When choosing a virtualization vendor, you should be focused on more than just the product. The vendor you select should be able and willing to become a genuine, ongoing partner that will provide consistent direction, support, and innovation in helping you achieve your goals for virtualization.
The payoff for working with a company that’s in step with your IT vision will more than justify taking the time to evaluate various vendors’ long-term suitability. As you conduct this evaluation, consider the following five areas.
Education and Certification
Vendors should have training and certification programs for their employees so that they are always knowledgeable and up-to-date about virtualization technology . Look for vendors who are at partner level with leading virtualization software providers such as VMWare.
The virtualization vendor you chose should strongly emphasize customer support. This includes rapid technical support for end users, availability of online tools, documentation, coordination of licensing, and numerous other functions that help virtualization run smooth.
A telling indication about a vendor’s commitment to customer support is their delivery model. Do they directly install, upgrade, and provide customer support? Or do they use partners to provide the actual service? In general, favor vendors that provide their own service.
Use of Technology
Another clue about a virtualization vendor’s capability to become a beneficial partner is how well it acquires, integrates, and utilizes new technology. Is it a company that has consistently shown it stays current with new technology? Does it have a record of introducing new technology to customers in a way that results in greater productivity?
Quality vendors encourage and support online forums, and even events, for end users. A strong end-user community is a wonderful resource for learning from others successes—and mistakes. Of course, also pay attention to how the end-user community perceives the vendor.
This attribute (or lack of it) is difficult to quantify, but it’s very real. Look for virtualization vendors that have demonstrated a willingness and capability to be innovative and creative in looking for solutions to customer challenges. The best vendors are constantly looking for new ways to improve processes and utilize emerging technology. They welcome change and try to help their customers benefit from it.
You should be getting more than a product when you chose a virtualization vendor—you should be aligning with a strategic partner.