VM Comparative Economics Report

Use the VM Comparative Economics Report to determine the cost-effectiveness of:

  • migrating VMs from an on-premise environment to a public cloud vendor
  • migrating VMs to another location in your cloud infrastructure
  • migrating VMs from one public cloud to a different public cloud
  • applying current rightsizing recommendations
  • using public cloud on-demand pricing versus term pricing

While many comparisons work out-of-the-box, you need to configure cost models for certain comparisons, such as a migration to another vCenter location. For example, to compare costs for your production and development lab on vCenter, configure distinct cost models for the production and development lab levels of your infrastructure.

By default, the report includes data for all VMs for which at least one billing record was generated during the period. Templates aren't included in the report.

Report data is based on costs from billing records, which are generated nightly. The costs in the VM billing records, in turn, are calculated from the VM at the time the billing records are written and from the relevant cost model values. See Configuring Cost Models for details.

By default, this report uses historical data. If the managed system was added to Commander recently, retrieving historical data (supported for vCenter, AWS and Azure) will provide more data for this report. When historical data is retrieved, Commander automatically generates billing records for the retrieval period. If no historical data is available, the report provides options to use current data with projections. To learn how to retrieve historical data, see:


  • When you include off-premise cost models in the comparison, you must use the default currency setting ($ - Dollar). Public cloud pricing is set to US dollars, and Commander cost comparisons won't convert or use rates for currencies other than the default.
  • Because GCP billing data doesn't include costs for individual VMs, the VM Comparative Economics Report always uses estimated costs for GCP VMs, rather than historical costs from billing data.

Report settings

Access through:

Reports menu > Chargeback and IT Costing > VM Comparative Economics

Available to:

All Access Rights Levels

During: Specify a time period for the report.

  • When you select By Period, the period will be the last completed day, week, month, quarter or year. For example, if the current month is May and you select Last 3 Months, the range for the report will be February, March and April. See Using Date Filters for Reporting and Searching for more information.
  • When you select By Dates, Commander prepopulates the earliest date available for selection, which is the date when the first managed system was added to Commander.

Cost Model: Generate VM costs for the Current Location based on:

  • Historical — Use both the cost model and VM resource usage from the billing records. With this option, VM uptime is taken from the nightly billing records, using billing data, if available.
  • If the managed system was added to Commander recently, retrieving historical data for vCenter, AWS and Azure provides more data for this report. For GCP managed systems, however, VM billing records and the VM Comparative Economics Report always use estimated costs, rather than historical data.

  • Current — Show costs as though the current cost model were in effect for the specified timeframe, but take VM resource usage from the historical billing records. This option allows you to change your cost model but still use the actual VM resource usage from the billing records. With this option, VM uptime is taken from the nightly billing records.
  • Projected — This is the default option. It shows costs as though the current cost model and current VM resource usage were in effect for the specified timeframe. Only VMs that currently exist are included in the report. With this option, VM uptime is set to 100% for currently running VMs and to 0% for currently powered-off VMs.

    This option is especially useful if you've just installed Commander or if you've just added a managed system to Commander and there is no historical data.

Current Location: Use the tree to narrow down the set of VMs that are compared (for example, choose a managed system or your Production infrastructure).

Projected Destination: Use the tree to choose a projected destination for cost calculation. You can choose from:

  • Infrastructure: Use the Infrastructure view to choose a location in one of your connected managed systems.

    For public cloud destinations, you must navigate down to the Region level. If you're not sure which region to select, select the one closest to you geographically.

    If the projected destination is in a GCP managed system, the report projects costs using GCP custom instance types. If the source VMs qualify for GCP's discount for shared-core resources, the report may project GCP costs which are higher than the actual costs. If the current location is on AWS, this difference may be significant, because t2 instance types on AWS can provide a significant discount. It's a good idea to examine the per-VM costs in the VM Costs to Date table at the bottom of the report.

  • Deployed: Use the Deployed view to choose a location in one of your connected managed systems. Cost models targeting the Infrastructure view always take precedence over cost models targeting the Deployed view.

    You can't select a public cloud from the Deployed tree, because the region can't be determined from the Deployed view targets.

  • Supported Cloud Costs: Choose from the default cost models for supported clouds, plus any cost models you've configured.  
  • Other Cloud Costs: Choose from the cost models for unsupported public clouds.

Recommendations: Specify whether rightsizing recommendations are included in the cost calculations. You can choose all recommendations, only upsizing recommendations, or only downsizing recommendations.

If the projected destination is a public cloud, Commander calculates costs by predicting the best-match instance type. For example, if Commander has recommended downsizing a VM to 1 vCPU and 0.6 GB memory and you are projecting costs on AWS, costs will be calculated as if the VM had a Micro instance type in the AWS managed system.

