VDI Takeaways from Savvy SMB Resellers

May 23, 2012 | Posted by Sam Chapman

By Lee Caswell, Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, Pivot3

Originally posted 5/3/12 on VMware’s  Blog (EUC)

Things that sound good on paper don’t always work in the field, and VDI resellers are quick to identify what’s going to fly and what’s going to die.  I’ve pulled together a few of the key lessons we’ve learned from the savviest resellers as we worked elbow to elbow delivering our new converged VDI stack to the SMB market.

High availability matters.  Smart resellers anticipate that the support call for a failed VDI system will be urgent and painful – no matter if there are 50 or 5,000 users affected.   Outside of the customer hit from an outage, the margin on an SMB install can be completely wiped out if the VDI system isn’t self-healing.

The HA Lesson – Experienced resellers told us upfront that high availability was a requirement across all of the VDI system elements including the servers, storage and network.

Performance planning is guesswork.  As the hedge fund ads say, “Past performance is no indication of future results”.  Even the most thorough upfront VDI planning is an estimation based on assumptions of user work patterns, supported applications and even endpoint device types.  The reality in the field is that users are not predictable, applications change over time and open access to the Internet can quickly convert an email user into a video user.

The Performance Lesson – Support-conscious resellers told us they would be more successful by reacting quickly to changing VDI needs than by tightly bounding end user activity to the limitations of a fixed system.

SMB becomes profitable when risk is stripped out.  The margin opportunity in SMB will never approach the custom 10,000 seat Enterprise install.  As a result, the profitability of the 250-1000 seat SMB deal relies on a repeatable selling and install cycle with less room for error.   We have received an earful on the value of reducing upfront configuration time, supporting dynamic scaling, minimizing training times, using Ethernet throughout and even standardizing on a single sku appliance for economizing on spares.

The Risk Lesson – Twice-bitten resellers challenged us to make the SMB space profitable with a seamlessly scalable solution that could be quickly configured, installed, reconfigured and maintained. 

At Pivot3, we’ve taken our reseller schooling to heart and have built an appliance-based system especially designed for the SMB user and reseller. Our VDI appliances offer self-healing for server, storage and network resources to maximize uptime.  The scale-out storage is a full-featured 10GigE SAN with hybrid SSD and HDD resources delivering load-balanced block storage performance; and the converged appliance delivers both server and shared storage resources in a single sku that is intuitive to learn, easy to configure and self-healing in the field.

We aim to make VDI successful and profitable across the SMB market.  Try a test drive online today to see what happens when companies listen.

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