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EMEA SMBs looking to more virtualisation, survey says

Survey of SMB-focused channel providers shows increased interest in virtualisation

Channel partners are predicting that SMBs will have a rapid rate of virtualisation within two years, says Edwards.
Channel partners are predicting that SMBs will have a rapid rate of virtualisation within two years, says Edwards.

Channel partners serving the SMB segment in EMEA are expecting to see a substantial increase in investment in virtualisation technologies by the sector.

According to new research carried out by Canalys, the solution provider channel expects to see twice as many SMBs become more than 80% virtualised, meaning having virtualised most business-critical applications, and shifting to an IT-as-a-Service and cloud computing model, by 2014.

The analyst company surveyed 350 channel partners serving the SMB sector across Europe, Middle East and Africa, on behalf of VMware, to find out about trends in virtualisation adoption among SMBs.

The survey found that of those SMBs that have adopted virtualisation, 48% have virtualised the basic IT infrastructure of their businesses. Over the next two years, however, 75% of SMBs are expected to expand their virtualisation programs to include business-critical applications and more. Channel partners predict that 38% of these companies will have more than 80% of their businesses virtualised, compared to 20% of companies today.

The survey respondents also said that while adoption of virtualisation is driven by cost reduction, cited as in top two reasons for adoption by 71% of respondents, other factors are coming into the equation. A desire to ensure business continuity and improve hardware utilization are also rated highly, as is business agility.

"SMBs are undoubtedly recognizing the many benefits virtualisation can deliver," said Alastair Edwards, principal analyst, Canalys. "It's a tough economic environment at the moment, however, and organisations are getting pulled in many different directions, with costs being scrutinized at every step. Virtualisation is being seen as a solution that delivers cost savings as well as broader business benefits; as a result, within two years, channel partners predict that SMBs are planning a rapid rate of virtualisation adoption, with the majority of SMBs realising the benefits heavily virtualised environments can deliver. Savvy organisations are those making the connection between IT investment and more holistic business priorities, and are virtualising today to gain competitive advantage."

Among the main barriers to adoption cited were upfront costs, virtualisation not being seen as a short term priority, and lack of understanding.

"Many tens of thousands of SMBs across EMEA have already embraced virtualisation and this research indicates this may just be the tip of the iceberg in terms of the depth and breadth of SMB adoption," said John Churchhouse, EMEA SMB director at VMware. "VMware has intensified its commitment to SMBs through its Real World Advantage initiative and offers products and bundles tailored to their specific needs. There's a tremendous opportunity here for channel partners to work collaboratively with VMware to drive awareness for SMBs and jointly assist them on their virtualisation journey and the move to cloud computing."