Microsoft is throwing down the gauntlet against virtualization powerhouse VMware.
Cindy Bates, vice president of U.S. SMB and Distribution for Microsoft, kicked off the XChange Solution Provider conference Sunday night by proclaiming that the software giant offers better end-to-end virtualization systems management at a consistent 33 percent savings over rival VMware.
With Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Microsoft is "the strongest choice in the industry for virtualization," said Bates. "Not only are you leveraging a platform you know, integrated for your customers from the server room to the desktop, the total cost of ownership is dramatically different." She said Microsoft can "very confidently say that we are consistently one-third (less than VMware) or cheaper."
That does not even take into account that many customers already have Microsoft Software Assurance pacts which means they already own the licenses to deploy Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization offering, said Bates. That opens the door for Microsoft partners to "close the deal quicker and free up dollars to put to your services," said Bates.
The Microsoft throw-down comes with the software giant in the midst of a major recruiting campaign to double the number of partners that have Microsoft's virtualization competency from 200 to 400 over the next three months. The $62.4 billion software giant is also using its financial muscle to get more partners to challenge VMware, which weighs in at about $2.9 billion.
Bates offered partners an XChange Xcel pack to incent them to attain the Microsoft virtualization competency with e-learning and test vouchers worth as much as $2,000 for solution providers that complete Microsoft virtualization competency testing in April and $1,000 in offers for those that complete it by June.
If that isn't enough, Microsoft plans to roll out substantial customer services subsidies starting in April to help drive Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization demand. Partners can take advantage of the special Microsoft offers by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEXT: Bates Says VMware Comes Up Short On Virtualization Management Functionality