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Microsoft Hyper-V vs.

VMware ESX & vSphere Operations & Management Cost Analysis

A Microsoft War on Cost Study June 29, 2010

Microsoft Hyper-V vs. VMware ESX & vSphere Operations & Management Cost Analysis

Contents
Executive Summary ................................................................................................................................................................. 3 Background ............................................................................................................................................................................. 4 Methodology ........................................................................................................................................................................... 4 Findings ................................................................................................................................................................................... 5 Virtualization Adoption ....................................................................................................................................................... 5 Guest Operating Systems .................................................................................................................................................... 6 VM Guest Densities ............................................................................................................................................................. 7 IT Host Management Labor Cost ........................................................................................................................................ 7 Server Hardware ................................................................................................................................................................. 9 Customer Maturity (IO Model) ......................................................................................................................................... 11 Virtualized Workloads ....................................................................................................................................................... 12 Workload Comparison Average Cost per Guest VM by Platform .............................................................................. 12 Systems Management....................................................................................................................................................... 13 Response Summary ............................................................................................................................................................... 15 Study Population ............................................................................................................................................................... 15 Distribution by Industry .................................................................................................................................................... 17

June 29, 2010

Microsoft Hyper-V vs. VMware ESX & vSphere Operations & Management Cost Analysis

Executive Summary
The War on Cost team conducted research in late 2009 and early 2010 to determine the on-going operations and management costs for Hyper-V in comparison with VMwares ESX and vSphere products. The research intended to answer two questions: which platform is less expensive in IT labor to operate on an on-going basis, and do the systems management products used to manage the environment impact the cost of managing either or both platforms. The War on Cost team used HANSA/GCR, a market research firm, to deliver a web-based survey to enterprises with 500 PCs or greater and collect the results. The research results show that customers running Hyper-V spend 24% less on IT labor, on an ongoing basis, than customers using either ESX or vSphere. This result, by itself, is significant, but the results of the research also showed more significant findings, some of which counter claims by VMware: The IT labor costs varied widely based on the customer maturity, but the average costs were $10,357 per guest when hosted on Hyper-V versus $13,629 per guest when hosted on VMware, a 24% savings for Hyper-V versus VMware There were 501 average Windows Server guests per customer: 532 guests on average on Hyper-V versus 483 guests on average on VMware o The average customer would spend $6,828,142 in IT Labor to run 501 Windows Server guests on VMware versus $5,189,233 in IT labor to run the same 501 guests on Hyper-V, an annual labor savings of $1,638,909 when using Hyper-V The average density of Windows Server guests per server was 30% greater for Hyper-V (7.9) than VMware (6.1) o Customers are not running greater guest densities when using VMware, on average o The densities did not change significantly when Linux guests were included o The above annual IT labor savings ignore the additional savings in hardware and management that would be required based on the lower densities seen with VMware customers The average VMware customer would require 83 servers, while the average Hyper-V customer would require only 64 servers (19 fewer), to support the study average of 501 Windows Server guests The hosted server operating system breakdown was 86% Windows Server vs. 14% Linux o Windows 2003, including R2, made up 59% of the total guests, Windows 2008 was 27% of the total VMware customers showed very little migration from Windows Server 2003 (75%) vs. Windows Server 2008 (9%) Hyper-V customers ran Windows Server 2003 (34%) less than Windows Server 2008 (57%) as the guest server operating system Across workloads (App, DB, DR, Email, Test & VDI) the Hyper-V costs were less expensive for all workloads except test in all other workloads the Hyper-V customer saw significant savings Customers using Microsoft system management products to manage their hosts had 15.6% lower annual IT labor costs ($9,486) per VM than customers using vCenter ($11,238) and 36.7% lower costs than customers using management products from a mix of vendors ($14,988)

June 29, 2010

Microsoft Hyper-V vs. VMware ESX & vSphere Operations & Management Cost Analysis

Background
Numerous claims are being made by VMware that they can lower costs for customers, yet no evidence exists showing whether Microsoft or VMware provides the lower cost platform from an operational and management perspective. The purpose of this study was to understand the recurring labor costs in managing and operating the Microsoft Hyper-V platform versus the VMware ESX and vSphere platforms.

Methodology
The study was conducted using a web-based survey instrument, which was programmed and managed by HANSA/GCR. The respondents came from HANSA/GCRs panels and were located in the USA and represent enterprises having 500 PCs and up. The survey was double-blind, meaning the respondents didnt know what company was sponsoring the study, nor did they divulge their company information. Also, the study focused on Hyper-V and ESX/vSphere only, so there are no data for other hypervisors, such as Xen. No prior studies exist that compare, at a statistically significant level, the ongoing operations costs of either Hyper-V or VMware. For this study, the one-time costs were either assumed to be well known (e.g. licensing) or similar (or small) enough (e.g. planning, set-up) that these costs were out of scope for this study. The following diagram depicts the focus of the study.

