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Insightful research, flexible data, and deep analysis by a global SMB IT Market Research and Industry Analyst organization dedicated to tracking the Future of SMBs and Channels.

VMware SMB Strategy: Products to address Small Business Virtualization Needs

VMware just announced two new and updated cloud offerings for the SMBs - VMware Go Pro and VMware vCenter Protect Essentials Plus. VMware Go Pro is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) product designed to make it easy for SMBs to manage, monitor, and secure both physical and virtual machines through a single console. VMware vCenter Protects Essentials Plus is an on-premise IT management system including asset discovery, configuration, power management, antivirus and endpoint security designed for use in both physical and virtual environments.

VMware Go Pro
While VMware Go Pro was introduced in January 2011, the latest release has some new important capabilities such as - “IT Advisor,” which scans and assesses an SMB’s physical and virtual infrastructure and then provides recommendations, guidance, alerts and actions to help the small and mid-market businesses optimize their environments, streamline management processes, improve security and expand their virtualized infrastructure. Each time the IT Advisor scans the environment, it provides new alerts to quickly identify and solve problems.  The latest release also includes updated asset and patch management capabilities that allow users to create and label groups of machines and then schedule patch scans and deployment for these groups.

VMware Go Pro with a starting price of $12 per managed system/per year will become available for download in Q4 2011. However, it will take some time for the product to be widely available through VMware’s global partner network of nearly 25,000 channels.

VMware vCenter Protect Essentials Plus
New features within VMware vCenter Protect Essentials Plus include – new scripting capabilities to drive increased efficiency by allowing SMBs to manage and execute scripts across machine groups or the entire network.  It will also allow users to execute Remote Desktop Protocol from the vCenter Protect Essentials Plus “Machine View,” allowing IT admins’ remote access to a target machine. While not a typical scenario for a small business, nevertheless, vCenter Protect Essentials Plus console will also allow multiple administrators to simultaneously perform different tasks at the same time in IT-intensive mid-sized organizations that offer hosting and other cloud-based services including social media services.

Similar to VMware Go Pro, VMware vCenter Protect Essentials Plus will be offered through VMware’s global network of channel partners in Q4 2011. It is expected to be available as an annual subscription at $57 per server/per year and $36 per workstation/per year.

Techaisle Take
As per Techaisle’s research, Worldwide SMB Virtualization spend is expected to be US$952 million in 2011. However, the spending is heavily driven by medium businesses (100-999 employees), in fact, 95 percent will come from this segment. US represents nearly three-fourths of that spend. Thus far, most virtualization vendors like VMware have focused their efforts on the mid-market businesses that have in-house IT staff and large IT infrastructure. On the other hand small businesses can also benefit from virtualization if vendors actively market their offerings to service providers that can provide aggregated offerings for smaller businesses. But with its new offerings available in 28 languages, VMware is making a bold attempt at broadening its SMB customer base on a worldwide basis.

The messaging used by Mark Shavlik, Vice president and General Manager, SMB Management Solutions, VMware seems quite right as he addressed virtualization as solving a business issue and not a technology product.  He said, “We continue to innovate to bring SMBs advanced solutions tailored to their needs so that they can increase efficiency and reduce costs regardless of the size or sophistication of their IT organization”.

VMware has being doing well because it has established itself as the default Virtualization vendor for large enterprises. However, with its new initiatives, it is increasing its focus on its messaging specifically for SMBs. This would allow global SMBs to enjoy the benefits of virtualization and improve their asset utilization and reduce management costs while at the same time increasing business flexibility and security.

The cacophony surrounding virtualization has led to confusing generalizations. VMware would do well to guide SMBs better in this regard. While the virtualization market has developed, systems management tool vendors have continued to enhance capabilities of their products as well. It would be useful for VMware and its channels to provide better case studies and ROIs to SMBs underscoring when it would or would not be useful to deploy virtualization.

