largest companies in the world use in their production environments — there just is not a more proven x86 virtualization platform out there. Why settle for less when you can afford to get the best? I guess many people have already figured this out.
In my next blog, I will discuss in greater detail the advantages that vSphere Essentials Plus offers for recovery and protection from hardware failures.
In our last blog post, we discussed what motivated VMware to create ESXi and how its unique streamlined architecture, with no dependence on a general purpose operating system (Windows or Linux), makes it a more reliable, secure and efficient virtualization platform. These benefits are fundamental advantages of ESXi over other hypervisors, however there’s more. In fact, ESXi is also the ideal solution to quickly jumpstart a free virtual environment without a lot of pre-existing virtualization expertise.
The first key ingredient for jumpstarting a free virtual environment is a simple installation and set up process. The video linked below that the guys at GoVirtual.tv put together shows how installing ESXi is very straightforward and can be completed in a few minutes with basic system administration skills.
While a simple installation process for a hypervisor is certainly important, it represents only the initial step towards the ultimate goal of migrating applications from physical servers to virtual machines and getting them up and running as rapidly and smoothly as possible. For most large companies these are now well established processes of datacenter operations, however for first time users or resource constrained small business they could still represent a roadblock towards virtualizing apps. To help remove this roadblock, in January 2010, VMware launched VMware GO – a free web service for SMBs to help them virtualize their physical servers on ESXi and have the new virtual machines up and running with just a few mouse clicks.
VMware GO eliminates the few manual operations still present in ESXi’s installation (like verifying the hardware compatibility list or burning a CD with ESXi’s image), provides everything needed to deploy VMs on ESXi hosts, and offers basic management and reporting capabilities. Here is a list of what VMware GO can do:
- automatically check hardware for ESXi compatibility
- download ESXi and burn installation CD
- verify configuration of new ESXi installation
- apply NTP settings
- convert physical servers to virtual machines
- create, delete and resize VMs
- download and deploy virtual appliances from VMware’s Virtual Appliance Marketplace
- open a remote console to a VM
- scan ESXi hosts and VMs for patches
- generate reports: ESXi host inventory, VM inventory, patch status
You can see VMware GO in action in this great video that Dave Davis at TRAINSIGNAL recorded (Dave’s video is based on the beta version of VMware GO, nevertheless it is a very good overview of actual capabilities).
The video clearly shows how VMware GO perfectly complements the already simple installation process of ESXi, making it extremely fast not only to set up the hypervisor, but also to deploy virtual machines and perform basic centralized management tasks – all for free! Keeping in mind the unique benefits of ESXi’s architecture discussed in our previous blog post, it is easy to see how by providing greater advantages in terms of reliability and ease of use than even Microsoft Hyper-V or Citrix XenServer VMware GO + ESXi is a better solution for first time users and budget constrained small businesses.