SMBs moving to ‘full’ virtualisation and cloud to double by 2014

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Vendors often unable to communicate benefits to customers according to VMware backed Canalys survey

EMEA resellers are expecting that the number of SMBs set to move into ‘full’ virtualisation will double over the next two years, according to VMware.

A survey, conducted by Canalys for the firm. has shown that while many customers have dipped their toes in virtualisation already, the numbers putting business critical applications in virtualised environments and moving towards the cloud is set to increase substantially.

VMware channel boss for UK & Ireland Ed Dolman told ChannelBiz that many more firms are expected to move past 80 percent virtualisation by 2014, in order to reduce costs against a backdrop of economic upheaval.

He says that the results of the survey of 350 EMEA resellers indicates a “very significant” increase in the number of SMBs looking to virtualise and accelerate their journey to cloud computing.

“For us the SMB is a huge area of opportunity,” Dolman told us.  “SMBs are investing heavily in virtualisation in 2012 and going forward for the next two years.  It is a high IT priority and they are putting budget aside to continue virtualisation projects.”

While VMware has been at the forefront of the initial move to virtualisation for many firms, there is still plenty of scope for further business for the firm and its channel partners he says.

“What is interesting is that of the SMB that have already virtualised, around half of them have done it just the IT basics, on test and dev, and have just started on this journey.

“A very significant percentage said that SMBs in the next two years are really looking to drive this forward.  They are looking to virtualise business critical applications, and drive towards heavily virtualised environments.”

According to the report, 48 percent of SMBs have already adopted virtualisation have done so for “basic IT infrastructure”.  Over the next two years 75 percent will expand to business critical applications, with 38 percent looking to push past 80 percent of business virtualised – up from 20 percent currently.

The main reason behind this is cost savings.  VMware might be under the cosh from rivals offering competitive pricing, but the firm believes that the value proposition is set to win more business in future.

“When you look at the priorities that have come out of the survey, cost reduction is unsurprisingly still number one,” Dolman said.

“We are in the middle of the greatest recession certainly for a generation, some say for more than a hundred years, so it is no surprise that cost is top of the agenda.”

83 percent of respondents highlighted cost as the main factor of increasing virtualisation, with business continuity and business agility also major factors.

The main barriers to further adoption which have been highlighted by SMBs have been  upfront costs and virtualisation not being regarded as a priority in the short term.

A lack of education from vendors and partners as to the precise benefits of virtualisation have also been problematic.

“Cloud computing is many things to different people,” Dolman says. “Vendors have found it hard to understand what cloud actually mean when they are messaging to customers.  It doesn’t just mean internet, and that is often what has come across.”

VMware says that through its Real World Advantage partner programme it is helping drive further awareness amongst its SMB customer base.


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