INTERVIEW: Scott Musson

by Scott Musson

October 14, 2007

Scott Musson is senior director, IBM GlobalBusiness Unit, at VMware. For more information,please visit www.vmware.com.

PDF download

Midmarket Strategies:
What are some of the
key business and technology
challenges faced
by midsize companies,
and how are those challenges
being addressed
by the VMware alliance
with IBM?

Scott Musson: A lot of
the challenges from a
business and technology perspective that are faced by
midsize companies aren’t necessarily different than the
challenges that are faced by enterprise companies. But
having come from some small companies myself, I think
the big difference is in the access and ability to leverage
resources. A lot of midsize companies have multiple
people wearing multiple hats, and they don’t have the
ability to dedicate resources to doing specific functions
or tasks.

From a technology perspective, key challenges
that we see with our customers are: continuing to do
more with fewer resources, and the administration
and management of these new technologies. Certainly
the introduction of new technologies is a challenge
for everyone, but it’s heightened in a midsize business
environment because of the resource-constrained
environment they’re in.


So, what we are trying to do in conjunction with
IBM, is bring more packaged solution offerings in the
areas that are relevant, like disaster recovery or high
availability or even just backup solutions. Those are
areas where a medium-size business can’t dedicate a
resource or put in a comprehensive disaster recovery
plan by itself.

IBM and VMware currently offer packaged disaster
recovery solutions. These solutions aren’t just leveraging
enterprise backup software, they’re actually solutions
that are built on virtualization technologies, and they
have some inherent benefits that aren’t necessarily in
an enterprise backup or disaster recovery solution – things like the ability
to utilize existing hardware or less hardware.

In a large enterprise what you sometimes see is an
off-site disaster recovery location where they’re replicating
all their infrastructure, and it’s fairly robust but it’s
also fairly complex to administer, and it’s expensive. The
disaster recovery solution that we’re rolling out with
IBM uses 90 percent fewer hardware enterprise disaster
recovery solutions with similar capabilities. Less hardware
means less storage, less power consumption, lower
costs; so it’s a much more cost-effective solution for a
midsize business.

The same holds true for the integrated backup space.
VMware has built consolidated backup into our Vi3
offering, and using IBM backup technologies, we’re able
to make it a more easily deployable, lower-cost solution,
optimized for the medium-size business.

So to summarize, we’re packaging the software
from VMware and the hardware from IBM into more
consumable and modular, more effective, lower-cost
type solutions that are more applicable to the midmarket
than something that has a lot of customization and
complexity.

MMS: Research has shown that evaluation, design
and procurement practices are different for midsize companies in that they place
a lot of value and trust in regional
partners. Is that something that
you’re also seeing, and how are
you addressing it?

SM: A lot of midsize companies have
people called on to do multiple tasks,
etc. We’re definitely seeing that resource
challenge as a trend. We’re addressing
it by enabling the IBM business partner
community to represent and sell VMware
solutions and, more importantly, to offer
service and support around VMware and
IBM solutions.

We have built a fairly comprehensive,
robust training package for IBM business
partners, where we actually provide training
resources and training credits so they
can attend VMware classes and receive
certification. That way, we’re able to take
the partner that a midmarket business
depends on today and provide them with
the education, guidance and information
that they need to be able to represent the
solutions mentioned earlier to their existing
customers.

We’re also driving programs through
IBM’s business partner community
around enablement and support. This
is something we’re working toward supporting
in the Americas, and it’s pretty
consistent with the model we’ve had in
the past in Europe. The channel model in
Europe is more mature. It’s the way business
has been done there in the IT space
for a long time, so we’ve actually been
able to leverage some of the best practices
that IBM has in Europe and bring
those to the Americas.

And then in Asia we’re seeing that
trend start to develop. We’re going into
countries like India, China and Korea,
and instead of putting resources in place
for end-user customers, the first place
we’re staffing and sourcing is the business
partner community so we can
address those support, training and
enablement needs on a massive scale
through the channel community. After
that, we put the enterprise sales and
technical resources in place.

MMS: What future challenges is
the IBM/VMware alliance working
to anticipate and solve for the
midmarket customer?

SM: We’re trying to make it simpler
for midmarket business customers to
obtain new technology, to assess it,
to obtain resources that can help them
use it – the testing and the deployment
and so on. And we are putting in place
things like evaluation. Right now, in
every server shipped from IBM, there
is a 90-day VMware evaluation that’s
included. The idea was that midsize
companies may not be aware of virtualization
or the benefits associated with
the technology. Here’s an opportunity
to test it at no cost, and if they’re
interested, we’ll provide resources to
deliver an assessment of how they
would potentially deploy it in their
environment. So we’re looking at those
types of opportunities.

We’ve also deployed a virtual resource
center in conjunction with IBM, where, if
a midmarket company wants a server to
show up with VMware preloaded and preconfigured,
they can work through their
business partner to order an evaluation unit
from IBM. They can test it for a window of
time, send it back or determine what their
utilization opportunities might be.

IBM has a considerable set of
resources in multiple call centers, most
notably in Toronto, where they support
their business partner community, and
we’re putting resources in place to
help support them. We’re continuing
to look at additional areas where we
can make the deployment, utilization
and leverage of our technology easier
and more consumable.

The last thing is to note that we’re
working with IBM not just from a server
perspective, but IBM the entire company,
including software and services. We’re
looking at how to package all the assets
of our companies – the VMware software,
the IBM software, IBM services and
IBM hardware service and storage technology
– to make it easier to determine
what the potential impact is in a midsize
business environment.

Share Button

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.