VMware: vSphere Cheaper To Run Than Microsoft Hyper-V

VMware this week cited recent test results from research firm Principled Technologies which show that the combination of vSphere and vCenter Site Recovery Manager is cheaper to operate than Hyper-V and System Center, in terms of the time admins must spend to keep it up and running.

In its side-by-side comparison using the latest versions of VMware and Microsoft's products, Principled Technologies measured the time required to perform five common admin tasks: provisioning new hosts; moving virtual machines off a host for physical maintenance; adding storage volumes and moving virtual disk files onto them; isolating storage intensive VMs; and performing disaster recovery failover tests.

[Related: CRN's 2012 Virtualization 100: Part 1 ]

In all cases, vSphere performed these tasks between 78 percent and 97 percent faster, according to Eric Horschman, director of marketing at VMware. He chalks up this advantage to the automation of labor and scripting intensive tasks that VMware has built into vCenter and vSphere.

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"vSphere technology lets you do multiple concurrent migrations, and also live migrate faster than Microsoft products, which are limited to a single live migration," Horschman told CRN. "Systems admins are not spending as much time waiting for tasks to complete, which means they can do more physical maintenance."

Principled Technologies also put a dollar figure on the cost savings, by estimating the number of times each of the tasks would be repeated over a two-year period in a data center with 1,000 VMs, and then multiplying that cumulative time by the U.S. national average salary for system admins. By this measure, vSphere's operational costs are 91 percent less than Microsoft Hyper-V and System Center, Horschman said.

VMware calculates its costs by the number of virtual machines that need to be hosted and the number of physical hosts they will require, along with storage, networking hardware, software and data center costs. VMware users need less hosts, less data center space, less power and cooling and less storage, according to Horschman.

"When you do that complete infrastructure cost comparison, the difference between VMware and Microsoft is negligible when you assume the same number of VMs per host," he said. "But when you factor in a relatively VM density advantage for VMware, we come in significantly lower."

VMware has long grumbled about the methodology Microsoft uses to support its argument that VMware is more expensive, and Horschman echoed these concerns.

"Microsoft's cost comparison looks primarily at the software side of things, ignoring differences in VM density, which is not realistic," he said. "Microsoft is also including all of our products, including cloud management and vCenter Operations, which provide functionality that goes way beyond what Microsoft can deliver."

Horschman said Microsoft also uses discounted volume licensing pricing in calculating the cost of its own server virtualization lineup.

"Our customers recognize that VMware is providing better value, and we're trying to make the market aware of the same thing," he added. "We recognize that Microsoft can do a lot of marketing, but we want to get our side of the story out there."