Menu
Roundtable: Selling virtualisation to SMBs

Roundtable: Selling virtualisation to SMBs

ARN brings together industry experts to discuss virtualisation adoption in the SMB market

From left: Roy Pater Accucom | Claudio Antoniolo SystemCraft | Adam Nixon PC Nation | Jon McBride Dell | Paul Beale Purruna | Jamie Warner eNerds | Amir Antonir Spectrumtech | Mark Gluckman Regal Information Technology | Steve Gross VMware | Jean-Marc Annonier IDC | Nadia Cameron ARN | Jay Turner Dell | Robert Brown Total Computer Technology

From left: Roy Pater Accucom | Claudio Antoniolo SystemCraft | Adam Nixon PC Nation | Jon McBride Dell | Paul Beale Purruna | Jamie Warner eNerds | Amir Antonir Spectrumtech | Mark Gluckman Regal Information Technology | Steve Gross VMware | Jean-Marc Annonier IDC | Nadia Cameron ARN | Jay Turner Dell | Robert Brown Total Computer Technology

Virtualisation is dominant in the enterprise market today, but how is it faring in the SMB space? ARN brought together a collection of channel players and vendors to discuss the opportunities and challenges for virtualisation technology in the smaller end of town.

Nadia Cameron, ARN (NC): How many of your customers are starting to look into and deploy server virtualisation?

Robert Brown, Total Computer Technology (RB): I’d say probably 20-30 per cent are looking into it, and half have done it. It comes back to age of servers and where they are in their product roadmap. If they bought 10 new servers last year, they’re not about to change that. Where we are seeing movement is with customers having to refresh one, two or three servers. Most of our clients would have under 10 servers, so it’s really about getting them into a cycle and providing a roadmap over the next two years where they know what needs to be refreshed and what has to be looked at. We have had success with customers with 30 users virtualising, up to hundreds – it just depends on what they’ve got and where they are in that refresh cycle.

Jamie Warner, eNerds (JW): I mirror those thoughts in regards to where SMBs are in the lifecycle and what servers they’ve got. When you’re consulting and telling a customer to upgrade, you’re telling them what solutions to put in place. We’re seeing virtualisation go right down to businesses with 1-2 servers, and generally you’ll see it with an Microsoft Small Business Server {SBS] server as there’s even a case for virtualisation at that level when it’s time to refresh. Virtualisation is coming into the most simplistic networks, to more sophisticated networks with lots of servers, as that’s where it really starts to come into its own in terms of cost savings.

Amir Antonir, Spectrumtech (AA): We are pushing virtualisation for ease of management. It means a lot less hardware to manage because you have those virtual servers. But we also find it makes things a lot easier to manage as a service provider, and is more cost-effective for us.

RB: We have had times when we’ve rolled out one server for a client with 10 users, and we’ve still loaded [VMware] ESXi, the free version, because the server gets encapsulated virtually and we’ve got the flexibility to move it. They don’t need DR, but it’s inside a shell and I can change hardware in three or four years’ time and not have to load anything. Virtualisation has given me some options – the client doesn’t necessarily care or know what it is. We recommend it and as long as it works, they don’t understand or care about the difference.

Claudio Antoniolo, SystemCraft (CA): The refresh can be a difficult problem because it depends on what they’re refreshing. In some cases, customers used to refresh a lot of things at the same time, whereas now they stagger things more. To get an opportunity to make a lot of changes at once, and sow the seed about virtualisation, is a little hard. During the global financial crisis, people just put things off, which made it harder. The discussions are starting to happen again now.

NC: What is driving that refresh discussion today?

CA: We are driving it by simply saying ‘here’s an opportunity to save some money and also make it all a lot more manageable as you go forward, because the next time you refresh, things will be easier’.

Adam Nixon, PC Nation (AN): The other thing driving it is economy of scale and concerns about their company’s infrastructure being managed by one person internally. Hosting and technologies that can assist with that overall strategy are gaining interest.

Jean-Marc Annonier, IDC (JMA): You need to distinguish whether the client is fully managed through a managed service, because in that case it’s not about the technology so much, but the business model. That being said, there is still a large percentage of SMBs with an internal IT person, and whether they’re competent or not is another story. A lot of education still needs to be done, because that’s where you see virtualisation uptake at its lowest, or not being done at the core of the customer’s systems. With those customers, I see more migration to a managed services provider model over straight virtualisation uptake.

Click here to read more about how telcos are threatening the SMB market.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags SystemcraftTotal Computer TechnologyAccucomserver virtualisationeNerdsPC NationPurrunaVMwareARNDellIDCSpectrumtechRegal ITSMBsdesktop virtualisation

Show Comments