VMware Woos System Builders

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Ahead of Microsoft's release of Hyper-V, VMware is looking to win over some of the estimated 10,000 system builders globally that represent 20 to 25 percent of the x86 server market.

Even as small and midsize business favorite Microsoft gets set to launch Hyper-V, its free virtualization offering, virtualization market leader VMware is preparing for the new competitor by creating a program to attract system builders.

And the program's ability to attract those board designers could have a big effect on who wins the next battle. Market analysis company IDC estimates that system builders are responsible for a hefty chunk of the x86 server market—20 to 25 percent.

The new program will not only provide system builders with OEM certification on ESXi, VMware's lightweight version of a hypervisor, capable of being embedded on a motherboard; it will also give them time-to-market parity, says Geoff Waters, director of emerging channels at VMware.

And it gives system builders a way to move into another part of the market, according to Waters.

"Service providers are telling us as hardware margins continue to get squeezed that they are looking to get into the software and services side of the arena," Waters says. "They can preload ESXi for free and then upsell higher-end products and then offer service and support around that. They can go from being box builder to being solution provider."

Plans for the new system builders program have been in the works for a year now, with VMware offering OEM certification on ESXi to system builders. Waters says VMware will have 50 unique single-, two- and four-socket systems available from OEMs that are ESXi-certified.

"This enables choices for end users and will give our reseller base more choices," Waters says.

The new system builder program comes under the umbrella of VMware's VIP partner program. In the past, system builders have joined other parts of the VMware program, Waters says. Now, with the new program designed for their specific needs, VMware is hoping to recruit some of the 5,000 to 10,000 estimated system builders around the world.

Click here to read about changes VMware made to its partner program in 2008.

The system builder program includes three components: technical, education, and marketing and sales. Technical offers presales support, online troubleshooting courses and access to a knowledge base. Education offers system builder-specific training online, a system builder community forum within the company's portal, and access to best practices and success stories.

The marketing and sales component gives system builders access to the VMware system builder logo. System builders will also be part of the system builder locator.
Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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