vSphere 5 versus Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V: Resource metering for chargeback

This is my 5th posting in a serie of postings in which I will compare features of VMware vSphere 5 with Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V. Goal of the postings is to give a non-biased overview on features of two main players in the server virtualization market: VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. I will not use the marketing comparison tables used by both vendors to promote their unique features while ignoring the competitors features (as marketing is all about).

Other blogs in the serie are:
vSphere 5 versus Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V: storage integration
vSphere 5 versus Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V:management
vSphere 5 versus Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V: live migrations

vSphere 5 versus Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V: high available VMs

This time I will compare the chargeback features. Chargeback is not a server virtualization feature but something we want when private cloud is used. One of the main characteristics of cloud is: pay what you use.

So instead of paying an amount of money based on fixed hardware specs (number of CPUs, amount of internal memory, virtual disk disk size) the cloud consumer is charged for how many resources are used: number of CPU cycles, disk IOPS, memory utilization, etc.

As a cloud provider (public or private) we need some sort of metering of the resource consumption. Based on the figures a bill can be sent to the cloud consumer.

Microsoft Hyper-V resource metering
Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V allows metering of disk capacity used, CPU cycles used, memory consumption used and network consumption used. It does not measure IOPS. Using too much IOPS can disturb performance of other VMs. It would be nice if this could be measured and this charged as well.
Windows Server 2012 does not come with a GUI to enable metering and display the consumption, set costs, make reports etc. You will need to use PowerShell scripts to display consumption and create some sort of output file. This output file can be the input for the application used to charge business units or customers. For an example of Powershell scripts for resource metering see this blogpost.

Service Manager 2012 SP1 resource metering

For serious chargeback Service Manager 2012 SP1 is needed. Service Manager, part of System Center 2012,  is an IT Service Management tool. System Center 2012 is an additional purchase above the Windows Server license. SC2012 Datacenter edition for 2 physical processors costs $ 2404,- exclusing Software Assurance,

It currently has a System Center Cloud Services Process Pack addon which when installed can report on resource consumption.  Not sure how much information it delivers. More info here
When SC2012 SP1 is released a lot more chargeback can be performed by Service Manager. Read more about this here.

The image below shows a screenshot of a Excel report with data extracted using OLAP.

The alternative to native Microsoft tooling is to use third party tooling. VKernel and Solorwinds are examples of vendors selling such a tool.

Microsoft explain resource metering in this post titled Introduction to Resource Metering

VMware vSphere resource metering and chargeback
VMware does not offer a free method of resource metering. You might try PowerShell scripts yourself and extract data out of the vCenter Server database. Not sure if this will work.  Probably costs of development are higher than purchase. Additional tooling can be purchased like VMware vCenter Chargeback Manager. It is licensed per VM and costs $ 50 per VM (minimum of 50 VMs to be purchased). The console is integrated with vCenter Server. Chargeback Manager has a lot of features.

Solarwinds and VKernel both have third party solution for chargeback in vSphere infrastructures.



For advanced resource metering and billing you will currently need additional software for both Hyper-V and vSphere. The PowerShell scripts in Windows Server 2012 will give some basic overview but it will take a lot of do it yourself to develop reports, exports to billing applications etc. Better to not re-invent the wheel and buy additional tooling.

SC2012 Service Manager SP1 delivers more functionality. Microsoft does not reveal when SP1 will be available. Some well informed sources estimated around end of 2012.

The picture below shows a screenshot of Chargeback Manager.

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