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Bundling System Center: Good or Bad?

Is the bundle a bad thing or a brilliant move?

As you probably know, Microsoft recently made the decision to bundle all of the System Center products together into one suite, effectively eliminating the a la carte option that had been previously enjoyed. Now, SC 2012 is available in Standard and Enterprise editions at prices of $1,323 per standard license or $3,607 per two sockets for the enterprise edition.

Personally, after much consideration, I realize that this bundling technique has a very high likelihood of working against Microsoft, particularly as the company attempts to gain additional traction in the hypervisor space. Hyper-V 3.0 promises to bring Hyper-V to a level at which many organizations will consider the Microsoft option over VMware. However, if the total cost of ownership doesn’t make sense or if there a major parts of the bundle that companies simply don’t want, I can see the bundle option backfiring. Just look at today’s trends, such as BYOD; people want choice, not lock-in.

I think about this particularly in the case of bundled components such as Data Protection Manager (DPM). Although DPM is a good backup tool, in some ways, it leaves a lot to be desired and there are better options out there for heavily virtualized environments. Will companies compare VMware and Microsoft and come to the conclusion that they don’t want to pay twice for the same capability (i.e. DPM and Veeam).
Of course, for the SMB space, which is where I see Microsoft enjoying the most success, the bundling might be an attractive all-inclusive option that includes the hypervisor, monitoring, backup/recovery, systems management and orchestration.

What do you think?  Is this a brilliant move by Microsoft to capitalize on the burgeoning SMB space or a strategic misstep that will create additional difficulty in their ongoing battle with VMware?

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My guess is that MS will use this bundle as another way to enterprise users to adopt a larger MS server base for their DC operations. If a datacenter agrees to buy X number of Windows server OS liscenses they may offer to throw in the bundle for free and then charge you an arm and leg for any support you need getting things up and running.

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That's possible... Although I personally believe that bundling the products will actually hurt the company in both the SMB and enterprise spaces, I suppose it could be used to entice larger clients, but I'm not sure how that changes from before... they could have just done the same thing with the separate products.


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