Customers that have older versions of Windows Server or Small Business Server are looking at upgrading, according to Microsoft.
[If your business is large enough to have its own server, you might be interested in this article below about changes to Microsoft's Small Business Server. We spotted it in the July 2013 edition of CRN magazine and decided to share it with you here.]
Microsoft has taken a knife to its server lineup for SMEs in recent years. Hot on the heels of ditching Small Business Server, it has simplified its lineup for Windows Server.
It now has two virtualised products, Windows Server Standard and Windows Server Data Center. The products are in fact identical; the only difference is the number of virtual machines permitted.
The Standard version allows just two virtual machines while the Data Center edition is unlimited.
“It’s much easier for partners and customers to understand,” says Mike Heald, SMB product manager for Windows Server 2012.
Virtualisation is still a strong growth area as the alternative to the incumbent, VMware.
“We’re seeing a lot of growth around virtualisation especially from customers that have older versions of Windows Server or Small Business Server that are looking at upgrading,” Heald says. “A lot of them have multiple apps on multiple servers so we’re seeing a lot of consolidation in the SMB space.”
While VMware talks about saturation for server virtualisation, Heald insists there’s a lot more growth left among smaller businesses. Many SMEs are yet to make the journey towards more efficient and simpler virtualised setups. This is partly driven by improvements to server hardware which has become much more dense and powerful, Heald says.
“It makes virtualisation much easier and makes more sense for SMBs”.
Why are partners choosing to back Microsoft over VMware?
Microsoft is making the most out of its established base of Windows Server users. HyperV is included right out of the box and Microsoft has added features and addressed issues such as scalability. Microsoft has been trying to close the gap with VMware so customers have no reason to go elsewhere for their virtualisation software.
“We’re on par if not better than VMware in terms of scalability or features for SMB or enterprise,” Heald claims.
Disaster recovery and backup is a strong selling point for SMEs. Windows Server 2012 can manage an account with Microsoft’s public cloud platform Azure and send backups from an on-premise server to the cloud. SMEs can shift virtual machines from Windows Server to Azure as well.
Microsoft is running IT camps and readiness programs around Windows 2012 which Heald says have been oversubscribed by partners and customers. Microsoft has held 31 camps for 824 customers this year and has seven camps for another 406 customers lined up for Q3.
“The demand for it we’re seeing through partners is phenomenal,” Heald says.