Feature Article: Virtualize Beyond The Enterprise Market
By Gennifer Biggs, Business Solutions magazine.
Virtualization has long been a technology implemented primarily at the enterprise level. The reasons for that vary; everything from cost to ROI to expertise has limited adoption of virtual technology in the midmarket and SMB markets. But with economic pressure forcing all businesses to tighten their belts, solutions providers such as CMT have found that story line changing. With experience gained by delivering cutting-edge virtualization solutions to enterprise clients with thousands of seats, CMT now offers virtualization solutions that appeal to the midtier and SMB customers it serves, enabling them to enjoy the ROI of better-optimized computing power.
Leverage Enterprise Experience To Extend Virtualization Downstream
Dennis Mueller, VP of technical services for CMT, explains that CMT, which is 26 years old, has roots in the data center space and for many years focused on backup and disaster recovery solutions. But nearly a decade ago the company starting talking to its major customers about where they saw IT impacting their companies — good and bad — and where they expected to need help with technology. "What came out of that conversation was a huge emphasis on data management, from email to legacy data, and the management of all of it. We heard from our customers that data was exploding out of control," explains Mueller. "That's when we started to focus on reducing costs with smarter data management, and virtualization became a piece of that solution set because it is a way to consolidate and to get better ROI on existing investments." Because enterprise customers were the foundation of CMT's business, the solutions provider started learning about virtualization with the support of those large customers. "We saw the need for CMT to develop the deepest tech knowledge possible in terms of virtualization, and those large enterprises had the funds to tackle these projects and invest in them so we could earn that expertise on the job," explains Mueller. As CMT moved forward, it learned to streamline and consolidate its offerings to provide the same value to smaller customers. One reason that enterprise class customers were willing to serve as trail blazers was the ROI offered by virtualization to such large organizations versus the ROI smaller customers enjoy. While the savings are still compelling at the midmarket and SMB levels, it wasn't so compelling as to drive fully invested projects when the technology was bleeding edge. Today, the early adopters in the enterprise space are continuing to invest in virtualization, moving more and more data and applications into virtualized environments. Meanwhile, SMBs are starting to demand the same efficiencies and dipping their toes into virtualization.
Why Virtualization Is 2011 Trend
With the lingering effects of the recession still impacting purchasing and IT decisions throughout the business world, it isn't a surprise that virtualization, with its value proposition of cost savings and high ROI, has returned to the forefront as an IT industry trend. IT market forecasters predict virtualization spend will top $290 billion in the next five years, and much of that growth will come from smaller businesses demanding virtual solutions tailored to their needs. Mueller says that while CMT is seeing that trend, it is also seeing the adoption of cloud computing tools stimulating conversations about virtualization, especially at the SMB space.