Size Matters for VMware

By Sara Driscoll  |  Print this article Print


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The virtualization giant targets small businesses with flagship software and embarks on a partner recruitment drive in Europe.

Virtualization vendor VMware is hoping to shake off its enterprise image and push its technology into the small and midsize enterprise market in Europe, mirroring a move it made in the U.S. recently.

The Palo Alto, Calif., vendor will use the entry-level version of its software suite to entice smaller businesses in Europe and is recruiting solution providers to help drive sales.

Channel Insider also understands that the vendor is on the verge of signing a distribution agreement with Tech Data's UK-based subsidiary, Computer 2000. However, the firm declined to comment on this.

Matt Piercy, director of VMware's partner organization for Northern EMEA, said the vendor would not change or reduce the functionality of its product suites, but that its flagship suite—VI3 (Virtual Infrastructure 3)—already has three elements: entry level, standard and enterprise, and the entry-level software would be at the right price point for SMEs.

"Through our research we realized that SME customers want the same things as enterprise customers; they want the same technology and the same support," he said. "We are broadening our partner program in Europe into the SME space so the technology that was only available to a small number of partners is now available to many more."

Piercy also said VMware has no limit on the number of partners it is looking to recruit to its tiered partner program.

"Previously we have only focused on our enterprise level partners, but our focus for this year and next will be on our professional level partners with just one or two servers upwards. We have lowered the criteria for entry; now we only require one sales person inside the VAR to be certified on our free online training course," he said.

He claimed the market opportunity for the vendor was such that there is no limit to the number of partners who can join the program. "If the sector grows as predicted then we will need as many partners as possible to fulfill demand."

Andy Binding, managing director of European VMware distributor Magirus, said: "VMware is looking to get much greater penetration into the SME market, and has opened up its channel to allow that to happen. For us, it means we have a much greater pool of resellers to offer our services to."

He added that the distributor is planning on three recruitment days around the UK to recruit up to 60 partners.

VMWare is also in a rush to target the SME space before Microsoft launches its own virtualization technology, Binding said. "Microsoft has been working on virtualization that will be embedded into the operating system. VMWare knows this is coming and that Microsoft is a huge potential threat."

Sara Driscoll began her journalism career at 16 years old on her local newspaper, The Watford Observer. Working part time, she covered a range of beats. Leaving to complete her Journalism Degree at Bournemouth University, UK, Sara then went on to graduate and work for Emap. She began as a reporter on APR, Emap's construction title, being promoted to senior reporter with a year.Sara then joined VNU Business Publications as Deputy News Editor on CRN, the weekly trade title for channel players. She covered industry/business news from vendors, distributors and resellers, product announcements, partner announcements as well as market and trend analysis, research and in depth articles to predict up and coming trends in the sector. She was promoted within a year to News Editor, a year later to Deputy Editor and the following year became Editor. Sara remained editor of CRN for three years, launching the magazine on new platforms including CRN TV and eBooks, as well as several magazine and web site redesigns. She was called on for expert industry comment from various publications including appearing on live BBC news programs. Sara joined Ziff Davis Enterprise as Editor of eWeek Channel Insider. She runs the title in all formats – online up to the minute news, newsletters, emails alerts and events. She also manages the brand of Channel Insider in all formats - events, shows, awards, panel debates and roundtables.Sara can be reached at:sara.driscoll@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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