At VMworld 2010 this week, VMware unveiled its new Solutions Enablement Toolkits (SET). SET represents a unique approach to empowering partner virtualization capabilities and reflects VMware’s years of experience in working with its virtualization channel.
Ready, SET, Go
While VMware has been around a long time (2010 VMworld is the 7th such event) and while 50% of new servers are now configured as virtual machines, the typical organization is still only around 20% virtualized. The big stumbling block is inevitably the tier 1 applications such as Microsoft Exchange, ERP and database servers. Successfully virtualizing these mission critical applications requires a complex offering combining both products and services.
The SET framework is VMware’s attempt to accelerate what it calls the “virtualization journey” by providing VMware partners with a framework to enable productization of a combined product and services solution. Moreover, it allows partners to quickly add their own unique go-to-market approach and IP in order to customize their offerings.
The natural tendency of channel salespeople without extensive experience in an area such as virtualization is to simply grab all of the corporate resources they can when working on an opportunity. This results in both a considerable waste of effort as well as lost opportunities from misapplication of resources. The SET was developed to enable both identification and qualification of opportunities by the salesperson before engaging corporate resources.
Phase 1 of the formal SET release in addition to a vSphere jumpstart includes Microsoft Exchange, SAP and SQL solutions – all on vSphere of course. Two other SETs include a desktop virtualization assessment and a VMware View pilot. Additional SETs are planned for release each quarter.
The SET templates were originally conceived as a result of VMware working closely with a group of select partners. The first templates were focused on simply upgrading VMware vSphere. The partners reported that the streamlined sales fueled accelerated growth.
The initial success of SET indicates it is likely to become a popular tool for VMware’s channel. The framework widens the competitive advantage when pitching a virtualization solution against Microsoft’s Hyper-V. It is the IP bundling component, though, that provides the most interesting opportunity. Partners that are able to capitalize on this aspect will be able to differentiate themselves with branded offerings.