Update: VMware unveils 'cost per app' calculator

Latest ROI calculator measures 'virtual machine density' rather than licensing costs

VMware on Monday made available an online service that it claims can help users evaluate the true costs of server virtualization expenses.

The VMware Cost-Per-Application Calculator enables users to estimate cost-savings from VMware software -- and compare that to other virtualization wares from competing vendors, such as Microsoft.

[ Keep up with the latest in virtualization with David Marshall's Virtualization Report ]

Virtualization calculators are not entirely new, of course. Microsoft has a virtualization ROI calculator. Parallels has one for desktop virtualization, too.

But VMware is taking a new approach. The company explained in a statement that looking at "cost per application" as a metric, rather than license pricing, considers the number of virtual machines that can be run on each hardware server -- a rate VMware dubbed the "virtual machine density." The higher the virtual machine density, the more an IT shop can cut costs including hardware, networking, storage, power and cooling, and datacenter space, the company claimed.

"End users should look to cost per application to streamline and simplify their assessment of the total acquisition costs of a server virtualization environment," industry analyst firm Taneja Group said in a report.

It should be pointed out that VMware contacted the Taneja Group to test the performance of its VMware Infrastructure 3 against Microsoft's Hyper-V, the results of which can be found in "The true cost of virtual server solutions." Spoiler alert, but not a surprise: The results favor VMware over Microsoft.

"If you look at what's going on in the economy right now, customers want references and some sort of metric about what they're trying to buy," said Theresa Lanowitz, founder of analyst firm Voke Research. Lanowitz explained that VMware's calculator is "a good start" but recommended that customers bear in mind it is provided by a vendor and adjust any results accordingly.

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