Five key questions you should ask before virtualising your customer's business for the first time

Ask your customers the right questions to scope out virtualisation opportunities.

Before kicking off a conversation with a customer, it is worth bearing in mind that nearly all end users are already aware of server virtualisation and many of its benefits. In most cases, they have already made a decision of whether or not server virtualisation is right for them.

However, many customers may not be aware of exactly how server virtualisation can make a difference in their organisation. They will be familiar with traditional benefits, including the potential to cut hardware, cooling and power costs. The partner has a much wider responsibility to customers, making them aware of the wider benefits of virtualisation.

These benefits can be communicated effectively once the partner has a better understand of the customer’s business and what they’re trying to achieve. Here are five key questions that you should be asking your customers before selling a server virtualisation solution.

1. Do you know how much storage and memory capacity you have left?

End users that are struggling with performance problems may not have assessed their servers properly. Look at your customer’s current capacity and memory to determine how much they have left and how server virtualisation can maximise this availability.

To build on this, you can offer your customers a server virtualisation management product that continues to report back on the capacity of the servers. This gives them improved visibility at all times so they can always get the best availability from their servers.

2. Is your current virtualisation product having performance problems?

Performance problems are frequently related to the size of the storage. A virtualisation product needs effective shared storage that is sized correctly. If the customer says that they are having issues, you can perform a capacity planning exercise immediately to ensure that the amount of compute power and the size of the storage are both correct, so that the server can perform to the same level as the physical server.

3. How many legacy applications are you using?

The vast majority of businesses – if they’re honest – will still have legacy applications running in their environment. These may not run on a modern operating system, or newer hardware, and your customer’s IT teams are probably reluctant to format them as they may still have an important use in in the business.

This offers a great opportunity to sell server virtualisation to customers. By virtualising the application; you can extend its life and maintain uptime.

4. Do you know what your current server uptime is?

Server virtualisation platforms all offer features that aren’t found on physical servers to enhance uptime. These include distributed resource scheduling, high availability and live migration. These enable VMs to be up and running more than those same servers that were running on physical hardware.

5. Do you want to make your first steps into moving to the cloud?

A lot of larger enterprises will already be using cloud services, but small to medium enterprises (SMEs) may be reluctant to take their first foray into the cloud, and they are more likely to do so in smaller steps. If you’re customers are considering server virtualisation, then they’re already considering the benefits of a private cloud. But you have to be ready to answer questions on how exactly this will work, and which cloud vendor, stack and virtual machine is right for that transition.

Takeaways

  • Asking your customers the right questions about their current servers, what they’re looking to achieve now and how they want virtualisation to be a part of their business in the future will help you to qualify the right sales opportunities.
  • Your questions need to scope out the performance, capacity and availability of current servers. Most importantly, you need to assess how your customers currently work and how they want to work in the future. Maximising their resources through server virtualisation will be their biggest objective as they look to do more with less.
  • Question how many legacy applications your customers are using and demonstrate how virtualisation can extend their lifecycle. Emphasise that server virtualisation will help them to do more with their business, with a lot less effort.

The Trusted Advisor Blueprint: A definitive guide to server virtualisation