SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Virtualization is Still a Relevant Solution for Your Customers

By Pete Engler

In the technology world, solutions and deployment methods change rapidly. One of the current technology trends centers on hosted or cloud-based solutions, which is gaining traction at a rapid pace. Most vendors releasing cloud-based solutions see this new segment of their business growing faster than traditional offerings; these hosted solutions are also proving to be excellent paths to cloudsolutiongrowth and competitiveness. Even so, there are legacy solutions that remain relevant and serve very specific needs within an organization. Virtualization is one of those ‘legacy’ solutions that continues to play a strategic part of a reseller’s or VAR’s portfolio.

Virtualized environments were considered a mainstream solution for nearly two decades when VMWare burst onto the scene in the late 1990’s. Offering a software platform to consolidate applications on the same hardware allowed businesses to reduce the need for datacenter servers, saving expenses and energy costs over an extended period of time. Virtualization is not limited to the size of the business and is used by small to medium-size businesses (SMBs), as well as enterprises.

There are many benefits for the reseller/VAR in offering virtualized solutions. These include:

  •  Cost savings for the business. Virtualizing business applications on a reduced number of servers saves hardware and administrative costs. Businesses need to be efficient and saving cost anywhere over a long period of time adds to the bottom line.
  • Energy savings. Reducing the hardware footprint in any size organization will reduce energy savings, making the business more efficient and profitable. There is also the benefit that saving energy can help the environment, which today can be a factor in a customer’s decision to do business with providers of products and services.
  • Backup/disaster recovery. Virtualized environments offer excellent disaster recovery options. If one virtual machine has hardware or software issues, or dies completely, the system can automatically compensate by spinning up the application on another “slice” of a different virtualized machine. Critical environments, which most all businesses have, can rely on this feature for constant uptime of services.
  • Cloud offerings to end customers. There are options for the reseller/VAR to become a cloud vendor to their end customers. Building a datacenter using virtualized product offerings, for example a business phone system, allows resellers/VARs to offer cloud-based solutions. This consolidates the hardware that needs to be managed in a central datacenter and allows streamlined management of the solution to each end customer.

Even with all of the new technology solutions available to organizations today, virtualization is a technology that remains important to a variety of businesses. And, it is a solution easily fulfilled by you, as a technology reseller/VAR. With a wide variety of deployment methods, whether at the customer location or by creating a hosted service for the customer, these options will round out your product portfolio as a reseller.

Pete Engler is the channel marketing manager at Digium, a business communications company based in Huntsville, Ala., that delivers enterprise-class Unified Communications.

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What is driving SMB converged infrastructure adoption

By: Anurag Agrawal

For all the talk of a world predicated on software-defined resources, there is still need for capable, reliable, scalable physical infrastructure to support these software layers and the features and applications that sit atop them. The rise in virtualization has been driving an accompanying demand for converged infrastructure: products that combine processing, storage and networking into a robust and scalable unit that can support and respond to the options inherent in virtualization.

While the migration from separate server, storage and networking products to converged infrastructure is still in its early stages, the Techaisle SMB & midmarket converged infrastructure survey and corresponding Techaisle SMB & midmarket virtualization adoption trends survey shows that it is beginning to gain traction, especially within more sophisticated accounts. Data shows that 10% of small businesses and 27% of midmarket businesses (weighted data) are planning to adopt converged infrastructure. Current midmarket adoption rates for converged infrastructure are below findings for VDI but differences readily become apparent when analyzing the data from the lens of Techaisle’s segmentation by IT sophistication. Converged infrastructure adoption rises steadily with increased buyer sophistication in both the small and midmarket segments. As the market matures, we expect to see accelerated adoption of converged infrastructure across the SMB market.

What is driving converged infrastructure adoption?

While there are technical advantages that make converged infrastructure products more effective virtualization hosts than traditional servers, Techaisle’s research shows that SMB buyers adopt converged infrastructure for one or more of five primary reasons:

  1. to benefit from converged infrastructure’s integrated design and efficiency,
  2. to tap into its ability to enable centralization/management of resources,
  3. to capitalize on performance/time-to-benefit advantages,
  4. to improve IT agility and its ability to meet business needs, and
  5. in response to core requirements for cost savings and improved security.