TIMELINE
STRATEGIC/ PLANNING Out of Scope DELIVER (DEPLOY) Out of Scope OPERATE
(SETUP COSTS) Out of Scope

OPERATE

LABOR PER VM COST (TOTAL)

MANAGE & CONFIGURE

Compete Cost Analysis Results data Per VM VMware Microsoft

OUTCOME : Breakdown of Key Component of costs for Virtualization.

The survey collected information such as the hypervisor platform used, the labor spent managing the platform, the management tools used to manage the hosts and guests, the numbers of physical servers and guest instances, and the workloads that were virtualized. The respondents were also asked to characterize their organizations level of virtualization adoption as light/cautious (<10% adoption), mainstream (>10% & < 40% adoption) or significant/aggressive (> 40% adoption). The significance of this adoption rate will be examined later. June 29, 2010 4

Microsoft Hyper-V vs. VMware ESX & vSphere Operations & Management Cost Analysis

Findings
Virtualization Adoption
The study collected hypervisor usage from customers using either Hyper-V or a VMware hypervisor as their companys standard for virtualization. No other hypervisor (e.g. Xen) was included in the analysis. The hypervisor usage was 36% for Hyper-V, 49% for ESX and 15% for vSphere (i.e. roughly 1/3rd Microsoft, 2/3rd VMware). Respondents were asked to profile the aggressiveness of their use of virtualization technologies. Overall, the smaller organizations classified themselves as having more significant adoption than large orgs, but if the mainstream and significant adoption rates are combined than we see very similar adoption profiles across all organization sizes. Overall the respondents projected a 16% compound annual growth rate for virtualization. The profiles and the response rates were as follows:
70% 66%

HYPER-V 36%

ESX 49%

VSHPERE 15%

60% % Virtualization Adoption in production 52% 50% 50%

40%

35% Light Adoption (< 10%) Mainstream Adoption (10-40%) 24% 24% 15% 9% 25% Significant Adoption (> 40%)

30%

20%

10%

0% 500 > 3000 3000 > 15000 15000 + Number of Seats (Broad population grouping)

June 29, 2010

Microsoft Hyper-V vs. VMware ESX & vSphere Operations & Management Cost Analysis

Guest Operating Systems


The predominant operating system used as a guest was Windows Server at 86%, while Linux was used 14% overall.

However, the guest operating system use varied widely for VMware customers as opposed to Hyper-V customers:

There is significant inertia among VMware customers preventing them from migrating from Windows Server 2003 to Server 2008. June 29, 2010 6

Microsoft Hyper-V vs. VMware ESX & vSphere Operations & Management Cost Analysis

VM Guest Densities
One of the biggest claims made by VMware is that their technology allows customers to run higher guest densities using their hypervisor. The results show that not only customers are not running higher densities using VMware, but customers are actually running 30% higher guest densities when using Hyper-V. The confidence level and confidence interval indicate this should hold true for the overall population. Calculating guest densities TOTAL NUMBER OF GUESTS (VM) TOTAL NUMBER OF HOSTS (VH)

= Avg VM per VH

The following table shows the total number of VM guests and hosting servers, by platform, and the average density by platform.

Platform VMware Hyper-V

Sum of VMs 47,380 29,784

Sum of VHs 7,793 3,773

Avg Density 6.1 7.9

IT Host Management Labor Cost


From prior War on Cost Datacenter and Desktop research we know there are three key metrics associated with operational costs: IT Labor Costs per Server per Year Servers per IT FTE (which is inversely proportional to labor cost) Organizational Maturity (as defined by IO model)

The simpler the platform is to manage, the more servers an IT administrator can handle. The analysis shows that hosting with Hyper-V reduces the administration cost by 24% over VMware. Our research collected the hours spent on management activities and used annual numbers of 1920 working hours per year and a fully-burdened labor rate $60 per hour per IT administrator. The following graphics show the average customer IT labor costs per VM guest per year and the equivalent number of VMs per IT FTE per year.

Platform VMware Hyper-V

Annual Cost per VM $13,629 $10,358

VMs per IT FTE 8.5 11.1

June 29, 2010

Microsoft Hyper-V vs. VMware ESX & vSphere Operations & Management Cost Analysis
$16,000 $14,000 $12,000 $10,000 $8,000 $6,000 $4,000 $2,000 $VMware Hyper-V

Average Annual Labor Cost per Guest

12.0

10.0

Avg # of VMs per IT FTE

8.0

6.0

4.0

2.0

0.0 VMware Hyper-V

Later in this analysis we break down this cost by hardware, using the IO model to evaluate costs by maturity level, by workload, and by management products used.

