Virtualization Offers Opportunities, Challenges for SMBs, Report Says

IT business and market analytics company AMI-Partners
announced the findings of a report July 22 suggesting small and midsize
businesses are increasingly turning to virtualization to solve their business
challenges, which AMI said posed
"serious implications" for the midmarket ecosystem, with effects such
as "limiting the growth in shipments of physical IT equipment, especially
servers."

The report also noted the migration to virtualization is "changing the
channel partner skills [SMBs] require. IT vendors, distributors and SMB channel
partners need to understand this shift and upgrade the entire ecosystem to meet
the changing needs of SMBs," AMI said,
"based on new research."

The company statement continued, "While first-time server adopters will
continue to drive overall server shipments, they will purchase low-priced,
low-margin equipment. Most revenues and profits will come from SMBs that
already own a few servers each and are ready to use virtualization."

"Driven by their need to optimize IT infrastructure—especially in the
current economic environment and enabled by increasing availability of
SMB-focused products from virtualization vendors—there has been a significant
increase in SMB virtualization adoption (servers, clients, storage,
applications) over the last year," said Anil Miglani, SVP of IT
infrastructure and managed services research at AMI.

The AMI statement concluded, "In
response to this interest, many SMB channel partners have already started to
offer virtualization solutions. However, most SMB channel partners themselves
are SMBs with limited skills and resources and find themselves overwhelmed with
the rapidly changing landscape. Channel partners who do not quickly acquire the
required skills will find their clients looking for others to help them.

"As these SMBs successfully implement virtualization,
and simultaneously increase their use of cloud-based applications and services,
they will require fewer (although more powerful) servers, limiting the revenue
potential for SMB channel partners from the resale activities and making the
revenues from services even more important. While the initial adopters of
virtualization have been the more sophisticated SMBs, this is changing rapidly.
IT vendors need to understand the characteristics and needs of SMBs that are
already using virtualization as well as those who plan to use it in the near
future in order to focus their sales and marketing efforts."

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