Hi, my name is Dominic Foster, Chief Technology Officer at MaximumASP, which is a web hosting and IT services provider that sells/markets/services Microsoft technologies to the SMB business market.
A core element of the MaximumASP business model is a complete commitment to exclusively offering hosting solutions that deliver Microsoft technologies. This overall market and product focus has been the leading success factor in our growth over the past eight years.
Server consolidation was a very appealing aspect of virtualization – it quite simply allows us to reduce the amount of physical machines in our datacenter. This consolidation gives us greater utilization on our hardware and reduces costs on machines, licensing, and power. Reducing the amount of our physical servers in the datacenter also means less power and cooling costs and lower overall total energy consumption.
Virtualization also gives us the flexibility and scalability we need to make smooth changes to the underlying infrastructure with minimal impact on systems or applications.
During our research we found the TCO of Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V with System Center to be a less expensive solution than a similar toolset from VMware. Being completely manageable by System Center allowed us the flexibility to use the same management tools for both Hyper-V and physical servers. An added benefit was the consistent Microsoft look and feel for System Center so there was not the typical steep learning curve associated with a new toolset. Strong support from Microsoft and the MVP program facilitated our quick adoption of Hyper-V.
It was important for us to be involved in the Hyper-V Go Live program to get access to resources and contacts that could help us bring our solution to market faster. It was also an opportunity to connect with Microsoft to allow us to get our questions answered, and brainstorm our ideas. We’ve been able to get our questions answered, and/or routed to the product team. We’ve been able to connect with technical, and marketing Microsoft contacts that help us further develop relationships in one of our ‘core’ competencies and focus areas.
In May of 2008 we dispatched a virtualization survey to 2,313 customers and received a 10% response rate. The response was overwhelmingly positive with 79% of respondents saying they would consider running their web applications on a virtual server.
Here are some open ended comments from the survey:
· “Being able to store a configured image of a machine and just click-and-drag that image into reality is earth shattering. Deploying virtual SANs, load balancers, and firewalls for pennies on the dollar would give my company a real advantage in our niche.”
· “The line between software and hardware is becoming increasingly blurry. Companies like mine must leverage these innovations or yield market to those who can.”
Virtualization will continue to be a major focus for us, not only for reasons of consolidation and reduction in operating costs, but also to enable more rapid deployment of new application servers, reduced down time for server maintenance, to reduce driver dependencies for new hardware, and the assistance in disaster recovery planning.
Dominic Foster, Chief Technology Officer, MaximumASP
UPDATE (August 11th)
Thanks for the comment by wanderson. Microsoft has asked me to update my original guest post so I can address Wayne’s comment.
There were a few key features that we required when evaluating solutions. While VMware has a rich feature set in VI3 Enterprise, some simply were not needed. For our environment Hyper-V managed by System Center Server Management Suite, not just SCVMM, was a perfect fit. Some of the key features we needed were:
64-bit Support – Both support this.
Migration – While quick migration from Microsoft does incur downtime when the machine saves state then shift the LUN owner, we found the period in our environment rather short. It is obviously not a Live Migration like Vmotion, not yet anyway, but we did not require this.
High Availability – Both support HA/Clustering
Online Backup – We wanted to provide two methods of backup so we decided on Volume Shadow Copy Services from the host and System Center Data protection manager inside the guest.
During the evaluation period the Cost was structured as the following:
Vmware per Server
Virtual Machine Solution VI3 Enterprise 2 Processor x $5750
Management Server (VirtualCenter): $6044
Hyper-V and System Center per Server
Pricing for Server Management Suite Enterprise $1290
Vmware pricing from http://www.vmware.com/products/vi/vc/buy.html
Microsoft pricing from http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/en/us/management-suites.aspx#Anchor3
I have omitted the cost of the Windows OS since in either scenario the cost is the same.
In addition we currently use pieces of System Center in our environment and would have to also purchase it if using VMware.
In closing I have to say if the cost of the products during our testing were equal we would have chosen VMware. It has been the industry leader, and is more mature in its development and feature set. However from the numbers above you can see there is a drastic difference in the pricing of the two products and our requirements did not warrant the additional cost.