@scottalanmiller said in If all hypervisors were priced the same...:
My question here is... what makes Hyper-V or VMware better on those small systems? Hyper-V's main problems, mostly huge management overhead and complexity, are worst at the small scale. where KVM or Xen's ease of use is a really big deal.
VMware I see in that mid-range... but companies in that range are crippled by cost today. If it was free, I think it would make sense all the way down. Hyper-V really depends on "free" more than KVM and Xen do.
There are quite a few points but one low hanging fruit is the DRS family of features (Compute/network DRS, Affinity rules, Storage DRS, SIOCv2 VAIO filters, Proactive - DRS). It's balancing logic is significantly more advanced. combined with better scheduler overheads, more advanced new workload placement logic means you can get by with a lot less hardware.
For someone with 10 tiny VM's this isn't going to matter, but for someone who's operating with a decent amount of scale having to throw money at hardware, and bodies instead of software become a trade-off that throws things into DRS being worth the premium for TCO.
Now if the hardware is free to you, and labor is $2 an hour then TCO will shift the other way vs paying for software.
Also, decisions are often more nuanced than simple TCO decisions. If you have compliance requirements this often shifts to commercial solutions that have validated FIPS 140-2 modules/solutions. If you need a DISA STIG at a given level paying some money and being able to deploy a single VIB to harden compliance vs. go through checklists and argue with auditors can be a big deal. How do you quantify the cost of applying with NIST for validation with a do it yourself setup vs. a turnkey solution?
The cost of management tools are generally looked at as a function of the cost of existing management labor (People), the cost of the solution stack, and the premium for availability.
If you have Oracle RAC or SQL Always ON clusters that cost 40K per host in licensing it's different math. Paying 2K for some hypervisor management tools that will let you run 1.5x to 2.5x denser on host usage (and drop associated licensing costs), or free up 15% time for a Sysadmin who's paid 100K so he can go get other projects finished, isn't a "Crippling cost" but a simple, logical conclusion.
Customers who need VM Fault Tolerance don't care what the cost is because the alternative is generally proprietary solutions that cost 250K per server, or death (US wrongful death is what 2.5 million each?) or re-writing their application and getting it revalidated by regulators(Millions in capex if even an option).
If you have Excel/Access Databases and 5 Windows XP VMs, and you have outsourced your sysadmin work to SouthEast Asia for 5K a year, and an outage is going to cost you nothing sure.