The cost of live migration: Did VMware miss an opportunity with vSphere?

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.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Jason

    100% agreement here, a prideful mistake if ever there was one. VMware is still unarguably the superior enterprise product, but with in today’s price sensitive market it has shut itself out of the SMB space, and left the door ajar to competition in the enterprise.

    Somewhat akin to the way that the great dinosaurs were supplanted by the smaller, faster, more adaptable mammals.

    Does VMware has the better hypervisor, I don’t know, I’ve not looked deep enough as ESX 4.0 either, but you know I don’t think that matters any more. Citrix have succeeded in moving the fight away from the hypervisor and in to the balance sheet and the management ecosystem.

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