VMware Aims to Change Virtualization Cost Debate

With its VMware Cost-Per-Application Calculator, VMware wants to move the debate over the cost of virtualization technologies away from licensing and toward virtual machine density, or the number of virtual machines that can run on a single physical server. VMware officials argue that because their technologies allow for more VMs to run on a single server, VMware products become a better deal for enterprises than competing offerings from the likes of Microsoft and Citrix.

VMware is trying to change the way enterprises evaluate the value of their virtualization deployments.

VMware March 23 unveiled its VMware Cost-Per-Application Calculator, an online tool designed to let users estimate how much money they're saving using VMware technology, as compared with other virtualization platforms.

Company officials want to move the cost argument around virtualization platforms away from the upfront license-price comparison. A key argument competitors-including Microsoft and Citrix Systems-use when talking about VMware is the higher cost of some of VMware's technologies.

However, VMware officials argue that their products enable enterprises to put more virtual machines onto a single physical server-what the officials call "virtual machine density"-than they can do with other virtualization platforms. That drives up the server consolidation ratio and reduces the overall infrastructure-including server and storage hardware, networking, power, cooling and space-and software costs, they said.

The result is greater value to enterprises than can be offered by competing virtualization technologies, officials said.

The online calculator is designed to show enterprises the cost to virtualize a set number of applications and to compare virtualization technologies.

The unveiling of the online calculator came at the same time VMware highlighted a report from research firm Taneja Group that said that VMware Infrastructure 3 offers the greatest level of server consolidation in the industry.

In a prepared statement, Taneja Group analyst Jeff Boles said the firm has been closely watching how VMware Infrastructure and competitive platforms scale, and that VMware's technology was better than that of other vendors.

"We validated in a number of tests that VMware virtualized servers can run twice as many applications than other hypervisors at equal or even greater performance levels," Boles said. "In our view, customer should be assessing virtualization on a -cost per application' basis. VM density has a significant impact on cost per application because it is tied to server equipment, software licensing and cost."