At its recent VMWorld 2012 in San Francisco, VMWare released new virtualisation products aimed at the small to medium enterprise business segment such as its new VMware vCloud Suite 5.1.
ARN caught up with VMWare vice-president and general manager SMB availability solutions, Russell Stockdale, in San Francisco, to talk about the opportunities in the SMB space.
RD: How do these new technologies apply to the SMBs and what are your plans in that market segment?
RS: For the SMB market overall, we have seen tremendous interest in the adoption of virtualisation - about 20 per cent of SMB customers are already virtualised. Our survey also shows that 77 per cent of respondents were going to start virtualising or planning it within the next year.
For SMBs, the focus is to go beyond virtualisation itself. Workload mobility is an important theme. Once you have done virtualising the servers, there will be additional benefits you will seek. One of them is that once I have encapsulated my server in software, I expect to move it around from server A to server B, maintain server A and move it back.
Business continuity both within my site and across sites is another key theme. In the former scenario, I planned to do that but what if my server falls over and it’s gone. I want an automated process when that happens.
The third is automated management – automation around this so you don’t have to do this manually.
There is common set of requirements and you can deliver in solution sets that fit the budget and skill level and the hardware profile of SMBs.
RD: Is selling to SMBs a harder sell?
RS: It is a different sell. Big enterprises have thousands of servers, and they frequently have a depreciation schedule and retirement plan - every 3 to 4 years, a set of servers is rolling out the door, and another set is rolling in. In that context, it is fairly straightforward to incorporate virtualisation into that retirement schedule.
For SMBs, it’s less that and more ad hoc and business driven. I might need that server running as long as it runs but will replace it if I need to update the application, or of there is a problem with the hardware or some other business-driving event
They are looking for benefits such as cost savings but beyond that as well. Often times, the IT person is saying, ‘how will this help me not just with capex but also opex?’ They would like to spend less time on break fix and more time on building new things. Could they spend less time on desktop support, and more on building it? That plays a more important role in SMBs.
RD: VMWare’s new CEO, Pat Gelsinger, has said that software-defined datacentres will be the biggest revenue driver for VMWare globally. What’s the biggest driver for the SMB market?
RS: We will see two branches for SMB: continued virtualisation- customers who are not yet virtualised continuing to adopt.
And the more demanding SMBs and IT business may choose software defined datcentres. I expect overtime that those capabilities will move into the SMB space as well.
Tech diffusion will begin with the VCloud suite this year. Those with more advanced needs will be early adopters and rest of them adopting VSphere 5.1 solution with a combination of workload mobilisation, and as they build out they will expand into software defined products.
RD: What are your plans in Asia-Pac and Australia?
RS: Within the region, Australia has been the most advanced and early in its adoption of virtualisation. I would expect that there will be a great deal of interest in early adoption of VCloud 5.1.
In a region specific way, we will see that the adoption within Australia will follow more of the model we have in North America, seeling through solution providers. In China, a larger role is being played by hardware OEMs. In North America, it is much more of a mix with software-side.
RD: What does business continuity mean for the SMB space?
RS: When we talk about business continuity, we talk about protecting you within the site with a single machine failing, and also failure in case your site goes out. What happens when you have power outage, a storm hits and your entire site gets knocked out. That is what we call both business continuity and disaster recovery.
There are more some specifics for the needs for SMBs. First and foremost, SMB tends to be a one-site place. A majority of SMBs don’t have a second datcentre or a third datacentre. While for the larger businesses, disaster recovery is replicate from my Sydney to Melbourne datacentre.
Secondly, DR plan with redundant site is expensive, It is like buying insurance but buying insurance that costs as much as the car itself. You need to have a different approach for SMBs. We have expanded our site recovery manager hosting program… and in Asia, there are a couple of new members of that program - Sungard and IIJ, an APJ partner in Japan. We will make available next year [a product] to back up all the Vms in a cloud.