VMware has three major advantages: its portfolio of products, ecosystem to implement and support, VMware's environments and brand recognition. It is time to start capitalizing on these advantages to target the SMB market segment. Microsoft and Citrix are not far behind.

Tavishi Agrawal
Techaisle

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SMBs Unmistakable March to Virtualization

The entire IT industry is on an unmistakable path to virtualization with certain segments adopting it faster than others (e.g. financial sector, hosting companies, etc.) Server virtualization is still the primary driver of virtualization although, in the last couple of years, VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure), which helps virtualize all client devices like desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones has also shown remarkable growth. Storage virtualization is limited to the larger companies with vast amounts of storage although it will be an integral part of cloud delivery centers as well as integrated/converged data centers. These trends will make virtualization a growth market for several years.

While large companies are adopting virtualization on their in-house infrastructure, only certain SMBs are likely to adopt in-house virtualization. Most will be delivered virtualized solutions (especially VDI) via virtual infrastructures by hosters.

The largest share of Virtualization adoption by SMBs comes from North America, however, Asia/Pacific is the place to be. Asia/Pacific right now shows two distinct trends. On one hand, we see a number of smaller companies adopting in-house IT infrastructures. On the other hand, businesses with somewhat larger IT needs have started to adopt virtualization and the trend is expected to gain momentum in the near future. Armed with latest information about latest technologies and driven by rapid business growth (and corresponding growth of their IT infrastructures), Asia/Pacific businesses have shown a high openness towards, and willingness to adopt virtualization. In many cases, virtualization is an integral part of the discussions while designing and implementing new IT infrastructures among Asia/Pacific businesses.

The growth rate of Virtualization in Asia/Pacific is a little over 28 percent from 2010.

Virtualization reaching the Consumer Market
Virtualization is already being used by consumers and small businesses widely. The most common example of this is Parallels, which allows consumers to run Windows operating systems on their Apple machines. (Other vendors also have comparable products to help consumers run multiple OS’ on their machines.

Microsoft has also made virtual machines integral to its Windows 7 OS that allows users to run their Windows XP applications on their new Windows 7 operating systems.

In the near term, this trend of using multiple OS’ on a single machine will accelerate. Further down the road, it is entirely possible that increasing reliance on cloud-delivered services may reduce the users' need for on-site virtualization. But that is still further down the road and the exact trend is still an open question.

Market Leader in Virtualization
VMware is still the dominant leader with over two-thirds to three-fourths of the market for server virtualization. What contributed to its leadership position is that it has the benefit of an early start, a broad range of supporting products for managing virtual environments, a strong channel and partnerships with most leading vendors for the resale of its products.

Challenging VMware's Market Dominance
VMware has three major advantages: its portfolio of products, ecosystem to implement and support VMware's environments and brand recognition. Any competitor who hopes to compete with VMware head on will need to at least match VMware's strengths in these areas. Citrix is gaining traction, especially with its VDI initiatives. Microsoft has the potential to compete with VMware but will need to focus more. Other competitors are still in early phases and unlikely to pose a major threat to VMware in the short term.
Various attempts at open source solutions that would reduce or potentially eliminate the reliance on the underlying virtualization platform are still in very initial stages. Theoretically, adoption of open solutions will avoid a vendor lock-in by customers as they would be able to move applications easily. Even if the efforts take off, it'll take a few years to have any material impact on VMware's dominance. A greater source of threat for VMware is competition from other vendors like Citrix, Microsoft and other smaller vendors (including potentially Oracle).

VCE's vision of integrated data centers needs to be supplemented by tangible products for its eventual success. It might take some time before such integrated data centers are designed and developed and gain customer acceptance. However, short-term ups and downs aside, the industry will move towards such integrated products coming from various vendors (e.g. HP's converged infrastructure). These integrated modular data centers will make it much easier for companies to install them and reduce their costs for designing, installing and maintaining these data centers.

Tavishi Agrawal
Techaisle

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