Mental Ward

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Virtualization and the Partner Channel

I'm doing a lot of reporting now for a story for sister publication Redmond Channel Partner magazine, and crack Editor in Chief Scott Bekker. As I did in my previous blog on VDI, I wanted to pass along some insights I've stumbled into as related to the channel partner market in virtualization.

  • First, server consolidation is still the point of entry for most businesses getting into virtualization. No big surprise there, but it's good to check with actual channel partners out there doing this stuff every day. It's easy to get into a "convential wisdom" mindset and assume things are currently happening the same way they've been happening for the last quarter, six months or two years. Especially in an environment changing as rapidly as virtualization.
  • Virtualization services will be a much more lucrative area than selling virtualization products.
  • There is a lot of growing interest among companies in VDI. The vendors I've spoken to uniformly agree that more questions than ever are being asked about it, and lots of small pilot tests are starting to occur in organizations of all sizes.
  • The TCO and ROI predictions for virtualization are very real (unlike what so often happens in IT). It's also quick.
  • There are huge upsell opportunities in virtualization. Once the benefits of server consolidation are seen, it takes no time at all for companies to explore other areas of cost and efficiency savings with virtualization. In other words, if you're a virtualization consultancy or service provider, getting your foot in the door normally leads to that door swinging wide open after a few minutes.
  • VMware is still, clearly, the leader of the virtualization pack. While almost all companies are aware of what Microsoft, Citrix, Sun, Red Hat, et al. are doing, VMware continues to be the first choice -- and it's not close at this point.
  • The recession -- anecdotally -- hasn't hammered the virtualization community yet. And given the nature of cost-savings associated with it, it may escape a lot of the blows that are likely to rain down on other areas of IT.
  • VMware's relationships with its channel partners is improving markedly. Part of that can be explained by the presence of CEO Paul Maritz, who learned the importance of those relationships during his time with Microsoft, still the channel partner gold standard.

My story should be out in an early 2009 issue of RCP. I'll update you when it's out.

Posted by Keith Ward on 12/11/2008 at 12:48 PM


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