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Author Archives: Chanda Dani

Chanda Dani

About Chanda Dani

Chanda Dani has been with VMware since May 2010. She has worked in various product marketing roles across the Software-Defined Datacenter product portfolio and currently does product marketing for VMware's cloud management products - vRealize Suite, vCloud Suite and vRealize product lines. Follow her on twitter: @chanda_dani

Flawed Logic Behind Microsoft’s Virtualization and Private Cloud Cost Comparisons

Microsoft has published a blog article claiming that VMware’s Cost-Per-Application Calculator admits VMware’s costs are higher.

VMware’s Cost-Per-Application calculator is designed to rebut Microsoft claims that Hyper-V is five to ten times cheaper. It shows that the acquisition cost with even VMware’s highest edition – vSphere Enterprise Plus is at parity with Microsoft and actually beats Microsoft for most configurations. For example, the blog shows a comparison result from the VMware calculator using servers that have 64GB RAM. A comparison using servers with 128GB RAM, the more common configuration, shows that the total cost with VMware is at parity with Microsoft.

When customers do cost comparisons for themselves, they’ll have to decide what is important to their deployment. Can they risk looking only at the initial licensing costs or is it important to plan for ongoing support and maintenance as well. VMware’s Cost-Per-Application calculator aids customers in comparing the total acquisition costs of a virtual infrastructure and not just the software cost.

VMware’s calculator takes a conservative approach by not including the support cost for Microsoft as Microsoft Premier Support is billed by the hour and the usage varies from customer to customer. Once the incremental support cost is added for Microsoft, the acquisition cost with VMware is at parity or less in all scenarios.

In addition, vSphere Enterprise Plus has far better functionality than Hyper-V as shown by the feature comparison table in the Cost-Per-Application calculator detailed results.

Following are the discrepancies in Microsoft’s claims. A fair cost comparison for virtualization and private cloud platform is also outlined below.

The incremental cost of Microsoft Premier Support  needs to be added to Microsoft’s total cost. VMware’s Support and Subscription Services (SNS) entitles a customer to not only all software releases and updates but also VMware’s Technical Support. Microsoft “Software Assurance” (SA) does not provide similar technical support access. Customers must either purchase “Premier Support” separately from Microsoft (at >$200 per hour) or use third party services.

The claim that Dynamic Memory improvements in Hyper-V 2012 will reduce the 20% VM density advantage VMware calculator assumes is unsupported. The improvement in “Dynamic Memory” that the blog refers to, is only a feature that allows host-level memory swapping during VM startup. VMware’s published third party tests that showed the 20% VM density advantage were based on running steady-state VM workloads and not VMs that were booting up. The steady state scenario is more representative of a production datacenter.

The VMware vSphere VM density advantage derives from its use of five levels of memory management technology.  Hyper-V 2012, like previous versions, continues to employ just “memory ballooning” and that limitation handicaps its VM density.

Once the incremental cost of Microsoft Premier Support is considered, Microsoft’s total costs are at parity even with VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus edition. Following comparison shows the cost of deploying 12 VMs/host for Microsoft and 14 VM/host for VMware for a 100 VM virtualization deployment using dual socket, 6-core servers with 128GB RAM.

Virtualization Platform: Acquisition cost comparison using VMware vSphere and Microsoft Windows Hyper-V 2012

Next, let’s take a look at the private cloud solution stack comparison suggested by Microsoft to point out the flaws in their analysis.

vFabric APM and Service Manager costs need to be excluded for VMware. It seems Microsoft wasn’t paying attention when VMware announced the “Extension of Cloud Management Capabilities with vCloud Suite Updates” in October 2012. Monitoring of operating systems, web servers, application servers, mail servers, database, messaging middleware, network, virtualization platform and application platform is now included in VMware vCloud Suite Enterprise. In addition, vCloud Suite Enterprise also includes vCloud Automation Center that automates several cloud delivery services across private and public clouds.

The additional costs a customer has to incur with 3rd party solutions given the lack of various critical features in the Microsoft stack needed to be added. In addition, the total acquisition cost, beyond the cost of software licenses only, needs to be considered. Following is an estimation of the additional cost to acquire missing functionalities from 3rd parties.

(The3rd party products are examples of equivalent technology only and do not imply support for Window Hyper-V.)

Following is a cost comparison for a private cloud deployment for 100 VMs using dual socket, 6-core servers with 128GB RAM.

Private Cloud: Acquisition cost comparison using VMware vCloud Suite vs. Windows-based Private Cloud

Finally, VMware vCloud Suite is designed and built for virtual and cloud infrastructures and is far more efficient, reliable and robust compared to Microsoft Windows based private cloud solution.

The Microsoft blog is yet another attempt to artificially inflate VMware’s prices and distract customers from the shortcomings of their own products.



VMware Delivers on vCloud Suite and vSphere 5.1 and Further Raises the Bar for Virtualization and Private Cloud Innovations

Today is an exciting day for VMware and for all our customers. The new vCloud Suite 5.1 and vSphere 5.1 products announced just two weeks ago at VMworld are now available for download. With these new releases, VMware customers can build even more agile, efficient and reliable datacenters.