June 29, 2010

Microsoft Hyper-V vs. VMware ESX & vSphere Operations & Management Cost Analysis

Server Hardware
The respondents were asked to provide the hardware used to host virtualized workloads. Somewhat surprisingly, the majority of servers hosting virtualized workloads are 2-processor, dual-core servers with 8GB of RAM. What this means is that the majority of customers were running on hardware that severely constrained the number of guests that could be virtualized on the platform. The breakdown of hardware looks like the following: 69% of all Host servers used have only 2 cores 23% have 4 cores Only 8% have more than 4 cores 49% of all Host servers have only 8 GB of RAM o The conclusion is that RAM prices are significantly impacting purchasing decisions when configuring servers 42% of all Host servers have 2 Cores and 8 GB of RAM, which would limit most servers to host 8 Virtual machines o Smaller host configurations drive down the density numbers

CPU Cores and RAM as a Percent of Population


80%

70%
15.8%

60%

50%

11.8%

> 16GB
40%

16 GB 8 GB

30%
42.1% 9.9%

20%

10%

7.2% 5.3% 4.6% 2.0% 1.3%

0% 2 Core 4 Core

Other

June 29, 2010

Microsoft Hyper-V vs. VMware ESX & vSphere Operations & Management Cost Analysis The significant install base of 2-core, 8GB servers has a significant impact on both hypervisors in keeping densities lower. However, on both 2-core and 4-core servers the IT labor required to manage the host was lower for Hyper-V than for VMware.

Annual Labor cost per VM


(By Virtualization Technology, by processor)
$18,181

$13,038

$9,755 $6,643

2 Cores

4 Cores

2 Cores

4 Cores

VMware Combined VMware

WS2K8 Hyper-VHV

Below are the numbers of VMs that one IT FTE can support by platform that result in the cost figures above.

VMs per IT FTE

17.3

11.8 8.8 6

2 Cores

4 Cores

2 Cores

4 Core

VMware Combined VMware

WS2K8 HV Hyper-V

June 29, 2010

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Microsoft Hyper-V vs. VMware ESX & vSphere Operations & Management Cost Analysis

Customer Maturity (IO Model)


The study did not collect or analyze processes and practices used by the respondents to manage their virtualization environment, so we were unable to accurately assess the maturity levels of the responding organizations. However, the data collected by EPG for the virtualization workloads estimates that roughly 60% of all customers are Basic, 30% are Standardized, and 10% are Rationalized. We segmented the responses into these percentages based on the guest VM-to-IT FTE ratios, estimating that those companies with lower ratios were likely less mature in their processes. The resulting breakdown by estimated maturity level again shows Hyper-V customers incur lower ongoing IT Labor costs than VMware customers.

38% lower

14% lower

This breakdown by estimated maturity once again shows lower IT labor costs for Hyper-V customers, and the cost values at each maturity level are within expected ranges.

Basic Annual Labor Cost VMs/FTE VMware $40,120.71 2.9 Hyper-V $28,354.65 4.1

Standardized VMware Hyper-V $4,982.43 $3,095.23 23.1 37.2

Rationalized VMware Hyper-V $918.96 $794.48 125.4 145.0

June 29, 2010

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Microsoft Hyper-V vs. VMware ESX & vSphere Operations & Management Cost Analysis

Virtualized Workloads
The respondents were asked to characterize the workloads their company is running in a virtual environment. Here is the breakdown of adoption rate for each of the workloads:
80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% APP DB DR/FAILOVER Adoption EMAIL TEST VDI 26% 76%

% of customers that are using virtualization for each workload


55% 54% 50% 50%

Workload Comparison Average Cost per Guest VM by Platform The respondents were asked to identify the workloads their company had virtualized. Across workloads (App, DB, DR, Email, Test & VDI) the Hyper-V costs were less expensive for all workloads except test in all other workloads the HyperV customer saw significant savings.
$14,000.00 $12,336 $12,000.00 $10,000.00 $8,018 $8,000.00 $6,000.00 $4,000.00 $2,000.00 $APP DB DR/FAILOVER VMware Combined VMware EMAIL WS2K8 HV Hyper-V TEST VDI $3,766 $5,498 $4,006 $11,262 $9,446 $9,622 $11,572 $11,818 $9,727

$9,022

June 29, 2010

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Microsoft Hyper-V vs. VMware ESX & vSphere Operations & Management Cost Analysis

Systems Management
The respondents were asked to describe the systems management products they use to manage their host servers as one of five possible scenarios: Microsoft products only VMware products only Microsoft products plus products from other vendors VMware products plus products from other vendors Other vendors products used no Microsoft or VMware products used

