VMware Makes SMB Play with New Partner Program

The small and medium business (SMB) market for virtualization is shaping up as a major competitive battleground for hypervisor vendors now that Microsoft has entered the fray with the release of Hyper-V. In a move clearly designed to strengthen its position in this segment by both by increasing the number of channel partners and deepening the relationship with existing ones, VMware has announced a new initiative dubbed the System Builder Program.

In VMware parlance, "system builders" are OEM suppliers that sell servers either directly or through channels. With ESXi as the centerpiece, the company's intent is to work more closely with these suppliers, especially at the Tier 2 and 3 levels, where a significant amount of SMB market activity now takes place, the company said.

Much of VMware's success to date has been tied to sales involving large enterprise customers. But the SMB market represents a major opportunity for hypervisor suppliers, and many analysts consider Microsoft to have a distinct advantage over VMware in this segment of the market.

According to Geoff Waters, director of Business Development for VMware, the new initiative will provide pre-sales technical support, targeted training and improved marketing tools.  

Waters said the program will give partners a chance to upsell additional software and services, including VMware's full line of datacenter and desktop virtualization solutions. In addition, system builders can also leverage other aspects of the existing VIP Partner Program such as the Advantage+ financial incentive and Going Green programs.

About the Author

Tom Valovic is a freelance technology writer.