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8/28/2009
05:46 PM
Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul
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Top 10 (Hidden) Reasons SMBs Should Go Virtual

On the eve of the VMworld event in San Francisco, VMware virtualization guru Joe Andrews wonders why so many small and medium-sized businesses still sitting on the virtual sidelines. And he coughs up ten lesser-known ways virtualization can help even smaller companies

On the eve of the VMworld event in San Francisco, VMware virtualization guru Joe Andrews wonders why so many small and medium-sized businesses still sitting on the virtual sidelines. And he coughs up ten lesser-known ways virtualization can help even smaller companiesAccording to Andrews, virtualization's standard benefits are well understood by companies large and small:

  • Infrastructure cost savings of more than 50%
  • 60-80% utilization of x86 servers (up from 5-15% in non-virtualized environments)
  • 85% improvement in recovery time in unplanned downtime
  • Ability to provision apps in minutes instead of days.

But Andrews also cites ten other virtualization benefits for SMBs that may not be as widely talked about. I'm sharing them here (along with some commentary of my own):

  1. Time back in your day. Less time spent provisioning servers or applying patches means more time for everything else.
  2. Disaster recovery on a budget. Consolidating servers frees up capacity to build a replication site without buying new hardware.
  3. Applications run better. Andrews contends that "the conventional x86 computing model, with applications tied to physical servers, is too rigid and fragmented to efficiently support today's complex and dynamic applications." He claims taht "Virtualization unlocks these applications' ties to physical hardware to allow for improved uptime and SLAs, better flexibility, and improved performance." (Whew! Sounds good, but it all depends on how you measure it.)
  4. Better management. Managing infrastructure gets more cumbersome as it grows in size and complexity. Virtualization offers centralized IT management, Andrews says, "automating resource-intensive operations across disparate hardware, operating system and software application environments while reducing the chances of human error." (True enough, though SMBs by definition have smaller, less complex infrastructures. Of course, Andrew points out that they may very limited IT staffs as well.)
  5. More out of your hardware. Because virtualization breaks the legacy "one application to one server" model, infrastructure resources can be pooled to get significantly higher resource utilization.
  6. More life out of your applications. Separating the application and OS from the hardware and encapsulating into a virtual machine container enables you to run legacy applications longer on newer hardware and get extended life out of your previous IT investments.(That can be especially important to cash-strapped SMBs who may not have been able to afford upgrades to mission-critical software.)
  7. Better data security. By separating the OS and applications from the server hardware, you shrink the areas vulnerable to attack.
  8. Improved business continuity. Virtualization can help SMBs eliminate planned downtime, recover more quickly from unplanned outages, and securely back up and migrate entire virtual environments with no service interruption.
  9. Saving energy. Virtualization means fewer servers and fewer servers mean lower power and cooling costs. Energy savings are estimated at $500 to $600 per server per year.
  10. Cut costs! Of course, server consolidation cuts capital costs, but virtualization can also reduce operational costs.

VMworld will put the benefits of virtualization on display for companies of all sizes. And clearly, many SMBs are going virtual as fast as they can.

But not all.

So what's holding folks back? If you're keeping virtualization on the back burner, feel free to share your reasoning.

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