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Virtualization Vendor Profile: VM6 Software

Welcome to the latest edition of the Virtualization Vendor Profile. Every once in a while I’ll talk with a smaller or lesser-known company, learn about their business, discuss some industry trends, and write up a recap.

Last week I covered the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference for our VAR-focused sister site, While at the show in Washington, D.C., I met with Eric Courville, founder and COO of VM6 Software, a Toronto-based vendor. The company has a history that’s as interesting as its product, VMex, which it calls an “all-in-one virtualization solution” for SMBs.

VM6 started six years ago as a virtualization-focused systems integrator that got 95% of its business from providing VMware services, Courville said. After a year, the company ran into challenges getting SMBs to implement virtualization, so it took its consulting revenue and invested the money in developing VMex. But when the first version flopped, VM6 sold off its consulting business, reinvented itself as an ISV and now sells version 2.0 of VMex, which includes a two-server cluster, a virtual SAN, VDI broker, integrated management console and more — all based on Hyper-V R2.

Naturally, one of the first questions I asked was, “Hyper-V? Why not VMware?”

“This was the customer request,” Courville told me. “[Virtualization] is not there for the midmarket or the remote office, branch office. These organizations are having a hard time getting around virtualization, the concept. They don’t care what’s under the hood.”

It’s rather ironic that a company that started out as a systems integrator, configuring best-of-breed solutions, now sells a product that eliminates much of that work. Or, on the flip side, you could say that VM6 is simply taking what it learned as a systems integrator and is putting it to use as an ISV. VM6’s approach is different than most third-party ISVs, which typically sell point products for management, security, backup, etc.

“There’s nobody who’s been looking at the problem from the top,” Courville said.

Many customers like to have choice when it comes to the different components of their virtual infrastructures, but Courville said that’s not what SMBs need — plus, they can’t afford the staff to maintain and support each individual component. (That’s another reason Courville said VM6 went with Hyper-V: because SMBs don’t want to train IT staffers on VMware, especially when they already know Windows.)

These points are clearly over-generalizations, because there are a lot of SMBs out there that use VMware. But there are also a lot of SMBs out there that haven’t virtualized at all, or are just starting out, and if a product like the VM6 VMex makes it easier for them to ramp up, it could carve out a niche for itself. VM6 already has more than 200 customers and 80 partners selling VMex worldwide, Courville said.

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