Drilling down into the data Techaisle finds that core requirements inform many converged infrastructure strategies, and the benefits and efficiency of integrated solutions are also frequently cited as a driver of converged infrastructure adoption.

Two of the top six answers provided in response to the question on converged infrastructure adoption drivers concerned time to benefit; centralization and management issues. And although agility/the ability to meet business needs is the key reason for adopting cloud (including private clouds that are based on converged infrastructure), this is not currently a primary driver of converged infrastructure adoption.

To enhance the scope of comparisons Techaisle also studied data from a parallel question regarding converged infrastructure adoption that was posed to channel respondents in Techaisle’s SMB channel trends survey. This list provides yet another perspective, reflecting the situations in which the channel is drawn into converged infrastructure decisions. Big Data – which requires a relatively wide range of competencies – is the project type that will most commonly require the channel to deploy converged infrastructure systems, and SharePoint projects, which also demand a broad skill set, are the third most common project cited as a converged infrastructure adoption driver. The channel, like its buy-side SMB customers, also recognizes that data center consolidation, virtualization applications and data migration can drive demand for converged infrastructure.

Converged infrastructure selection criteria and implementation challenges

In many ways, the key market issue surrounding converged infrastructure isn’t vendor-vs.-vendor competition, but rather, the ability of converged infrastructure as a system class to gain share quickly vs. traditional server products, while not being obviated by the cloud before attaining mass market penetration. However, suppliers are competing for share in this growth category, and understanding what buyers are looking for – and what they struggle with when they adopt converged infrastructure – is important to positioning a brand as a credible solution.

The data shows that for the most part, small and midmarket firms have similar ideas concerning important attributes of a converged infrastructure supplier. Both view vendor brand/reputation, measurable system attributes (storage, memory, processing power and network bandwidth) and service/support as key issues. Midmarket firms also emphasize implementation speed as a key criterion, and are somewhat more likely (than small businesses) to focus on the ability of the new system to integrate with existing infrastructure assets.

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NComputing launches oneSpace public beta

NComputing-logoSanta Clara, CA-based virtualization provider NComputing has launched the public beta of its NComputing oneSpace workspace-as-a-service (WaaS) solution. The move cements the organization’s transformation from a hardware company to a cloud service-based software vendor.

Initially announced in February, oneSpace is built on NComputing’s vSpace virtualization platform and allows users to securely access applications and files through a unified workspace from whichever device they prefer, including iPads and Android tablets. Meanwhile the IT group has complete control over the workspace environment.

Unlike other desktop virtualization vendors, including Citrix and VMware, NComputing uses a Server Based Computing model rather than VDI – a difference that Dave Burton, NComputing’s Vice President of Global Marketing, says makes it better suited to SMBs. “VDI certainly has its applicability, especially for enterprises. But in the SMB a server-based approach is going to fit their needs better.”

To start with, adds Burton, the server based approach is simpler than VDI, and requires less storage and fewer licenses which reduces overall costs. Additionally the big VDI vendors have been focussed on the large enterprise market leaving the SMB space underserved. This has created an opportunity for NComputing, which is entirely focussed on the channel. Indeed, later this year the company will launch a more formal partner program, but Burton says the company is being strategic in the way it will do that.

“We aren’t looking to get to 1000 service providers in the next year, he said. “Instead we want to select service providers that expand our reach into markets or where they have specific expertise.”

This announcement builds on last week’s news that NComputing is making its first foray into the desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) market. The DaaS solution – which, like oneSpace, is built on vSpace – is designed to simply and inexpensively enable service providers to rapidly deploy hosted desktops as a service to SMBs.

According to NComputing desktop virtualization is becoming increasingly important for SMBs who are looking for more efficient delivery and management of the corporate desktop. DaaS eliminates the need for the IT department to build and manage a desktop virtualization infrastructure, while enabling provisioning, scaling and management of end user desktops. Like oneSpace, the DaaS offering takes a server-based computing approach.

NComputing also announced that So-net Corporation, a member of the Sony Group, is the first NComputing partner to offer desktop virtualization based on its vSpace platform. So-net’s new DaaS offering for the Japanese market, called Virtual Desktop Service, is already live.