Results in single table: By default, results are shown in multiple tables. If you are only calculating the benefit of applying rightsizing recommendations (meaning that Current Location and Projected Destination are the same), displaying the results in a single table makes more sense. If you select Yes, the single table is labeled Current and Projected. Note that this option only has an effect if rightsizing recommendations are applied to the report (that is, the Recommendations option is set to something other than None).

Uptime Percentage: Choose to show or hide the Uptime (%) column in the report. By default, this column is hidden. This column displays the uptime percentage for each VM in the report. VM uptime affects report costs if any costs have been set to be calculated only while VMs are running.

VM uptime calculations are related to the Cost Model report option. When the Cost Model option is set to Current costs or Historical costs, VM uptime is taken from the nightly billing records. When the Cost Model setting is set to Projected costs, by contrast, VM uptime is set to 100% for currently running VMs and to 0% for currently powered-off VMs.

Upgrade note: Billing records created before the introduction of the VM uptime feature are considered to have an uptime percentage of 100% for reporting purposes.

Costs will be calculated based on VM uptime if either the source cost model or the destination cost model have cost elements that apply only when the VM is running.

Group By: Select a custom attribute for grouping the report data (for example, you can group by cost center). Grouping affects only the two VM Costs to Date tables.

Add Advanced Filters: You can filter the report by VM name, custom attributes and ownership (both individual and organizational ownership).

When filtering by a custom attribute, Commander retrieves the list of all VMs which existed in the location targeted by the report during the reporting period. Records for any VM for which there is no billing record are discarded. Then, records for any VMs that did not have the selected custom attribute applied on at least one of the following points in time are discarded:

  • The first day of the reporting period
  • The day the VM was created
  • The day the VM was deleted
  • The last day of the reporting period

This means that it's possible for VMs with the filtering attribute applied on other dates to be excluded from the report.

Once the rows are filtered to VMs with the filtering attributes applied on one of these dates, the complete billing records for the reporting period will be displayed, whether or not the attribute was applied for the entire period.

The advanced filter Organization Name provides a contains operator. For example, if you have organizations named Acme 1 and Acme 2, filtering the report by Organization Name contains Acme ensures that the report contains data for both organizations. Note that the advanced Organization Name filter doesn't take cost allocation into account.

Upgrade note: If an organization name has been changed and you filter on the new organization name, billing data created prior to upgrading to release 7.5 will not be included in the report.

For more information on setting report options, see Running and Scheduling Reports.

Example: Using advanced filters

To see whether applying downsizing recommendations for VMs in a particular cost center would be cost-effective:

  1. In the Report Generator, from Cost Model , choose Projected.
  2. Leave the default settings for Current Location (Global) and Projected Destination (Current).
  3. From Recommendations, choose Only Rightsize Down.
  4. From Results In Single Table, choose Yes.
  5. Click Add Advanced Filters.
  6. From Select a Property, choose Custom Attributes > Cost Center.
  7. Enter the name of your cost center in the text field.
  8. Click Generate.

This example is shown below under Example VM Comparative Economics Report: Rightsizing.

Understanding the report

The report calculates whether migrating and/or rightsizing the VMs will provide cost savings. For migration assessment, the report shows you costs for the length of the period, for the current location and the projected location side-by-side, with tables and graphs showing cost breakdown. The recommended location is indicated. The report also displays the projected savings for the period.

All public cloud costs are estimates and are intended for planning purposes only.

For rightsizing recommendations, the report shows you costs for the VMs prior to and after applying the recommendations. The RECOMMENDED and NOT RECOMMENDED labels are not displayed if you are assessing only rightsizing recommendations (that is, you have not selected a Projected Destination).

When not all VMs have billing records for the entire specified timeframe, the message "Complete billings records not available for all VMs" is displayed.

VM Costs to Date tables

VM cost details are provided under "Current" and "Projected". The Days column represents the number of days that a billing record was generated for the VM.

VMs Without Billing Records table

You may see a table at the bottom of the report titled "VMs Without Billing Records". This table includes:

  • VMs that have been managed by Commander for less than a day
  • VMs for which Commander has no historical events

How storage tiers affect the report

Because Commander can't guarantee that the storage tier associated with a VM's datastore will match a storage tier for a datastore in the new location, Commander always calculates projected costs based on the current storage tier.

If the projected destination has no available datastore on the same storage tier, the following warning is displayed under the Report Parameters section:

Note: Storage tier(s) <list of missing storage tiers> do not exist at the projected location.

If you pick a current location or projected destination where the storage tier information isn't available (that is, a destination other than a resource pool or compute resource/cluster), then Commander doesn't verify that the storage tiers are available at the projected destination.

Example Report: Migration from On-premise to Public Cloud

This example estimates costs for a migration from vCenter to AWS. It shows how Commander calculates public cloud costs for on-premise services by predicting the best-match instance type.

VM Comparative Economics Report: Migration from vCenter to IBM SoftLayer Monthly Term Pricing

VM Comparative Economics Report: Current Location Details

Example Report: Rightsizing

VM Comparative Economics Report: Rightsizing


VM Comparative Economics - Details