VMware vCloud Eval: Why It’s Good for Channel Partners
The thinking behind VMware’s (NYSE: VMW) new vCloud Service Evaluation is time-tested: Put a risk-free, abridged version of your product or service in a prospect’s hands and chances skyrocket that you’ll earn a buying customer. But what's in it for channel partners? Here's the update.
The vCloud Service Evaluation sounds like a smart move. More vendors whose technology poses a learning curve should do the same, both for end customers and the channel.
Evals are commonplace with OS and application productivity software–but will it work with the cloud? And, while the evaluation service seems a feasible tactic for VMware to latch on to new cloud customers, how will the vCloud test drive benefit channel partners? Let’s look a little closer.
End customers, from SMBs to midmarket and the enterprise, still are uncertain about cloud technology–conceptually it’s not readily grasped and seems intangible, even though it’s not. While budget constrained SMBs may sense greater urgency to move to the cloud, larger businesses hesitate owing to cost, security and regulations issues. They view it as a big deal.
Many channel partners similarly grapple with the cloud, although most know that the cloud is where they will have to be operating, if not now, then soon. As with advertising and public relations, any exposure to the cloud is good exposure if only because it de-mystifies the technology.
VMware’s vCloud Service Evaluation asks of prospects only a nominal fee—access starts August 27, costs 4 cents an hour for a Linux VM with 1GB of RAM and is granted after registering with a credit card. Customers can engage in hands-on testing and experimentation, a way to see how the vCloud Director software works, and give due consideration to what it might take to remake their IT environment, adopt new technology, and, get a flavor for working with a vCloud service provider—essentially, prepping to make an informed decision.
Customers can engage pre-built operating system and application templates and use vCloud connector to move workloads from their private cloud or vSphere environment. From there, users can migrate to a vCloud service provider for production services.
vCloud Test Drive and Partners
As for partners, VMware’s vCloud test drive appears to be a case of positive overflow. In other words, partners will be able to leverage the service to familiarize themselves with the vCloud platform at no risk or expense, either on their own, or, better still, with potential cloud customers in tow. In this case, VMware’s prospecting also is the channel’s by association.
For more information about public and private cloud trends for VARs, check out The VAR Guy's related InfoCenter.