Jim Nakashima notes on his blog that Microsoft has just released a “Windows Azure Platform TCO/ROI Analysis Tool” which looks a little something like this:


I gave the tool a whirl and found some interesting bits.


For a technology that’s currently in CTP, it’s great that Microsoft is being pro-active in putting out this tool. As numerous as questions surrounding the cloud are, taking a first stand in noting “These are some of the factors you’ll have to consider when making decisions” is a step in the right direction.

The tool supports multiple currencies, which appear to be updated with fluctuations in currency markets. We live and work in a global IT environment — enough said.

The tool provides multiple base configurations for common scenarios, such as a simple web application, or transactional compute power for a number crunching application. This is helpful if you’d rather go with some common guidelines and tweak them to your needs.


There are four models when it comes to hosting: On-Premises, Hosted (at a Provider), Cloud, and Software-as-a-Service. The TCO/ROI tool only provides for comparison shopping of On-Premises to Azure. It’s important to note that the cloud comparison is purely Azure-based, and doesn’t allow you to compare/contrast offerings from other providers.

The tool also makes some assumptions about which Microsoft SKUs you’re using behind the scenes, and that you’re virtualizing everything on premise. There’s no ability choose which Virtualization provider (VMWare vs Hyper-V) and anyone who’s ever had to walk through licensing of products for very specific scenarios will be able to tell you that a second check from a TAM or PAM is a requirement.


The tool is prefaced with a statement that shifts the tone of an otherwise marketing-heavy web site to one Microsoft Legal clearly had its hand in: “MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY, AS TO THE INFORMATION IN THE TCO AND ROI CALCULATOR REPORT.” If one of the intents of the tool is to sell Azure services and drive adoption, helping to assuage concerns is the rightful tact. We’re all new to this arena, help us by guiding us and answering questions for us. This statement has the opposite effect, which is, hands-off. The connotation is “We make no promises that anything that this tool says is valid, that it will help to save you money, that it’s the right approach, or that you should really trust us with your computing needs. We could be hiding things, or we could have left things out.”

In the end, the TCO/ROI tool is a step in the right direction, but its output is of little or no real value, due to the limitations of the inputs. I’d be very interested in seeing v2, though.

An UPDATE to Wednesday’s post on Data Privacy in the Cloud: a friend had noted that Microsoft’s paper seemed quite light. In the interest of being fair and balanced, and because comparison shopping seems to be the thing of the day, Amazon Web Services’ paper may be found here. It’s pretty striking how technically detailed Amazon’s paper is where Microsoft’s is not, especially given that AWS’s paper was published first.