Memo from VMware: Virtualization is First Step to Cloud
When it comes to VARs and MSPs developing cloud computing strategies, VMware has a simple message for partners. “Virtualization is the cornerstone of the cloud; you can’t get to the cloud without virtualization,” asserts Doug Smith, senior director of global channels at VMware. But is it really that simple? And will VMware be the go-to virtualization partner in the cloud, especially as rivals like Microsoft and Red Hat push deeper into virtualization? Here’s the update for partners.
In the TalkinCloud FastChat video, Smith says partners need to get customers going on baseline virtualization. While many small businesses are shifting to public clouds, Smith sees private clouds as the bigger opportunity for partners serving midsize and large customers — especially as partners get started virtualizing data centers. “I think virtualization is the first step to the private cloud,” said Smith. “You’re separating out the hardware infrastructure from your IT compute needs.”
Smith says the opportunities involve more than VMware vSphere. He also points to VMware vCenter Server (formerly VMware VirtualCenter), which allows partners to centrally manage VMware vSphere environments. And he sees opportunities for partners to leverage SpringSource, a cloud applications development platform that VMware acquired in August 2009.
Meanwhile, VMware also is catching on within Cisco Systems’ channel, where many partners are starting to master Vblock (which includes integrated Cisco, VMware and EMC solutions).
The cloud certainly is a huge opportunity for VMware and its channel partners. But competition looms around every corner. During the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2010, Microsoft claimed its Hyper-V virtual machine was gaining market share against VMware. And at Red Hat Summit 2010 (in June), Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst predicted Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) would eventually leapfrog VMware the same way that Linux leapfrogged Sun Solaris deployments.
Time for VMware to panic? Not quite. One recent IT survey suggests VMware remains the virtualization platform of choice for 83 percent of customers. And it sure sounds like partners remain committed to VMware. A case in point: The VMware Partner Exchange conference (Feb. 8-11, Orlando, Fla.) is expected to attract 4,000 to 5,000 partners.
Not too shabby for a company that has a bull’s eye on its back.