The upcoming Microsoft System Center 2012 licensing changes are a good value for many customers, previous or new. For those already using a previous System Center suite or may have been using individual components of the system center family, the change simplifies licensing and also adds some additional products for little or no change in price. But the change got me thinking about the many organizations I know that only need the functionality of one or two of the components that are now be forced into one of the larger and potentially more costly System Center 2012 Suites.
With the introduction of the two new product suites, Microsoft’s goal is to envelope a company with it’s products to manage their private cloud, but could they be alienating their many smaller customers or future customers by reducing choices and decreasing purchasing flexibility? The individual System Center product offerings seemed like the perfect vector for Microsoft to pull organization up into the larger and more expensive suites of products. This is how I became a System Center Datacenter Suite customer, by first looking for a backup solution, SCDPM, then a monitoring solution SCOM, and then a Hyper-V management solution, SCVMM. By the time I got to the third individual product it was more cost effective to go with one of the suites.
As Hyper-V has proven its reliability and has matured, market share has grown, and with market share has come management and monitoring vendors that see potential profits by expanding their products from VMware based products to Hyper-V like Veeam or Quest, or vendors that have had offerings for physical servers and moved into the Hyper-V space like Altaro or vendors that sprung up, completely focusing on Hyper-V like 5Nine. You can also bet that with the release of Hyper-V 3.0 just around the corner, there are even more vendors and entrepreneurs taking notice of this maturing market opportunity.
What’s in it for the Vendors?
For many non-enterprise companies, who might just be looking for a Backup, Management, and/or Monitoring solution for their Hyper-V environment, looking at 3rd party vendor solutions could help save considerable money over the encompassing System Center 2012 offerings. Even for larger enterprises, having to jump into a full product suite where there could be other existing product overlap with other vendors, may be enough to at least open the door to looking at a 3rd party product.
More importantly for vendors, this could be a critical time to increase product marketing and get very aggressive with their pricing strategies to try to capture companies that might be feeling forced into the new Microsoft private cloud model. So bring on the competing product trade-in discounts, the free support/maintenance fees, and throw in a free t-shirt or two. There’s market share to be had!