The responses show that 23% of the customers use Microsoft systems management products only. The remaining customers use a wide mix of vendors products; however there is the possibility that some products that are used to manage workloads were included in the responses. Note: the survey was conducted in two phases, and the first phase did not capture the detail needed to analyze the breakdown of systems management products used. Consequently, the sample size was 88 respondents for this portion of the analysis. No other portion of the study was affected. Management Products Used to Manage Host Servers
MS ONLY VC ONLY MS & VC MS & HP & BMC MS & IBM HP MS & HP & IBM MS & HP MS & BMC & IBM VC & HP VC & IBM MS & VC & BMC MS & VC & HP & BMC MS & HP & IBM & BMC VC & OTHER MS & VC & HP 0% 31% 20% 8% 7% 6% 5% 5% 5% 3% 3% 2% 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% 5% 10% 15% % 20% 25% 30% 35%

(n) 88

For the purposes of our analysis, we separated the responses into three categories: Microsoft products only, VMware products only, or a mixed environment. The following chart shows the difference in IT labor costs per VM when using Microsoft only, VMware only, or a mix of vendors systems management tools.

June 29, 2010

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Microsoft Hyper-V vs. VMware ESX & vSphere Operations & Management Cost Analysis

Clearly there are significant savings to be gained when using the Microsoft stack versus other tools. Those customers using Microsoft products only achieved savings of 15.6% versus those using vCenter and 36.7% versus those using a mix of systems management products. Management Product use - Labor Cost per VM (by estimated Maturity)
$45,000 $40,000 $35,000 $30,000 $25,000 $20,000 $15,000 $10,000 $5,440 $5,000 $0 MIXED VC MS MIXED VC MS VC MIXED MS BASIC STAND RAT $3,677 $2,595 $1,173 $899 $794 $22,714 $38,530

$30,994

Basic

Standardized

Rationalized

June 29, 2010

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Microsoft Hyper-V vs. VMware ESX & vSphere Operations & Management Cost Analysis

Response Summary
Here are the more important data points from the survey responses: Responses from 154 companies were received and used in the analysis (significant sample size) with a slight skewing to larger enterprises The hypervisor usage was 36% for Hyper-V, 49% for ESX and 15% for vSphere (i.e. roughly 1/3rd Microsoft, 2/3rd VMware) The guest OS was 86% Microsoft Windows Server, 14% Linux, of which o 27% are running Windows Server 2003 o 32% are running Windows Server 2003 R2 o 27% are running Windows Server 2008 VMware customers are slow to migrate to Windows Server 2008. The VMware customers predominantly use Windows Server 2003 (75%) over Windows Server 2008 (9%), with the remainder using Linux (16%), while the opposite is true for Hyper-V customers: Windows Server 2003 is at 34%, versus Windows Server 2008 at 57%, with 9% running Linux The majority (57%) of the physical servers are two processor, two core systems, and 70% of those have only 8GB of RAM, thus guest densities are greatly limited by the server hardware

Study Population
The sample population comes from the USA and represents organizations of 500 PCs or greater. The responses were scrutinized for inconsistencies or errors and a total of 154 responses were used. Note that any responses scrubbed were done so before any cost analysis was performed and were scrubbed due to problems with the data and were not scrubbed to influence the results. The resulting sample size is statistically significant as shown below.

June 29, 2010

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Microsoft Hyper-V vs. VMware ESX & vSphere Operations & Management Cost Analysis The following diagrams show the distribution of respondent company size based on PC count. The sample represents the overall fairly well with some slight skewing in the sample to the right toward large enterprises.

Distribution by PC Count
60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 500-2999 3000-14999 15000 or more 24% 22% 53%

30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0%

28% 24%

Distribution by PC Count (granular)

13%

12% 6% 4%

12%

500-2,999

3,000-6,499

6,500-9,999

10,000-14,999 15,000-24,999 25,000-49,999 50,000 or more

Some right-hand skewing (larger orgs)

June 29, 2010

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Microsoft Hyper-V vs. VMware ESX & vSphere Operations & Management Cost Analysis

Distribution by Industry
The respondents represented various industries, including government entities. Non-profit and educational organizations were out of scope. The following table shows the distribution of respondents by industry.

Population Breakdown
Industry Manufacturing Government Computer/IT consultant or service provider Professional Services Retail trade Healthcare Banking, Finance, Investment Service Computer software developer Media and entertainment Telecommunications Transportation Wholesale distribution Utilities Engineering Legal service Pharmaceuticals Electronics Travel, Accommodations, Food Service Insurance/real estate Consumer package goods Total (%) 16% 11% 10% 8% 8% 7% 7% 5% 4% 4% 3% 3% 3% 3% 2% 2% 2% 1% 1% 1% 100%

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