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In the few years since it was founded, and the even fewer years since it was acquired by EMC, VMware has built the server virtualization software market pretty much from the ground up, and has been rewarded with a market share of well over 80 percent, and the top IPO since Google.
But once you reach those heights, there's only one direction to go. In VMware's case, the pressure is on as Microsoft gets set to release its Viridian server virtualization software, and Citrix flexes its server, application and desktop virtualization muscles with its XenSource acquisition.
Making sure that VMware stays on top and continues to grow sits squarely on the shoulders of Carl Eschenbach, who heads channel sales. That's a big task for a company that depended on the channel for 100 percent of its more than $700 million in sales in 2006.
To keep that growth chugging along, Eschenbach is looking at new ways to get channel partners to sell virtualization. For instance, he's pushing into the SMB space, with a fast start to getting SMB solution providers certified to sell VMware server virtualization, and letting them partner until they can handle the implementation on their own.
Just how deep into the small-business space VMware can go is unknown. But for a business looking to keep moving up, Eschenbach will have to keep looking downward—at the small-business market, and at the competition that would love to knock his company off the top.
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