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.
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.