SMB virtualisation: Getting to the next level

SMB virtualisation: Getting to the next level

ARN roundtable attendees battle out how to drive more virtualisation in the SMB space

One of the questions raised by Dell’s Jon McBride was how resellers were taking virtualisation in their customer base to the next level. While many clients claim to have deployed virtualisation extensively, a bit of digging shows many only have about 10 per cent of their environment on virtual technology.

“If you ask ‘are you virtualising your databases, Exchange or critical applications?’ they’ll say ‘Of course not, but we’ve done some of the edge stuff’,” he said. “How many customers have you come across with a number one critical app, and when you ask them where it is, they’ll put to a box in the corner and say ‘over there, that’s the holy grail, we don’t touch it’ or even worse, ‘we’ve clustered it’. No one is allowed to get near it.

“Times have moved on, virtualisation has moved on and become more robust, and there are very few things now that can’t be virtualised. So have we got a job to go back to those customers and help them understand they can take it to a deeper level?”

Accucom’s Roy Pater said the question for customers was 'why?' – why virtualise an application that still works?

“They’re not going to virtualise for virtualisation’s sake. It comes back to what is the business need,” he claimed. Examples could be company growth, a new application or an emerging business driver, Pater said.

Spectrumtech’s Amir Antonir said achieving more virtualisation came down to the scope of services an organisation wanted.

“If all of a sudden, they want to use BlackBerry devices, and we tell them that virtualisation allows them to just flick a button, they’ll say ‘great, stick it in’,” he said. “It’s not so much the technology, or that the customer is more confident now because it’s much more stable. We need to be more comfortable with virtualisation, not them.”

TCT’s Robert Brown said it came down to IT priorities and what needed to be done, when.

“You take the conversations you can win, and sometimes it’s easier to walk away and work on something else,” he said. “The client is always right – if he thinks it needs to be physical, it is.”

eNerd’s Jamie Warner agreed customers weren’t going to move to a virtual environment if an application is working on a physical server, or if the architecture is still under warranty.

“But what you could do in those situations, is focus on education and make it really simple, rather than showing off the list of servers,” he said. “You could start communicating with them about when to refresh and change.”

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