This one might be an issue that will bite VMWare in the rear in the long run. With the release of the new version of ESX 4 “vSphere” they also changed their licensing model a little bit – now putting more emphasis onto Multi-Core CPUs. While the initially looks as not critical, it actually is. Quad-Core CPUs have been out for a long time already, and six-Core and eighth-Core CPUs are out or soon out. VMWare pulls the line at 6 Cores before you have to buy the more expensive license. With hardware being more reliable more VMs will reside on a single system and more RAM and CPU will be needed. So, even if you only have a server with 2 or 4 physical CPUs you suddenly pay a premium for the higher number of cores. Imagine a server with 4 Procs each with 8 cores. You have to shell out quite some cash now to be able to take advantage of that horse power and as a result your overall ROI will go down dramatically because the hardware costs already more and now the software will, too.
Along come Hyper-V, Xen, or maybe Virtual Iron (just acquired by Oracle) – all at a much lower price tag. I am not riding the wave of saying the software like Hyper-V is free as there is always a cost, but crunching the numbers really might pay off. And as a result VMWare might lose out. Hyper-V (r2) is closing the gap on one of the most important features: Vmotion will now be available – called Live Migration. While VMWare has many more features that are nice to have, in days like these when money is tight and budgets get slashed, IT managers might raise the question if they really need all the bells and whistles VMWare vSphere has to offer or if they can get by with Hyper-V (R2).
A Hyper-V rollout might require more thorough planning and a little more attention to level out resources and stuff like that, but overall that extra work might be resources well spent while you save thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars. VMWare likes to respond with a lot of good marketing blabla to many Hyper-V issues – some are true, but quite a few are really just hype. Hyper-V is not the answer to everything, but you might end up with a fair mix of both systems to get the best of both worlds. For VMWare that could mean a much smaller piece of the pie.