Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) no longer debate whether virtualized infrastructures are worth the investment – it’s now the industry standard, as virtualization gives SMBs greater IT efficiency, simplified IT operations and increased uptime at a moderate cost. But there’s a problem: SMBs often lack the staff, budget and skills necessary to optimize performance in their virtual environment and reap all of the benefits possible from virtualization.
The question, then, is how can businesses to get the most out of their virtual environments without breaking the bank.
In a February 2014 Forrester Consulting thought leadership paper commissioned by VMware, Expand Your Infrastructure With Confidence And Control, Forrester evaluates how small and midsize companies manage virtualization today, to uncover where SMBs face challenges with growth in virtualization and how they can overcome these challenges and virtualize with more confidence and control.
After conducting in-depth surveys with 328 IT professionals, Forrester found that many SMBs could benefit from:
- Higher consolidation ratios;
- Simplified management tools;
- And clearer insight and control over capacity and performance
Below, we dive deeper into the survey insights and how SMBs can benefit from using advanced management tools in their IT environment..
SMBs Want More Value From Their Virtualization Investments
The survey found that SMBs are growing more dependent on virtual environments, though adaptation is slow for some. Survey respondents said 53 percent of their applications are virtualized. Thirty-two percent of respondents, however, said they have virtualized less than 40 percent of their application workloads.
Forrester found that, on average, many companies run 16 virtual machines per physical server, but 44 percent of respondents say they run six virtual machines or fewer per server. These companies could likely increase consolidation ratios for higher density, yielding them higher returns on virtualization investments. But higher consolidation ratios can also create performance and capacity management challenges for SMBs, so each SMB must make their own value judgment based on their business SLAs.
The survey also discovered that virtualized infrastructure growth is outpacing IT staff growth. In fact, 71 percent of respondents said they are actively growing their virtual infrastructures, but only 34 percent say they expect to be able to hire more staff.
All this added up to only 45 percent of respondents saying that they were very satisfied with their return on their virtualization investment. The other 55 percent said they were more or less satisfied. To increase satisfaction, and to meet the growing demands of IT, companies need to focus on acquiring more advanced virtualization management tools so employees can better manage environments with the same head count, saving valuable IT staff time and resources.