IBM Lets BPs Offer Virtualization Test Drive to SMB Customers
June 26, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Virtualization is a pretty esoteric concept, and if IT managers and system administrators are struggling with it, you can imagine how difficult it is for resellers and other system partners to peddle something that is a virtual product, not a physical one.
To help make life a little easier for its business partner channel as they try to peddle its various server virtualization products, IBM is rolling out a virtualization test drive in its 40 business partner innovation centers around the globe, which will allow them and their respective partners to come into the centers and play around with the Virtualization Engine hypervisor at the heart of the System i and System p product lines. IBM’s hope is that it can replicate the success that it had giving freebie Linux partitions to mainframe and iSeries customers a few years back when this capability was new.
IBM wants business partners to really understand what its virtualization software can do in terms of allowing server consolidation and driving up server utilization. IBM says that about 65 percent of its virtualization software sales are already driven by business partners, but like everyone else, it is hoping to cash in even further on this virtualization craze. In fact, in making its test drive offering available, IBM cited statistics from Gartner that suggest that about 40 percent of medium-sized business will cut down on their server populations by at least 20 percent in 2007 by using virtualization hypervisors. And, in beta tests of the program, IBM has experienced an 80 percent conversion rate on its sales efforts, which is a very high number.
The offering is available in North America and is being rolled out in Europe; it will be available worldwide later this year. In addition to the test drive, IBM is offering training, sales, and support to help BPs help their customers adopt virtualization. Believe it or not, IBM has a vice president of virtualization, too.
Don’t get me started.