Move your VMware and KVM applications to the cloud without making any changes

  • January 19, 2016

Understanding vCloud Air pricing: How virtual private cloud on-demand compares to AWS

One of the biggest and clearest advantages public cloud computing has over traditional data centers is the cost - with the cloud pricing model Capex becomes Opex, and with a quick use of all the provided calculators - you know exactly what you’re going to pay. No negotiation, “Plug and play”. With it’s own vCloud Air pricing calculator - does VMware-gone-on-demand also fit the description?

The short answer is yes. Virtual Private Cloud OnDemand is pay per usage. Much as the standard - CPU and RAM are metered per minute when VMs are powered on, and storage is metered per minute since allocation to the VM. Public IPs are metered by the minute and since allocation to a gateway. Support - some version of percentage of compute bill.

vCloud Air and AWs pricing example

In our narrower scope - I priced out an application both on the AWS and on the vCloud Air calculators. For this scenario, let’s consider an email security appliance. The appliance setup involves:

  1. Email security appliance: 2 vCPU, 4GB RAM, 50GB storage
  2. Email server (exchange): 4 vCPU, 16GB RAM, 200GB storage
  3. Database server: 4 vCPU, 16GB RAM, 500GB storage
  4. Active Directory: 2 vCPU, 4GB RAM, 50GB storage
  5. Windows client: 2 vCPU, 4GB RAM, 50GB storage

Summary of results

  Resources / configurations Estimated monthly cost
vCloud Air 3 X (2,4,50), 1 X (4,16, 200), 1X (4, 16, 500) $820
AWS 3 X t2.medium, 2 X m4.xlarge $524


For both options I went with an application that runs 24X7 for a month. On vCloud Air this required three configurations, for the three types of VMs. Using standard storage, adding 1 public IP for the entire application and running in US Virginia 1 region, the total price is $820/month, including ~$53 for support. On AWS this meant provisioning 3 t2.medium instances (Linux) and 2 m4.xlarge instances (Linux), and adding the necessary storage (850GB), running in the Virginia region, we get to an estimate of $524/month.

So that I don’t give anyone the wrong idea: This is a good place to say that there are significant differences between Virtual Private Cloud OnDemand and your public cloud options, both with advantages and disadvantages. AWS, for instance, provides much more extensive additional services, and a broader geographic spread. L2 networking, however, isn’t accessible there, while with vCloud Air - it is supported. Here’s a more in depth analysis of AWS vs vCloud Air. It’s not just a matter of price, and even there (as you will see in the following paragraph) - things can change when optimizing for your own use case.

Buying options

Back to the longer answer to the question. Where it might start to get confusing is when you consider your buying options, because you can actually pay for on-demand in advance with a subscription purchasing program. It might sound a little less on-demand. But actually, VMware SPPs can be seen in this context strictly as a different way to buy - get initial credits, and then, depending on your specific selected program - use them or roll them over. Furthermore, while it might seem confusing in the beginning, the concept is not at all foreign to the public cloud: AWS provides the reserved instances option, Google Cloud has sustained use discounts. The concept actually fits well with VMware, since it is much more like the type of service that VMware typically sells - programs for different periods of time provide for different discount options - and utilizes existing and familiar buying options from VMware. Choosing the SPP option does affect other aspects of your purchase process, like the way in which you can add configurations in different regions, but I’ll leave it out of the scope.

You’ll see that much like AWS and vCloud air have pretty different offerings, so does Ravello, in our case - enabling full support of running VMware VMs complete with L2 networking on AWS or Google Cloud using nested virtualization. As we dig more into vCloud Air pricing, and other cloud pricing options, please join the conversation. Take a look at how we do things here, and how Ravello pricing works, and give your feedback in the comments.

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