I spoke on the subject of virtualization rollout strategies in a session at Data Center Decisions in Chicago last week. I started the session with an informal two-question survey of about 80 or so end users in the room. The results from those two questions speak volumes about the ongoing opportunity for resellers.
My first question was: “How many of you have started to roll virtualization out beyond just testing and evaluation?” Honestly, I expected a high number to indicate that they hadn’t gotten beyond testing and eval. To my surprise, about 95% of the audience raised their hands. This answer meant I needed to change the focus of my talk a bit; later, as I had the chance to mingle with some of the attendees, an interesting pattern developed.
What became clear was that while most of the users I talked to had started a rollout project, most were stuck. Either they weren’t confident of what they’d done so far, or they were undecided about the next step. This scenario creates the perfect opportunity for resellers to swing into action with services and tools to help these customers. My latest article for SearchSystemsChannel.com provides an overview of a service you can develop to address this market and finish implementing a customer’s virtualization strategy.
The response to the second question was even more interesting. I asked how many of the attendees had tried to virtualize the hard stuff (and I qualified the hard stuff as running Exchange, SQL or Oracle databases in a virtual environment). Out of 80 or so end users, one — that’s right, ONE — raised his hand.
The interesting wrinkle to this question was that many of the users I spoke with hadn’t even considered virtualizing the hard stuff. They saw value in doing it, but either didn’t want to risk it or didn’t think it was possible.
This represents another great opportunity for the channel. Not only is virtualizing the hard stuff doable, it’s not that difficult. It requires additional tools like those from Akorri and/or Tek-Tools, but also it requires additional hardware, for example, network cards that support VMware NetQueue, like those available from Intel, SolarFlare Communications and Neterion.
The point here is when you hear, “We’ve already started virtualization,” don’t assume for a second that you have no role to play because for the most part your job has just begun.
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George Crump is president and founder of Storage Switzerland, an IT analyst firm focused on the storage and virtualization segments. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation’s largest storage integrators.