VMware vCloud Suite is the most comprehensive solution for the Software-Defined Datacenter. It extends the benefits of virtualization to other aspects of infrastructure such as storage, networking, security and availability. By abstracting and pooling the underlying hardware, vCloud Suite enables customers to better utilize their hardware resources, provision datacenter services on demand and manage their environments using policy-driven automation. Customers can thus respond faster to their business needs while delivering the highest service levels for their applications. vCloud Suite also simplifies purchasing by integrating VMware’s virtualization, cloud infrastructure and management portfolio into a single SKU, priced per CPU with no limits on provisioned virtual memory or virtual machines.

vSphere 5.1, the foundation of vCloud Suite, also comes with over 100 enhancements and new features to deliver the highest performance and availability for all applications. Every vSphere 5.1 edition now comes with much more capabilities and value. Key enhancements include more powerful VMs, features to avoid unplanned downtimes and robust networking capabilities. vSphere 5.1 supports VMs with up to 64 vCPUs, enhanced vMotion to enable live migration without any shared storage, new vSphere Data Protection powered by EMC Avamar, vSphere replication for cost-effective disaster recovery, vShield endpoint for efficient VM security and enhanced vSphere Distributed Switch for simplified deployment and management of virtual networks.

Customers across the board, SMBs or Enterprises, can start deploying these capabilities right away. If we take a look at competitive offerings, there are several promises made which are yet to be realized, keeping prospective users waiting. For example, to use most of the features of Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, customers need System Center 2012 SP1, which is only in beta and several months away from release. Microsoft is making customers wait even longer for features that have been promised for over a year now.

Once again, VMware has extended its leadership in providing customers an agile, reliable and cost-effective cloud infrastructure. I encourage every customer to download vSphere 5.1, upgrade to vCloud Suite and take advantage of the new features and capabilities available to them. Customers can be assured that VMware engineers are already hard at work on, our next vSphere and vCloud releases to continue delivering the innovative solutions our customers need and expect from us.

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


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 Savings

VMware Savings (%)

Infrastructure Cost

















Power and cooling (1 Year)





DataCenter Space (1 Year)





Total Infrastructure cost





Virtualization SW Cost



vSphere 5 (Standard) + SnS










Windows Licenses Cost





Win 2008 w/Hyper-V + SA





Virtualization Mgmt. SW Cost





vCenter Total (w/SNS)





vCenter and SnS





Windows for vCenter and SQL





SQL 2005 for vCenter





System Center and SA










Total Management Software Cost





Total Software Costs





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




Total Costs





Total Costs per Application





% difference in VM density



 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


$3,607 covering up to 2 processors

License price per proc without SA



 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.


Setting SolarWinds straight on how SMBs prefer VMware over Microsoft

SolarWinds recently published a blog claiming VMware ceded the SMB market to Microsoft Hyper-V. Unfortunately the SolarWinds blog is not accepting comments, so we are posting our response here. The blog misquotes Gartner, makes incorrect statements about VMware products and packaging and makes unsupported claims on how VMware will play in the SMB market.

Firstly, Gartner’s estimates of hypervisor SMB market share are far different from those made in the blog. The author should back up Gartner’s statements with citations.

Claims made in the blog about VMware are baseless as well.

Claim 1: VMware continues to add enterprise-focused capability to their product, most of which will not be used by SMBs.

Fact: VMware offers Essentials and Essential Plus editions that are designed specifically for small environments, with features that smaller businesses want. vSphere also comes in 6 CPU-pack acceleration kits, targeted at, and priced for SMBs with a range of features, from the basic server consolidation to policy-based datacenter management. VMware has also launched new products and services specifically targeted at SMBs. Examples are vSphere Storage Appliance, and the cloud-based Go service.

Claim 2:, SMBs end up paying more for functionality that they won’t use.

Fact: The Essentials edition is priced at $83/processor (lic only) and the Essential Plus edition is priced at $749/processor (lic only).

SMB do not need to pay for advanced functionality unless they are interested in high end capabilities such as Storage and Network I/O controls.

Claim 3: Unlike Microsoft, VMware doesn’t really have a way to profit from customers using a free version of their product, giving us reason to expect that they won’t be a price competitor with Microsoft in the short term.

Fact: VMware not only has a strong adoption in SMBs, but also the preferred vendor status. VMware’s > 70% market share comment is true and includes SMBs as well. A broad range of projections on VMware’s market share have been made in the past. However, VMware, continued to be the preferred choice of customers of all sizes by focusing on innovation and keeping the technology lead. This fact is supported by the more than 350,000 customers across SMBs and enterprise that are VMware users. VMware also offers a free Hypervisor for users with simple requirements who want to try out virtualization. It can be downloaded with VMware Go, the web-based service that will guide users through the installation and configuration process.

Please refer to VMware products, pricing and packaging at www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/pricing.html