Mental Ward

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Down Under Company Chooses Microsoft

Here's an interesting story about an Australian IT shop that wanted to get virtual. First the company looked at VMware, then Microsoft. It ultimately choose the Microsoft stack, and the key reason was price. The IT manager of the company, according to the article, said something revealing:

"You've got to question whether it's worth paying $50,000 for that. I know the VMware camp go on about features like VMotion, but for $50,000 I could pay someone to move my virtual machines for me."

It's a funny quote, to be sure, and has to be music to Redmond's ears. It's essentially the argument Microsoft, Citrix, Virtual Iron and others continually make -- yeah, VMware stuff is good, but our stuff is good enough, especially at the lower cost point.

A couple of things I would point out about this, as a caution. First, VMware offers a lot more, of course, than just VMotion for the price. High availability, distributed resource scheduling, memory overcommitment and other technologies come with that solution, so it's a little unfair to make the argument that all you're paying for is VMotion.

The second point is that this is a small datacenter -- 16 physical servers initially, down to four now and 12 virtualized. Those types of shops don't typically have as great a need for (or ability to pay) what VMware offers. Although VMware is trying to get more traction in the SMB market, it's still an enterprise product, for the most part. It probably shouldn't be so surprising that a small organization would experience sticker shock.

Still, though, one has to wonder if this kind of anecdote will become more commonplace. A couple of years ago, even a shop this size might have opted for VMware, given the dearth of alternatives. Now that the offerings are expanding exponentially, it's no longer a choice only between VMware and open source, like Xen.

Are you experiencing similar issues? Let me know.

Posted by Keith Ward on 10/10/2008 at 12:48 PM


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