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Solution providers will become indispensable to their customers as virtualization technology spreads beyond servers into other parts of IT infrastrstructure.
That's the word from a panel of analysts who discussed trends and best practices for virtualizing servers, desktops, storage and the cloud at COMDEXvirtual, the online conference hosted by CRN parent company Everything Channel. The show takes place November 16 - 17, and sessions are available on-demand until May 17, 2011.
Panelists included Rob Enderle, principal analyst of the Enderle Group, and Marcia Kaufman, partner and COO of Hurwitz & Associates. The panel was moderated by Barb Goldworm, founder, president, and chief analyst at Focus.
Increasing customer adoption of virtualization technology should be a wake-up call to solution providers to become experts in the management of virtualized environments, Kaufman said.
"Many companies may have started with server virtualization, but when you need to bring together server virtualization, desktop virtualization, consider the storage, consider the application virtualization, there is a need to manage this environment," she said.
Enderle said that such virtualization technologies will become prevalent in the future, but that not every company will implement every technology. Those technologies that get implemented depend on what solution providers can accomplish, when they can accomplish it, and what they and their customers expect in terms of results.
"Do realize a lot of IT organizations are just coming up to speed on this technology," he said. "They know the buzz words. They don't know yet what they can do with it. Where a VAR can add the most value is educating the customer on what's possible. Use your experience from other engagements and translate them into the customer environment."
Solution providers who virtualize customers' servers also need to make sure they are able to take advantage of those customers' sudden increase demand for new storage technologies that can be optimized for virtualized server environments, Enderle said.
"It turns out that it's becoming very difficult to do one and not the other," he said. "And so the two seem to become closely interlinked."
As customers move beyond virtualized environments to adopt outsourced services and cloud computing, solution providers can provide a valuable service by helping them understand the risk, Enderle said.
IT managers need to be cautious during the crossover to a services or cloud environment, because if they cross over too much, their users may start to look at them as just another service provider instead of someone that that is integrated and intimate with the business process, he said.
Next: Protecting Customers From Themselves