VMware recently announced vSphere 4, the replacement for ESX 3.5. When I read that new editions had been released for small business I thought VMware would include live migration (VMotion) functionality to compete with Citrix XenServer which includes live migration (XenMotion) for free. But the VMware vSphere editions comparison table shows VMotion availitility with Advanced, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus only. This leaves the small business Essentials, Essentials Plus and Standard editions without the ability to perform live migrations with VMotion. So what is the cost for a small business to purchase vSphere Advanced? U.S suggested list pricing is US$2245 per processor. So a dual processor, two server vSphere farm will be $8980 (I’ll ignore vCenter and Service and Support costs). Did VMware miss the boat by not providing VMotion in one of the Essentials editions? I feel that Citrix are strongly positioned in the small to medium business market with the features available for free.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Citrix have a better product than VMware. I believe the rich features and polished management interface from VMware are second to none. Although under the hood, at the hypervisor level I am undecided – prior to vSphere being release I was leaning towards XenServer being the superior hypervisor, but I have yet to see vSphere in full action yet, so I reserve my judgement.
I believe VMware have given IT a very good reason to investigate XenServer by not lowering the cost of VMotion, especially in small and medium businesses.
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