In the introduction to this series, we identified that there are multiple parts of the cloud migration journey; namely: Discover, Assess, Migrate, Manage, and Operate.
We will cover various tools that either falls into one of or span multiple phases in the migration journey.
As a quick-link reference, here is the list of tools this series will cover:
- Part 1: Introduction
- Part 14: Manage and Optimize
- Part 15: Third-Party Tools
- Part 16: Summary
Continuing our focus on the tool(s) that fall within the second phase, Assess, the next tool that we categorize under Assessment, is the Azure Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Calculator.
The Azure Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Calculator is a web-based tool. It works by you providing some information about your on-premises environment, and then generates a report.
It should be noted that the calculations that this tool uses have been independently reviewed and tested by Nucleus Research for accuracy and transparency.
Per the Nucleus Research Certification statement:
The underlying calculations in this total cost of ownership assessment tool have been independently reviewed and tested by Nucleus Research for accuracy and transparency. Nucleus Research certifies that this tool is built on accurate calculations that generate a fair assessment of actual value a customer may achieve given the data entered. This tool is for informational purposes only and Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, herein.
This may not mean much to you, but at least it gives some level of assurance (for whatever that’s worth), that the produced report is reasonably accurate.
It is unclear when the tool was originally released, but based on my research, it’s safe to say sometime in mid-2017. Currently, at the time of writing this article, the tool still shows as being in Preview.
What Is It Used For?
The Azure Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Calculator is a web-based tool. It helps you estimate the potential cost savings you could achieve by migrating your application workloads to Microsoft Azure.
It provides a lot of flexibility since you can input many details.
The calculation is quick and produces a nice visual report that breaks down the savings by category.
A nice addition is the expanded details per category so that you can understand what Microsoft has assumed as part of its calculations.
You can even export the report into Excel or Word formats or directly print.
Note: Even though you can export the report to Excel, and the cell values are editable, changing their values does not actually adjust the values produced.
Pro’s vs Con’s
Here is a quick list of what we deem as Pro’s/Con’s of this tool.
- Granularity of inputs
- You can modify the values the report uses (i.e. IT Labor Costs), but only within the Assumptions (not within the export)
- Good summarization and visuals to present to Management level
- You need to input multiple fields and multiple lines to assess a complete environment (therefore accurate input is time-consuming)
- The Excel export does not re-adjust the calculations if you edit the values
- Unable to save current session/state to complete at a later point in time
The tool does produce a nice high-level visual and summary if you need to present the case the Management, but the amount of time it would take to input every field with accuracy will make it a challenge to produce an accurate assessment.
It’s great that it has many fields you can control, but who really is going to spend the time to accurately input details such as:
- Hardware cost differences between a 1 Proc – 1 Core system with 0.75 GB of RAM, and a 4 Proc – 32 Core system with 200 GB of RAM
- Windows Datacenter license cost differences between 1 and 128 cores
- Power Rating (in Watts) differences between a 1 Proc – 1 Core system with 0.75 GB of RAM, and a 4 Proc – 32 Core system with 200 GB of RAM; along with the price per KW hour
- The individual Rack Units required for each hardware configuration; along with the datacenter construction cost per rack
- Network hardware and software costs as a percentage of hardware and software costs
- Network maintenance cost as a percentage of network hardware and software costs
- The Service provider costs per GB
- Storage procurement cost/GB, and Cost per Tape Drive
- Number of physical and virtual servers that can be managed by a full-time administrator
- Hourly rate for IT administrators
- Per virtual machine, per month, infrastructure cost to load balance, backup and patch virtual machines
- Average virtualization Utilization
- SQL server enterprise license cost along with Software Assurance costs
You see what I mean by details. It can become tedious to obtain and enter all that data in, especially when those modified entries do not persist between browser sessions.