Software giant Sun Microsystems, based in Santa Clara, Calif., today announced that it has expanded its portfolio of small to medium-size business solutions with the introduction of two new virtualization solutions that combine Sun's x64 server and open storage products with VMware ESX and Microsoft Hyper-V software. Notably, Sun also plans to offer vigorous support and education to SMB customers who are still on the fence about virtualization.
"Coming into this market a little later than the other vendors, we have to find a unique space to differentiate," says Sun's senior director of Mid-Market Business David Simmons. "We don't have a lot of legacy design points, so we've optimized for density, expandability and the maximum memory support in all of our systems, as well as disk capacity."
Simmons says he knows Sun's offerings won't appeal to all midmarket companies, so they've decided to focus strongly on SMBs who use technologies like virtualization to grow their business. "We should be targeting people who use IT for a competitive advantage," he says. "We want to target people who use data to grow their business."
Sun's SMB initiative delivers solutions for Web services, database, email and virtualization deployments while helping reduce total cost and complexity. Sun's SMB solutions portfolio includes Windows Essential Business Server (EBS), Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 upgrade, MySQL database and Sun's secure web server solution.
Simmons says he understands virtualization is a big investment for a small business and that Sun is committed to helping potential customers quickly and explicitly understand how the technology can help improve their business. "When it comes to getting started, it has to be really concrete what the savings are," he says. "Around administration costs, the savings are pretty straightforward. You end up having a 3:1 expansion on server administration capacity. It's a simpler and more scalable infrastructure, so you see big cost reductions in administration costs."
A lot of the content Sun provides on their Web sites are tools to help with analysis and helping SMBs understand the value and get them into a position where they can try the software free of charge, Simmons says. "What we want to do is make it really risk-free to try it," he explains. "We're trying to make each step of the way easy and meaningful for the customer. There's an education involved, and there need to be incentives to get them involved."
The company says its overall commitment to open source software and industry-standard hardware makes it easier and more affordable for SMBs to access Sun's products. Customers can choose from a wide range of products and platforms like the Sun Fire x64 servers and Ultra-SPARC processor-based servers; multiple operating systems like Solaris 10, Windows and Linux; and databases like Sun's MySQL database.
"This is an area where Sun is absolutely committed to grow," Simmons says. "And this is definitely a sweet spot for us."