VMware Loosing the SMB
I’ve been a VMware Virtualization Certified Professional for about 2 years now and I’ve been a fanboy even longer–a client actually introduced me to it out of the blue a few years back and opened my eyes to a new vista! We never got along all that great–though we were hardly at each other’s throats–but I always thank him for showing me Virtualization.
As most of you know, I’m also a fanboy of Spiceworks which gives me a great window into the mind of the SMB IT department. What I see is a lost opportunity for VMware because they are so focused on the Enterprise. Microsoft’s Hyper-V and Citrix’s XenServer are making great strides in the virtualization space and offer many of the advanced features of VMware’s ESX for free.
VMware made some good strides with vSphere in creating some SMB minded license bundles, and for most SMB’s they are great packages. But you can get the same stuff with more options for free or for less from both Microsoft and Citrix.
Want live migrations of VM’s between hosts? Free from MS and Citrix. ESX? Nope, you need to purchase the VERY expensive Enterprise level licenses. For 3 hosts with vCenter and vMotion you can easily drop $20,000 on VMware, but from Microsoft and Citrix it’s FREE.
Another thing I’ve noticed on Spiceworks is the number of SMB’s that are distributed across multiple sites. VMware’s current licensing restricts the “SMB” bundles to a single site, essentially knocking themselves out of the race before they even get started. And it’s a repeating pattern on Spiceworks, ESX is a good fit if you fall within the tight pocket of their licensing parameters but if you don’t then the other products are just better (not from a technical standpoint, but from a licensing one).
It kills me to watch VMware loose the SMB because of licensing policies. It kills me to see people picking less mature products, just because they can’t afford VMware. With a decent pricing structure, VMware could be killing this space, absolutely KILLING it. They have a robust 3rd party application infrastructure, they have the name recognition. Remember the old saying “no one ever got fired for buying IBM”… unless it was literally 10 times more expensive then the competitor. Most SMB’s are more then willing to take that risk. And frankly, with the latest XenServer and Hyper-V releases there isn’t all that much risk!
I evaluated Citrix XenServer and loved it, but I’m sticking with VMware because it’s what I’m trained on and what I know. Because switching to XenServer would mean hours of weekend work for me. Because the 3rd party infrastructure is superior and because I’m one of those lucky SMB’s that fall in the “window” where VMware’s licensing works for me. And if I’m being perfectly honest, I’m NOT. I have 2 remote sites that I just won’t be able to centrally managed in VMware, but it’s a hit I’m OK with taking!
But the window is closing and I just don’t see how VMware is going to keep itself from being locked outside.