Every partner knows about the great opportunity to sell virtualization technology and services. For a while, that meant one thing: working exclusively with VMware.

Times have changed.

Microsoft’s virtualization technology is more affordable and seen by many as technically comparable, and the company is gaining market share. Indeed, Microsoft Hyper-V continued its ascent in Q409, growing 215 percent year over year, according to the market research firm, IDC.

Nearly every VMware partner we talk to recognizes that Microsoft is a major player in virtualization and tells us they would like an opportunity to build a virtualization practice that includes both VMware and Microsoft. They recognize that having a dual practice allows them to become more trusted advisors to their customers. But they want a way to better understand the economic model.

To that end, Microsoft today is announcing a new virtualization partner profitability toolkit. The kit, available here on the Microsoft Partner Network, contains a profitability modeling tool that partners can use to see exactly how much adding a Microsoft practice can mean to their business. It’s basically an interactive spreadsheet, built with midsize business customers in mind, to help partners visualize the economic differences of doing project work around technology from one vendor versus being technology agnostic and building a virtualization practice that makes use of technology from multiple vendors.

What will you find when you use the tool? As much as we’d like to tell you otherwise, if you plug in the numbers to look at your work on a project by project basis, the numbers could favor VMware. But if you take a practice-level view and look at the numbers over the long term, the tool is likely to show partners making far more money with Microsoft. The logic here is pretty simple. Microsoft virtualization offerings are 3 to 5 times less expensive than VMware so partners can sell more of it, and there are some great follow-on project opportunities to add value for customers in security, integrated management, operating system and application upgrades, moving toward desktop virtualization and the cloud, and so forth.

The takeaway from all of this is pretty simple. If you’re just selling VMware today, then you are in the VMware business. If you want to be in the virtualization business, look at building a virtualization practice where you’re technology agnostic and offering more choice to customers. The new virtualization partner profitability tool can help you see the advantages in this approach. Download it today!  --David Greschler, Director Virtualization Strategy, Microsoft