Virtualization for Small Businesses

November 26, 2010

What at first appeared to be a technology that was meant to be deployed only in large corporations, is starting to take hold in the realm of small businesses, although at a much lower rate. Virtualization appears to be a very attractive solution for small businesses, but many of them are put off by what they perceive to be high licensing costs, high investment in time, or the lack of technical know-how.

However, requirements for virtualization have changed a lot since the times of massive data centers and huge IT budgets. Today, virtual operating systems allow companies of any size to utilize the kind of hardware and software that was reserved for large enterprises not so long ago. Virtual servers can also be used to eliminate the costs of managing and upgrading legacy hardware by migrating older applications onto virtual machines running on newer and tested hardware. They can also consolidate much of the hardware onto a single physical server to decrease management complexity.

VMware, leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure, points out that  most computers today operate at a mere 10-15% of their total computing capacity, leaving vast IT resources untapped and unusable. Virtualization increases utilization to as much as 85% by running multiple operating systems on a single computer. According to their survey of 309 senior business and IT managers at companies with 20 to 1,000 employees in the United States and Canada, The Benefits of Virtualization for Small and Medium Businesses, by using virtualization these range of businesses are reducing the time spent on routine IT administrative tasks, such as adding and managing new server workloads, adding new employees or developing and launching new applications, and they are also becoming more responsive to business needs, while at the same time reducing the very real risks of IT outages and data loss.

“SMBs are adopting virtualization for a variety of reasons. The number one reason cited is to improve server utilization; 72% of SMBs chose virtualization for this reason. But that’s not the only benefit: 57% sought to reduce or contain the number of servers, 49% to improve security, 48% to improve availability and uptime, 47% to improve server and application management, and 47% to improve data backup and protection.”

As told by Joe Andrews, VMware’s  group manager of product marketing at the The Register, “What we have seen is that the smaller the company, the faster they will go 100% for virtualization. It takes smaller companies more time to adopt virtualization, but once they start, they go in for it in a big way.”  Going the “big way” was how he described the other complementary services that virtualization also offers SMBs, such as integrated backups, business continuity, high availability, reduced downtime and reduced data loss.

Although VMware’s solutions can be outside the technical capabilities and surpass the budget of many businesses, they are not the only option available in the market, not by far. In fact, the choice today can be so overwhelming, that you could end up spending more time finding and testing the right solution for your business than doing the actual final deployment. In any case, the bottom line is that virtualization is a very capable tool that will effectively lower costs and raise productivity while reducing risk for businesses of any size and bringing real, measurable value. For many small businesses virtualization is the kind of technology that they have always dreamed of, available today.

RackNine can help you find the right virtualization solution for your business, hosted on our own servers or the Cloud Computing network of your choice.


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