VMware courting SMBs with vSphere updates

VMware aims to offer enterprise-grade business continuity and management for smaller IT teams.

Although much of the focus with the announcements made during the morning keynote session at VMworld 2012 on Monday was directed toward the enterprise set, VMware is also working on courting small to mid-size businesses.

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That's primarily being done through the update of VMware's flagship product: vSphere 5.1. It might not be a surprise that VMware is going after the SMB market right now. Citing a recent survey from IT management solutions provider Spiceworks, 77 percent of SMBs are planning to or already using virtualization software by the end of 2012.

Thus, the logical conclusion would be that VMware should tap this market before it's too late.

VMware's vice president and general manager of SMB Solutions, Russ Stockdale, explained in prepared remarks that the challenge that SMBs face is to "do it all with a small team of IT pros."

"The core demands on modern IT -- keeping business up and running, balancing IT supply with IT demand, and being able to respond quickly to business needs -- are the same regardless of the size of your business," said Stockdale.

VMware is trying to fill a void in a sense by offering enterprise-grade management options and optimizing the vSphere virtualization platform for smaller IT teams (and even single person IT departments).

The virtualization giant previously announced that vSphere could reduce IT operations costs by up to 30 percent -- which could really mean a whole lot more to a smaller business with a smaller budget than it might for an enterprise customer.

Pricing schemes were big news at VMworld on Monday morning -- mainly because VMare nixed the vRAM pricing structure. Moving forward and set to be available on September 11, vSphere 5.1 pricing starts at $83 per processor. Keep in mind that version 5.1 supports up to 64 virtual CPUs.

VMware's vSphere Essentials will be $495 with the Plus version jumping to $4,495. All VMware vSphere Essentials Kits include licensing for six CPUs on up to three hosts.

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