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Now that VMware has introduced vSphere, the next step is to introduce a number of discrete steps that will help bridge the gap between the traditional data center and the cloud, Jackson said. This includes introducing reference architectures, best practices and skill sets to partners in order to ensure they are ready to help customers move to the cloud.
"We'll work first with our larger partners, and then take the results to our other partners," he said. "This journey will take time. But we've got to get them going, and moving on the right path."
VMware has already started preparing its solution provider partners for the introduction of vSphere, said Carl Eschenbach, executive vice president of worldwide field operations at VMware.
The company has already put in place a sales and training program for vSphere to help solution providers prepare to sell and deploy the new technology and start getting ready for cloud computing, Eschenbach said.
It also has revamped its channel organization to split it into three geographies, each with its own general manager, and has eliminated the $5,400 it used to charge partners to gain access to the company's services capabilities.
Eschenbach also introduced VMware's new Partner Central, a new partner portal built on top of technology from Salesforce.com. Expected to be launched late this quarter, Partner Central includes such features as a partner locator and a variety of marketing material partners can use.
During the third quarter of this year, VMware also will launch a new partner portal specific to license renewals, which Eschenbach said has been a major challenge for partners.
VMware vSphere is expected to be available later this quarter in six editions.
VSphere 4 Essentials will be available to small businesses with a price of $995 for three physical dual-processor servers. VSphere 4 Essentials Plus, which adds high availability and data protection capabilities, is priced at $2,995 for three physical servers.
For the data center, vSphere 4 Standard includes thin provisioning and other advanced capabilities starting at $795 per processor. vSphere 4 Advanced adds VMotion VMware Fault Tolerance, VMware Data Recovery and VMware vShield Zones, and will be priced at $2,245 per processor. VSphere 4 Enterprise adds automated resource management, and is priced at $2,875 per processor. And vSphere 4 Enterprise Plus includes the company's new vNetwork Distributed Switch, built on Cisco technology, with a price of $3,495 per processor.