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Wed 22 Oct 2008 06:00 AM

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Virtualization - Good business sense

Reza Malekzadeh, VMware's product marketing and alliances director, offers his perspective on virtualization.

VMware is a brand synonymous with virtualization software for Intel-based computers.

By definition, virtualization involves a virtual version of anything – whether an operating system, server or storage device. It generally employs the use of software to give hardware the power and flexibility to run multiple operating systems and other applications at the same time, reducing resources and bringing down company costs.

But has this technology made an impact on businesses in the Middle East? Reza Malekzadeh, VMware's product marketing and alliances director, offers his perspective on the issue.

How important is virtualization for companies in this region?

I’d say the importance of virtualization for companies in the Middle East is equivalent to companies everywhere. The interesting thing about this region is that it’s fast growth - with companies taking the initiative to adopt the latest technology, as opposed to going through a long cycle. We’re very pleased and excited about the growth we have here. Can you comment on your recent partnership with Sun to offer virtualization solutions for SMBs in the region?

VMware today is carried by most hardware manufacturers like Dell, IBM and even Sun. If you look at virtualization generally, it’s not just a product you buy off the shelf; it’s a real architecture decision that you need to have multiple components.

We realised that Sun is probably stronger in this region than other regions, and it absolutely made sense to work with them. They have a very good grasp of the market and by trying to combine both solutions, we provide a complete package that’s a value add.

Are there other partnerships in the pipeline?

We have pretty much every hardware vendor as a partner, so there’s not much left! We recently announced a really strong partnership with Cisco that you’re going to start to see trickling in over the first quarter of 2009.

We’re embedding Cisco technology into our next generation software and Cisco is embedding our technology for a whole new line of switches called the Nexus 1000V. So you’re going to start seeing virtualization-enabled networking products.

What are the growth trends you’ve witnessed?

From an EMEA perspective, you can see a pattern of growth in general. VMware solutions were sold exclusively and directly through channel partners here. When we noticed there was growth and demand, we invested in opening an office and building a team so we had local resources to cater for this local market.

You’re going to see us invest more and more in building up our team here and building our channel partners that today constitute over 90% of our business in EMEA in general.

What difficulties, if any, are you currently facing?

Right now we’re facing the same challenges pretty much everywhere – the macro economic condition. Interestingly, yesterday we had a meeting with Dubai Police who expressed concerns about dealing with a growing force but also reducing costs. There is a perception that the Arab world has no cost concerns but the reality seems very different.

Today we have a technology that provides a return on investment in less than a year so it’s a very easy to justify the investment choice.

Financially, what was the past year like for the company?

We closed in 2007 with about 1.3 billion dollars in revenue, which was an 89% growth year-on-year. We have also announced our guidance for this year at 43 to 45% growth. There’s no company our size that’s growing at that level.

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