Virtualization in 2009: It’s All About the Channel.

Looking back, it’s amazing to witness the virtualization industry’s evolution. I think ‘08 will long be recognized as the year of the virtualization draft. Some entered the big leagues and took bold leaps, others overpromised, and even more under-delivered. In the end, who will win, who will tread water, and who will flat out lose? Looking forward, the idea of distributed desktops has quickly jockeyed to the top of IT to-do lists. Server virtualization hasn’t necessarily lost any product marketing cache, but it’s clear that easily deployed virtual desktops that are platform/OS/device agnostic are the answer to the 2009 question of “how do we reduce costs while increasing productivity?”.

Additionally, striving for simplicity should be a MBO for everyone. It’s clear the major players are still molding and shaping their value propositions. One area of marketing dilution is product/solution messaging. From the lab to the street, virtualization competitors need to stop one-upping each other and focus on the plain-English benefits audiences are hungry for. Lastly, it’s this blogger’s opinion that winning market share is largely dependent on the channel’s ability to succeed.

As marketers, I see our job as river tour guide operators for qualified reseller audiences. Hop aboard and enjoy the ride. Our vessel is state of the art, and if you deliver we’ll generously share the fruits. On the left is our demand generation center that customizes programs for your needs. On the right is our tailored blogosphere that creates your community of experts. At the next bend you’ll see our PR distillery, and we’ll ultimately conclude the tour at our marketing ROI factory. Tongue firmly in cheek here, but identifying, converting, and arming the right resellers with the right tools is a must for the 2009 virtualization battlefield.