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Discover How Much You Can Save by Choosing VMware for Your Private Cloud with Our Updated TCO Comparison Calculator

A brand-new update to the VMware TCO Comparison Calculator is now available for you to compare the Total Cost of Ownership of VMware and Microsoft virtual infrastructure and private cloud platforms. We’ve taken our familiar calculator and updated it with the latest prices, features and independent lab test results to help you evaluate the complete lifecycle costs – combining operational and capital expenses – of a virtual infrastructure and private cloud solution matching your requirements.

Operational Expenses – latest testing reconfirms the VMware advantage

The VMware TCO Comparison Calculator refresh incorporates the results from new independent testing conducted by Principled Technologies that measured the operational costs of running a private cloud based on the latest product releases from VMware and Microsoft. In the case of VMware, Principled Technologies tested vSphere 6.5 and vRealize Suite 7.0. Their Microsoft testing was on Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V and System Center 2016. By measuring the steps and time needed to complete an array of essential virtual infrastructure and private cloud operations tasks, Principled Technologies provided the raw data the calculator uses to estimate the OpEx costs you can expect to pay. As with similar OpEx studies conducted over the last several years, Principled Technologies found VMware OpEx costs to be substantially lower than Microsoft’s. A few of the contributors to the VMware OpEx advantage are:

  • Patching hosts – Principled Technologies again confirmed that vSphere, with its bare-metal architecture, has much lower patching costs than Hyper-V, which comes bolted to a multi-gigabyte Windows Server OS. [Gartner also just reiterated how much more downtime is required for Hyper-V patching.]
  • Protecting VMs – The new VM encryption feature in vSphere 6.5 is much easier to use than the VM protection features in Hyper-V. A simple storage policy setting in vSphere encrypts all VM data at the hypervisor-level and works with any guest OS. Microsoft’s approach requires separate infrastructures for shielding VMs with newer Windows versions, and completely different methods for Linux and older Windows guests.
  • Operations management and automation – The VMware vRealize Suite makes setting up dashboards for infrastructure monitoring and managing capacity much faster than with Microsoft’s System Center components. Your system administrators can better configure vRealize Operations and vRealize Automation to match their operations management and automation needs. In addition, ongoing monitoring is more efficient.

Capital Expenses – influenced by density, licensing, and management resources

The other half of the TCO equation is capital expenses – what you pay for the servers, networking and storage hardware, as well as the software licenses.

Because most of our customers need to run Windows Server VMs, the TCO Comparison Calculator includes the cost of Windows Server 2016 Datacenter licenses for all hosts in both the VMware and Microsoft configurations. Licensing all hosts this way enables you to run as many Windows VMs as you wish. As a result, you might expect Microsoft to edge out VMware on CapEx because Hyper-V comes bundled with Windows Server. However, that’s not the case. Some reasons why are:

  • Management overhead – As management and automation capabilities get more sophisticated with each release, VMware has better avoided bloated compute and memory resources needed for those services. Management components like vCenter, vRealize Suite, and System Center run in their own VMs. The calculator applies the documented sizing guidelines and best practices of both VMware and Microsoft for the management VMs needed by each vendor. Following those guidelines leads to Microsoft infrastructure that needs almost four times the compute and memory resources for management VMs. And this translates into more hosts, more software licenses, and higher CapEx.
  • VM density – Every time we talk to a VMware customer that comes back to vSphere after trying Hyper-V, they confirm that they can run more VMs on their servers with vSphere. It is primarily due to the powerful memory economizing technologies built into vSphere that operate in any out-of-the-box installation, versus the cumbersome and rarely used dynamic memory feature in Hyper-V. The conservative, but adjustable, VM density advantage factored in by the calculator reduces VMware hardware and software requirements, lowering CapEx.
  • Per processor vs. per core licensing – Microsoft’s switch to core-based pricing for Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 has raised their prices on any multi-socket server with more than eight cores per processor. Microsoft licenses for a two-socket server with 18-core processors cost 125% more than they did a year ago – OUCH! VMware users also feel that pain, since most are running Windows VMs, but Microsoft private cloud users pay the new higher prices twice – once for Windows Server and again for System Center – driving their CapEx higher. Fortunately for VMware users, vSphere, vRealize Suite and vCloud Suite have CPU-based licensing, so when Intel and AMD pack more cores into their processors, you enjoy the benefits without paying a “core tax.”

Try the calculator and see how much you can save

The VMware TCO Calculator Methodology white paper explains in detail how the calculator works. Here’s an example of the calculator results comparing the TCO of a 1,000-VM private cloud based on VMware vCloud Suite Enterprise (our top-level private cloud bundle combining vSphere Enterprise Plus with vRealize Suite Enterprise) to one built with Hyper-V 2016 and System Center 2016.

VMware TCO Comparison Calculator example


Even with conservative assumptions for VM density, VMware provides healthy TCO savings compared to Microsoft. Use the calculator to see what your TCO savings could be.

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About Eric Horschman

Eric Horschman, Product Marketing Director at VMware Eric joined VMware in 1999 where, as product manager, he brought the first x86 server virtualization product to market and helped establish VMware as the leader in enterprise virtual infrastructure. Since then, he’s worked to launch and market a broad set of VMware enterprise platforms. Currently, Eric leads product marketing for Azure VMware Solution as part of the VMware Cloud Infrastructure Business Group.