Even though I’m technically not a beat reporter on matters of virtualization, I wind up writing about the topic a fair amount because of my interest in green IT (few technologies are greener, when you think about it, in their ability to get companies to decrease their dependence on hardware). And because when anything becomes more mainstream in the software world, Microsoft declares war on the market.
So, it was with interest that I reported a story for TechTarget about whether or not VMware’s recent repackaging for its small business technology (more stuff for slightly more money) will be enough to inspire defections among the Microsoft channel. The answer is, not yet.
But that doesn’t mean Microsoft partners won’t sell VMware solutions opportunistically. Even though many will FOCUS on Microsoft’s virtualization story first, they are keeping their options open by certifying at least some personnel on VMware’s technology. Some are even prioritizing VMware, like Guy Baroan, president of Baroan Technologies, a technology services company in Clifton, N.J. He says he will lead with VMware because of the incredible value in its lowend packages. With the VMware VMware vSphere 4.1 release in July, the company moved to add the VMotion live migration technology to both the Essentials Plus and Standard editions. Essentials Plus now costs $3,495 for three hosts (up from $2,995) and Standard is now priced at $995 per processor (up from $795).
But Baroan isn’t dropping Microsoft: “We have to do both for the foreseeable future,” he said.
The one wild card in all this is the impending overhaul come October of what it takes to become a Microsoft Silver or Gold Certified partner. Moving forward, you’ll only be able to earn the Gold designation for certain competencies (not for an entire company). AND, you’ll need four separate technicians certified on the competency in questions PLUS someone on the sales and marketing end. Some smaller partners say that investment is too steep for their taste, which will change the nature of their relationship with Microsoft.
VMware has a golden opportunity to capitalize on the transition confusion, pun intended. We’ll have to see what the company has up its sleeve in the weeks to come but if I was one of their channel managers I would be on the offense — especially since Microsoft plans to offer deal registration points for virtualization wins, come fall 2010.
I help out SWOT Management Group principal Bill Brandt by posting to this blog from time to time. If you want to read some of my other writing, visit http://www.heatherclancy.com. And, of course, you can follow me on Twitter.