Tech Data Makes Virtualization More Affordable

The distributor is providing VARs access to two mobile virtualization labs and promises to send an engineer in some cases to minimize set-up and configuration time. IDC sees market growing to $1.8 billion by 2010.

The many opportunities of virtualization technology -- virtual storage, virtual applications, and virtual servers, to name just the most popular ones -- have turned virtualization into a most appealing and profitable space for VARs.

Researcher IDC has estimated that 1.7 million physical servers will be shipped in 2010 specifically to run virtual machines, a threefold increase over shipments in 2005. The worldwide market for x86 virtualization solutions has been growing rapidly since 2003 when it stood at $205 million, according to IDC, which projects growth to approximately $1.8 billion by 2010

Selling virtualization solutions, however, is far from a stroll in the park. Customers typically require proof-of-concept, real-world examples to get their heads around the nebulous idea that virtualizing hardware and software will reduce their data center ‘real estate,’ cut hardware costs, trim power bills, and improve data center efficiencies.

For small and midsize VARs, delivering those proof-of-concept examples can be a struggle. VARs need a lot of gear, must spend time configuring it, and maybe have to haul the gear to a customer’s site, where they might be obliged to reconfigure servers and desktops a few times in the course of a sales pitch.

To make it easier and more affordable for VARs to sell server and desktop virtualization, distributor Tech Data has come up with the novel idea of providing two mobile virtualization labs to save VARs from doing any heavy hauling. The distributor even promises to send an engineer in some cases to minimize the VAR’s set-up and configuration time.

The labs and the Tech Data engineer won’t cost qualified VARs a penny, said Amy Belcher, director of product marketing at Tech Data’s Advanced Infrastructure Solutions Division. Belcher noted that the distributor’s desire to penetrate the channel more deeply with virtualization solutions is a strategic imperative.

“Our labs will enable VARs to do hands-on demonstrations of how server and desktop virtualization can save their customers time and money,” said Belcher.

The labs consist of 25U racks configured with IBM and HP servers and storage systems running virtualization solutions from VMware. Ultimately, other vendors such as Citrix, Fujitsu, Parallels and Virtual Iron will likely participate in the labs, said Belcher.

“VARs can use the labs to introduce virtualization to their customers, create virtual servers on the spot and show how virtualized solutions can benefit businesses by making it easier to manage data centers,” she said. Belcher added that Tech Data will customize a lab to meet the needs of VARs targeting vertical markets.

TAGS: virtualization,servers,Tech Data,VARs

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