Return on investment calculators

It’s always hard to find the time to sit down and do the math.

It’s always hard to find the time to sit down and do the math. But it’s a necessary evil for any substantial purchase of IT equipment. Often, you’ll need to have the sums ready to receive sign-off from the powers that be so it’s worth the effort in the long term. That said, there are resources to help you to do a quick calculation should the occasion demand it.

The calculators here are for those looking to virtualise their environments. We’re not suggesting they’re the be-all-and-end-all for decisions making — you should always complete due diligence and speak to the respective vendor representatives — but they are a handy way of understanding the basic financial picture.

The VMware TCO and ROI Calculator

The VMware TCO and ROI Calculator is based on a popular calculator solution created by Alinean that is used by Intel, Dell and CA, among others. Enter your details and business objectives (limited to five ‘reduce IT costs’ and four ‘drive business improvements’ choices) and you can select the scope of the analysis from three choices: Data centre virtualisation, application development and enterprise desktop management. Choosing desktop, for example, and you will be taken to a basic assumptions questionnaire on desktop virtualisation. Once you enter the environment characteristics, you will be presented with a report on the total cost of ownership (TCO) over five years and an associated return on investment (ROI) percentage. Notably, the report shows energy consumption and carbon emissions savings. While there is an annoying ‘loading’ graphic that pops up every time you make a change to criteria, such as clicking on a check box, the tool is easy to use and will give you VMware-specific report, that can be quickly generated and presented to support any arguments for going virtual.

The Microsoft Virtualisation Calculator

The Microsoft Virtualisation Calculator let’s you calculate the cost of running virtual application servers on Windows Server 2008 R2. By typing into the calculator the amount of different Microsoft-specific application servers you would like to run such as Exchange EE and Sharepoint, you can then calculate the estimated cost of your virtual environment (in US dollars). Not surprisingly there is no option for adding non-Microsoft specific application servers although it does let you specify a different but generic third party virtualisation technology or bare metal hypervisor as the configuration with little difference in the end price. All in all this is an easy and quick to use tool but lacks detailed specifications. If you are a Microsoft-only shop then this is a great way to quickly estimate the cost of server licences you may need in your virtual environment.

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