Seemingly in response to various criticisms, marketing by competitors and the perception that the VMware Infrastructure (VI) suite can be a little on the pricey side VMware have released a ‘Cost Per Application’ calculator.
What VMware is trying to do is draw the emphasis away from how much the overall VI package costs but instead focus on the increased number of ‘applications’/VMs you can run on a single ESX host (ie: the density) compared to that of competitors (ie: Microsoft’s Hyper-V). The upshot is that VMware ESX through the use of technologies such as memory sharing can generally run more VMs on a single piece of tin. Though of course depending on who you talk to this would likely be contested. 🙂
As is the case with many large international companies the pricing that the calculator generates is in US$ but from it (if you are outside of the US) you can still get a rough idea on price differences.
I was kind of expecting the calculator to always show results in VMware’s favour though in fairness I found that when entering in a relatively small number of ‘applications’ though still requiring the VMware ESX Enterprise features it did sometimes show that Hyper-V was the cheaper option. Of course we should bear in mind that VI’s Enterprise level features such as DRS are much more mature than Hyper-V’s at this stage which could sway things back in VI’s favour.
Also, why you’d ever mix a low number of VMs that’d most likely sit on a single piece of server hardware with the VI Enterprise Edition (which needs multiple ESX hosts to use it’s HA/DRS feature set) wouldn’t make much sense anyway – unless I guess you were planning to add extra ESX hosts later.
The calculator in my opinion is a little conservative on how many VMs or ‘applications’ you could run on the server hardware though better it be this way than over optimistic.