The Virtualization Room

Oct 9 2008   10:11AM GMT

VMware vs. Hyper-V: Comparing apples to carrots

Eric Siebert Eric Siebert Profile: Eric Siebert

OK, I had to laugh at this one. A Microsoft blog references an article in which a company that predominantly runs Microsoft applications said that it received a $50,000 quote from VMware to virtualize 16 physical servers to four virtual hosts. It claims that the cost comprised $25,000 in software costs and $25,000 in installation costs. The article also said the company chose Hyper-V instead because it cost only $49 per server. The article didn’t mention anything about hardware costs so presumably the company already had hardware or planned to purchase it separately.

The $50,000 price tag was obviously very high. Most likely the quote was for at least one Enterprise license per server as well as VirtualCenter, which may have come out to $25,000 or so. The company claimed to only have a 10-15% CPU utilization rate on its current servers, so it could have easily gone with only two ESX hosts. However, it is possible that they needed four hosts for Hyper-V.

I have to wonder if the company realized what it would get for $25,000. The VMware option provides very robust and feature-rich Enterprise licenses along with a VirtualCenter management server. Comparing this to Hyper-V is like comparing apples to carrots: They aren’t even in the same family. I also wonder if it thought that all it would need to fork out was $49 per server and thus the whole project was going to cost $196 compared with $50,000. Apparently nobody informed it of the underlying requirement of a Windows Server 2008 license for each Hyper-V server. If the company were instead looking at the recently announced Hyper-V Server 2008, which is free, it missed the fact that ESXi is also free and would not have included licensing costs.

As far as $25,000 in installation costs, that seems extremely high for setting up four ESX hosts and performing physical-to-virtual conversions of existing servers to virtual machines. Without seeing the details of the quote it’s hard to say what the company would have paid for. It apparently had no virtualization experience whatsoever, because if it had, it wouldn’t pay someone to install and configure its servers. Presumably it would still have to pay someone to virtualize its environment on to Hyper-V servers. Unfortunately the article made no mention of those costs.

I have to give the company the benefit of the doubt. Was it merely a victim of someone trying to sell it way more than it needed or did the person who provided the quote not understand the company’s needs? It could have easily gone with ESXi servers for free and paid a reasonable amount to have someone help with the installation. If it wanted more features it could have also gone with one of the ESX Foundation Acceleration kits bundled with VirtualCenter for only $3,600. It’s a shame that the company was quoted such a high price. I know if I saw a price tag like that to virtualize a small environment I would balk at it too. However, while looking at other alternatives I would also ask why the quote was so high and try to understand exactly what the cost entailed. It sounds as if someone were trying to sell the company a bunch of Ferraris when all it really needed was a couple of mini-vans.

So without all the facts all we can do is guess, but this seems to be just another case of comparing apples to carrots in an attempt to exploit the so-called price issue between ESX and Hyper-V that doesn’t exist if you do a fair comparison between the two.

2  Comments on this Post

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  • MikeDiPetrillo
    It also doesn't hurt that the author of the article works for Microsoft PR in NZ. However, yes, I agree this customer was WAY over quoted for what his actual needs are. You hit the nail on the head by suggesting free ESXi or VMware Virtual Infrastructure Foundation. Oh well, I hope the customer likes the migration monkey he got for $50,000.
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  • Bozo
    I assume the $25,000 installation cost must have included a SAN. Shared storage is a no-brainer in an ESX environment for VMotion. Since Hyper-V can't live migrate yet they wouldn't need a SAN as part of the "solution" so that would have dramatically lowered the perceived cost upfront.
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