Private Cloud Pricing: Microsoft Versus VMware

What’s the price differential between implementing a private cloud using technology from Microsoft or VMware? One analysis suggests that one costs more than six times the other.

Battle picture from Shutterstock

That figure comes from a presentation this afternoon at Microsoft’s MMS 2013 management conference, which I’m covering as part of our ongoing World Of Servers series. And yes, I know; given that it’s sourced from Microsoft, a grain of salt or two would be sensible, and it’s no surprise that Microsoft comes out on top. Nonetheless it’s an interesting comparison given the fierce battle between the two rivals.

Technical product manager Matt McSpirit set the following criteria for the comparison:

  • The system is running 500 virtual machines, with a 15:1 ratio of virtual machines to host. That equates to 34 dual-CPU machines.
  • No individual Windows Server licence costs are included in the comparison. In either scenario, the customers would have to pay for individual licences; the vast majority of virtualised workloads are Windows rather than Linux, according to Gartner and other market watchers. The costs here are purely those to implement the management and automation systems for a private cloud environment.
  • Prices are in US dollars. Australian pricing would almost certainly be higher on both sides.
  • Prices are quoted retail costs; anyone with an enterprise deal from either company would undoubtedly be paying less (and it’s hard to imagine that not happening with a deal on this scale).
  • For Microsoft, McSpirit calculated the cost of an appropriate number of System Center 2012 Datacenter Edition licences at $122,638. (The actual Hyper-V hypervisor is free, but System Center needed for deployment and automation.)
  • For VMware, McSpir calculated the cost of an appropriate number of vCloud Suite Enterprise licences at $781,660, with an additional $4995 for vCenter Server. That’s a total of $786,665, which doesn’t include ongoing maintenance fees.

Again, that’s assuming you want full private cloud management capabilities; a basic VM deployment system from either provider would be much cheaper. The key lesson, regardless of which provider you favour, is to calculate sums carefully and always push for a better deal.

Lifehacker’s World Of Servers sees me travelling to conferences around Australia and around the globe in search of fresh insights into how server and infrastructure deployment is changing in the cloud era. This week, I’m in Las Vegas for the Microsoft Management Summit 2013, looking for practical guidance on deploying and managing Windows servers.

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