The NComputing oneSpace beta program is open to a limited number of participants in the US and Canada; with general availability of the platform expected by the end of June. To learn more and to sign up for the beta, visit



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IBM Introduces X6 Servers Optimized for Analytics and Cloud

11854630243 057e369a4c qThis morning, IBM announced the debut of its sixth-generation enterprise X-Architecture for System x and PureSystems servers, designed to support analytics and cloud. I was able to discuss this news with Alex Yost, VP & Business Line Executive for IBM PureFlex, System x and BladeCenter, who filled me in on the updated system.

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Microsoft Free Public Event: Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center Jump Start

Microsoft LogoMicrosoft recently announced that they will be hosting a free training event for the public to learn more about Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center Jump Start. This event will be hosted by the company’s IT Pro Evangelism Team, in association with the Microsoft Learning (LEX) and Virtual Academy, and will be presented by Symon Perriman, Senior Technical Evangelist, Microsoft and Corey Hynes, President, holSystems.

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VMware Acquires DaaS Provider Desktone

VMware logo blk RGB 72dpiVMware announced today at VMworld2013 Europe that it has acquired Desktone, a provider of desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) with an advanced multi-tenant desktop virtualization platform for delivering Windows desktops and applications as a cloud service.

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Kaseya Traverse Launched for Advanced SaaS-Based Biz Service for Various Environments

Kaseya logoKaseya earlier this week announced the general availability of Kaseya Traverse, a solution that is now delivered as SaaS, and provides enterprise-class network performance monitoring, business service management (BSM) and predictive analytics for cloud, on-premise, hybrid, virtualized and distributed environments. The new offering provides a strong complement to Kaseya’s award-winning systems management suite of products, enabling proactive management and monitoring of the entire IT infrastructure.

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EMC, VMware Link Up on Software-Designed Storage Offerings

VMware logo blk RGB 72dpiEMC Corporation and VMware announced at this week’s VMworld event that they have joined together on a major investment and are continually focused on rapid advancement of software-defined storage architectures and emerging models for the way applications consume storage in virtualized environments.

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Guest Blog: Avoiding the Darker Context behind the Phrase "End of Life"

Laura-Shafer  headshot -100x100By Laura Shafer, Director of Product Marketing, StorageCraft

There are few terms that stop people cold quite as much as the phrase End of Life. No matter what the context, the subject is very ominous. Even in most discussions that I have about software end of life here at StorageCraft, the subject brings on some squeamishness and a lot of squirming. We even give it an acronym—E.O.L.—to make sure we don’t have to think about its darker context.

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Toshiba to Introduce Virtualization Offerings in Late 2013

Toshiba logoEarlier this week, the digital products division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. announced plans to add Toshiba Virtual Desktop Services to their offerings in Q4 2013.  At the time of this announcement, the service would allow small, medium and large organizations to quickly deploy virtual desktops to meet their mobile-worker, BYOD and budget needs.

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Infinity Man Series to Show Sixth Installment this June

infinitynetworksEarlier this week, Infinity Network Solutions announced the dates for their sixth installment of their Infinity Man Series. This installment, titled “Heroes, Villains and Virtualization,” will be held on Thursday, June 20 from 2-4 pm EDT at the AMSTAR Cinema 16 in Macon, GA, and will be followed by a special screening of the new Superman film.

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DataCore Premieres New Partner Program for North/South American Resellers

Data CoreDataCore today announced the release of their Premier Partner Program for the Americas. This new program has been designed specifically for resellers in Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America and the U.S. who are interested in entering or expanding their reach in the virtualization market.

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VMware Partner Exchange: Sales BYTES–Go Ahead and Get Bit!

Right now in Las Vegas at the annual VMware partner conference, there are pockets of “SMBisms”. On the surface, VMware plays best in the enterprise (picture windowless datacenters). However, the white elephant in the lecture hall has been: What’s the role of virtualization in SMB? It’s a fair question. 

(Pictured at right): Chris Waldo, Director of Channel Promotions and Launches, VMware

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Dell SecureWorks Combats Security Vulnerabilities with Add-on Cloud Solutions

Dell SecureWorks is now offering a new Vulnerability Management Service (VMS) and a new Web Application Scanning (WAS) Service for the Cloud. These add-on Cloud security solutions are currently available for purchase by customers of Dell Public Cloud, Dell Cloud Dedicated Service and customers of VMware vCenter 5.0 environments.

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