VMware Aims for SMBs With Virtualization Management Bundle

In recent years, smaller businesses have often struggled between managing costs and finding tailored services suited to help efficiently manage their information technology systems, but a recent surge in vendors targeting the small to medium-size business (SMB) market has virtualization right around the corner.

VMware, a provider of virtualization software for enterprise, is making a push into the SMB space by rolling out similar enterprise level software for the so-called little guy.

For Windows and Linux

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company — already firmly established in the data centers of many Fortune 100 companies — is trolling for the smaller fish with its new server virtualization management bundle.

The bundle, which includes VirtualCenter for VMware Server with enterprise-class support from VMware, starts at US$1,500.

The solution, which supports VMware Server on Windows and Linux, is expected to give smaller customers an operating system-based virtualization platform for server consolidation, rapid application provisioning, centralized management, backup and disaster recovery, according to the company.

Although the plan is limited to three two-socket physical servers, it can later be converted into multiple virtual servers for $400 each.

Reducing Costs of IT Infrastructure

Many SMBs are adopting virtualization because the technology can help lower the total cost of their IT infrastructure while enabling new levels of business agility.

The VMware Server has been downloaded 1.2 million times since it became available in July 2006, with 70 percent of downloads by SMBs, according to the company.

Those numbers signaled to executives of the company that the growth potential in the SMB market was huge, said Ben Matheson, vice president of product management for VMware, a division of storage vendor EMC.

“VMware has always believed that virtualization is useful for companies of all sizes from the largest enterprise down to SMBs,” Matheson told LinuxInsider.

VMware considers small to medium-sized businesses as those with fewer than 1,000 employees, or an average of 100 physical servers in their businesses.

“We believe this new bundle will create an on-ramp for SMBs to virtualize their environments,” Matheson noted.

The Competition

VMware is not alone in trying to gain the attention of the burgeoning SMB sector.

Hewlett-Packard is also offering a Virtualization Assessment Service that analyzes a SMBs IT infrastructure, and IBM also has an initiative dubbed “Virtualization Test Drive” which was launched in 2006 and aimed at the SMB market.

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