Now you might wonder why, as someone working for EMC, I would care about such comparisons. Why would I be bothered by VMware in the first place?
Well, full disclosure coming up, but here a few things you might or might not be aware of:
- EMC aquired VMware in 2004 and is the largest share holder of VMware
- EMC and VMware are separate companies with separate Profit & Loss, etc
- EMC and VMware have a strong partnership
- Both companies are free to work with other partners
This means VMware will work with non-EMC storage vendors (and they should, if for nothing else, to keep us sharp) and vice versa, EMC works with other virtualization solutions (like Microsoft Hyper-V and even Oracle VM for Solaris and Intel).
So being an EMC person, I could not care less if a customer would use Oracle VM (OVM) or VMware as long as the primary objective is met: cost savings and service level improvements. Now I leave the discussion which one of the two is better, technically speaking, to the people from both respective companies. But sometimes I get the feeling Oracle positions OVM only when they are forced to (due to pressure from VMware) and not because they really want to drive cost savings forward for their customers (otherwise they would have used OVM within their Exadata machine to achieve much higher database CPU utilization ratios). It is simply not in their best interest.
So why do I care? I explained this to our sales people once that this is a three-stage rocket:
- Virtualizing Oracle Databases brings huge cost savings and significant operational benefits for our customers
- VMware is the best platform to make this happen
- EMC has the best infrastructure and integration to run VMware – and Oracle for that matter (OK, I admit, biased opinion but this is what I believe)
In the white paper, and frankly, I’ve seen the statement coming from many different sources, it is claimed that VMware is much more expensive than Oracle VM (mainly because Oracle VM is free – sort of).
So although technically speaking this could be true (VMware offers a free product as well called ESXi, but for large scale consolidation you need features like live migration and workload management tools, which means you need something like VMware Enterprise or Enterprise Plus).
The problem with research like that is that they manipulate your perception. In this case, by silently excluding database or application licenses from the comparison (which would make sense only if you don’t plan on virtualizing any applications). So I tried to make a comparison myself: given a typical database stack, how much is the cost of VMware compared to the total license cost?
- An Intel-X64 environment
- Dual-socket, 6 cores per socket (common mid-size server)
- Only looking at DB and Virtualization licenses. I kept OS licenses, storage options etc. out of the equation to keep things simple
- Oracle Enterprise Edition with the common options: Advanced Compression, Partitioning, Diagnostics & Tuning pack
- VMware Enterprise Plus (the most high-end, therefore most expensive license, just to make my point)
- List price for both (but with equal discount it does not make a difference)
- No maintenance included, just purchase price
I’m not going in details of the whole calculation, but all the sources are on Oracle’s and VMware’s websites to make this calculation yourself.
This was my outcome:
As you see, VMware takes up less than 2% of the total license cost of this server. As food for thought, try to imagine what happens if you add Oracle RAC to the mix, or Active Data Guard. Or go from 6 cores per socket to 8 cores per socket (more common these days, and remember VMware is licensed per socket, not per core, so the more cores, the lower the relative cost).
By the way, did you know that with VMware, SuSE Enterprise Linux is included?
So, the title of my post was just a teaser. Hope I got your attention 🙂
Update: You also might want to check Chuck’s blog post on Pluggable Databases vs. Database Virtualization
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