Recently a company that I work for is getting IT advice to upgrade their infrastructure (for approximately 30 on prem users). We are a not-for-profit and get deep discounts on many products (primarily MS products). So our options are: Pay for VM Ware, pay for Backup suite, pay for AV (annual cost indeterminate); or use already paid for Hyper V and SCCM (annual cost $0)

So the original end goal is to have 3 VM's all in Hyper-V: 1) a DC (DHCP, DNS, File server, print server) 2) finance server with SQL Server instance 3) System Center - all modules (for backup, update services, and AV)

Here's the questions:

1) For a network this small (3 servers, 30 in prem users) is there enough differentiation in the products to justify a paid product (VMWare, different backup, different AV) vs an already paid for product (Hyper V, SCCM)

2) Is there any appreciable risk in going with the pure Microsoft options?

  • 5
    ESXi has free tier as well, so you don't need to pay for VMware, even if you use their hypervisor. That seems worth mentioning. – HopelessN00b May 19 '16 at 22:23

If you are a 501(c)3 there is no reason to buy VMware. In fact, you should use TechSoup.org to get all the Microsoft and Cisco you can. Ideally you would be keeping track of donation cycles and timelines and planning at least a year ahead on what donation requests you are going to make from Tech Soup next time the cycle comes around.

This is especially true for Cisco products, which are often unavailable outside of a two months window or so (which I believe is somewhere in the October to December range).

I came from a 501(c)3 and we were able to build an excellent network with Cisco and Microsoft. I'm now at a much larger semi-governmental organization with much larger operating and capital budgets and we are moving away from VMware to 100% Hyper-V. At your size, I can't think of a single thing that VMware offers that would be worth the investment. VMware is absolutely more expensive - even if you throw in SC-VMM on the Hyper-V side. And that's not even counting whatever discounts and/or donation consideration you may be getting for Microsoft.

If you're at a non-profit and an organization comes in the door to consult for you and they are not recommending you take the fullest advantage of all the resources that are specifically offered to non-profits, then you should keep looking. Many "IT experts" and firms just don't pay enough attention to different types of businesses and how their needs are different, and instead want to deploy the exact same thing to every client so they can keep their costs down. Look for someone who has experience with non-profit and will partner with you to get you the necessary IT resources in the most cost-effective way.

PS: You should also be able to get discounts/donations for backup and anti-virus software. If you're 501(c)3 then Symantec participates in Tech Soup and can provide both backup software and anti-virus.

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    100% this. There are also international versions of techsoup like connectingup.org that do the same thing for non profits. – Mark Henderson May 19 '16 at 14:52
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    I totally agree with what's said here, except for the opinions on supportability of VMware vs Hyper-V; they should be left out. SF doesn't do "opinion" answers and that bit detracts from the impact of your otherwise wonderful answer! – GregL May 19 '16 at 14:57
  • @GregL Good point. I got a little heated in rush to defend my non-profit peeps. Edited. – Todd Wilcox May 19 '16 at 15:05
  • @ToddWilcox totally understandable, you had my (up)vote either way. – GregL May 19 '16 at 15:15
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    @tjcinnamon Ok, so you're up on the TechSoup situation. Awesome. No need to move away from the Microsoft packages available there. I agree that Symantec could be better, but they are a solid company with solid products and it's hard to justify paying full price for something else that won't be hugely better. We have almost 30 VM's running in a Hyper-V failover cluster, we don't even have SC-VMM, and I find managing the Hyper-V VMs and cluster to be easy and powerful. Again, there may be some advantages in VMware, but none worth the huge cost to your org. – Todd Wilcox May 19 '16 at 15:35

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