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9 Compelling Reasons for Small Business to Virtualize

10 Aug 2016 by Grant Fjermedal

There was a time when each business IT application was on its own dedicated server — maybe even with its own name: Gandalf for e-mail, Borg for the file server and Cagney for the data warehouse. But, as data centers evolved, IT leaders realized some of their servers had resources to spare — and thus came the birth of virtualization. A virtualized platform enables businesses to share computational power, memory and storage more efficiently by configuring multiple virtual computers sitting on a common host platform.

Some users may confuse virtualization with cloud computing, but they’re not entirely the same. Virtualization is the creation of a virtual resource such as a server, desktop, operating system, file, storage space, or network to help businesses manage and scale workloads. Cloud computing is the sharing of resources, software, applications and data as a service. Together, the two can be used to provide even greater advantages.

Data virtualization is not exclusive to the enterprise.

While virtualization was first embraced by enterprise operations, it soon became clear that the same value proposition held substantial benefits for Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs). Cyberattacks and natural disasters can hit businesses of all sizes. For SMBs, backing up a virtualized infrastructure can be a more viable option to backing up hardware servers. 

Bar chart showing the importance of IT solutions/services to current and future business practices
Figure 1
 

According to Figure 1 showing statistics from the 2017 State of IT report by Spiceworks, security remains the number one concern for IT pros. With more data being transmitted, stored and targeted than ever before, it makes sense that your business is focusing on network virtualization, software, hardware and devices. In fact, of the respondents shown above, 62% selected that investing in virtualization is currently important and 66% selected that it will be very to extremely important in the future.

Here’s why you should virtualize now.

From network virtualization to data virtualization, implementing a virtualized platform will help you simplify your IT and provide employees anytime, anywhere, any-device-access to resources. Yes, there may be some initial costs involved with moving your organization toward virtualization, and yes, IT solution budgets tend to be tight these days, but the case you can present to top management is too compelling to ignore.

Virtualization is particularly valuable to SMBs because it lowers costs for hardware, and reduces systems administration and maintenance costs because fewer servers are in operation.

Additional benefits include:

  1. Increased agility for the business
  2. Better resource deployment
  3. Greater operational efficiency
  4. Enhanced security
  5. Higher availability
  6. Stronger disaster recovery
  7. Improved quality of service
  8. Reduced energy consumption
  9. Preparation for the cloud

Create a plan.

As you make the move toward a virtualized platform, it’s important to do so with a strategy that covers frontend planning, deployment and ongoing resource management. For best results, your journey should include:

  • Conveying the value of virtualization to stakeholders to ensure strong support
  • Creating a cross-functional business IT team to ensure needs are met
  • Working with an experienced partner — who is IT technology vendor agnostic
  • Investing in frontend planning
  • Designing your virtualized environment
  • Planning your deployment

Avoid the do-it-yourself pitfalls.

Along the way there are pitfalls to avoid, including the problems that can come from trying to do this on your own. Deploying a virtualized IT technology infrastructure can be complex. According to VMware’s ebook, 4 Criteria When Selecting a Virtualization Platform, selecting a virtualization platform is far from an “any will do” proposition, particularly given the evolving state of application deployment. When you start the process to virtualize, you should make sure your platform:

  • Supports all of your needed applications
  • Offers application performance, uptime and security
  • Provides simplified operations management
  • Extends your on-premise applications to public clouds

You can save a lot of wasted effort by finding an experienced partner to help guide the way.

Get on the path to virtualization.

Discover seven best practices for data center optimization and operational efficiency.

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