Hypervisor pricing and licensing comparison guide

When choosing the best hypervisor, a pricing and licensing comparison is a must. VMware, Microsoft and Citrix all offer different prices and hypervisor licensing policies.

This hypervisor pricing and licensing comparison takes a look at the costs and licensing policies of VMware, Microsoft and Citrix Systems to help you choose the best hypervisor for your organization.

VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer don't just have different features and capabilities. They are priced and licensed differently too. For instance, some virtualization offerings are priced per processor, others per server, and still others are free -- with important caveats surrounding management capabilities, feature sets and server size.

Support also differs from platform to platform; for some, support is purchased annually, for others, per incident. A hypervisor's licensing policy and price structure can have a profound effect on an IT organization's budget and operations, and thus must be examined as closely as technical features and functionality.

Read more about vSphere, Hyper-V and XenServer to make your own hypervisor pricing and licensing comparison:

  • Under the vSphere pricing and licensing model, VMware licenses the vSphere platform per processor and requires a separate license for vCenter Server, its management console. The company also requires an annual support and subscription contract. Both the hypervisor and management features can be purchased in several bundles designed to meet the needs of all organizations, from small businesses to large enterprises.
  • Microsoft takes a different approach with its Hyper-V R2 pricing and licensing. Hyper-V R2 can be obtained as a standalone offering for free, or as part of a Windows Server 2008 license. Some management capabilities can also be had for free, but Microsoft does charge for many virtualization management features found in Systems Center Operations Manager and Systems Center Virtual Machine Manager.
  • Citrix, by and large, also does not charge for its hypervisor. Under the XenServer pricing and licensing policy, the company also gives away XenCenter and live migration. Additional functionality is available in the Essentials Enterprise and Essentials Platinum bundles, both of which are priced per server, without a support requirement.

This was first published in October 2009

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