ORLANDO, Fla. – Virtualizing tier-one applications is a bear. So, VMware launched a new designation for partners with expertise in this area.
The new VMware solution competency recognizes partners that have received technical and sales training and met other criteria for virtualizing tier-one applications. Partners can use the designation to tout their expertise to customers.
Attendees at this week’s Partner Exchange 2011 conference here said it’s a major challenge to get customers to virtualize applications such as Oracle and Microsoft databases or SAP Enterprise Resource Planning -- and not just from a technical standpoint.
“It’s a financial, political, operational and technical issue,” said Keith Norbie, vice president at Nexus Information Systems, a Plymouth, Minn., VMware partner.
Virtualizing tier-one applications: The decision
When it comes to virtualizing file and print servers or test and dev environments, for example, the decision usually falls to IT managers alone. But with tier-one applications, business decision makers often get involved. And that can complicate the process.
“A lot of it is, you’re now selling to a different line of business,” said Doug Smith, senior director of VMware Inc.'s global channels partner strategy.
Business decision makers may not know about virtualization or its benefits, so they don’t see any reason to virtualize their tier-one applications, Norbie said.
“People don’t want to fix what isn’t broken,” he said.
Lew Smith, business development and virtualization specialist at Interphase Systems Inc., a VMware partner in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., agreed.
“Everything’s running physically,” he said. “It’s running fine. They don’t want to change it.”
Other customers fear what could happen -- downtime, data loss, poor performance -- if they virtualize their tier-one apps, Interphase’s Smith added. But he said pre-sales testing can help alleviate those concerns.
VMware stressed the value of pre-sales testing in a Partner Exchange session on virtualizing SAP. Andre Kemp, a VMware SAP specialist, told partners to use VMware’s capacity assessment tool and hardware vendors’ sizing tools to ensure a customer’s infrastructure can support virtualized SAP.
“The number-one thing we see when projects blow up is incorrect sizing,” he said.
There are many other technical challenges to virtualizing tier-one applications, VMware’s Smith said. They include architectural layout, use-case scenarios and database latency.