by VMware and Trend Micro
According to Gartner, midsize businesses now account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. server sales. Unlike large enterprises, these organizations have fewer resources to support the deployment and maintenance of new servers in existing IT environments. With the goal of optimizing their entire IT infrastructure, midsize businesses are turning to virtualization. No longer limited to enterprises with big IT budgets, virtualization has proven to lower IT costs while improving IT agility. Yet as midsize organizations embrace virtualization, they must also be prepared to address specific IT risks, challenges and opportunities, such as manageability, protection against attacks, and unpatched vulnerability exploits in virtualized environments.
In this 2 part series, executives from VMware, the leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure solutions, and Trend Micro, the global cloud security leader, address how midsize businesses can overcome common IT management and security challenges associated with newly virtualized environments.
Brandon Sweeney is Vice President of U.S. Mid-Market and Small Business for VMware.
Dave Asprey is Vice President of Cloud Security at Trend Micro.
Q: How can midsize businesses benefit from virtualization?
A: Brandon Sweeney, VMware: IT is critical to most midsize businesses, yet it can be challenging to deploy and manage. Virtualization software helps simplify IT. We know security, virtualization and automation are among the top IT priorities for today’s midsize businesses. We also know virtualization technology—with the right integrated operations management and security solutions—is a highly effective way to meet IT efficiency and agility goals while reducing overall IT expenses. Virtualization and automation enable executives to focus less on IT management, maintenance, deployment, downtime and security issues, and more on growing their businesses.
Dave Asprey, Trend Micro: Midsize businesses really win with virtualization because virtualization provides portability for IT infrastructure. This new agility leads to higher business continuity and better disaster recovery, but it enables new types of security and better automation of all types of business processes. Virtualization also is the gateway to building a private cloud, which brings even more benefits of virtualization.
Q: What is the first question that arises when midsize businesses add virtualization and security to their environments?
A: Sweeney, VMware: Like with any business investment, everyone wants to know when they will see results. Fortunately with virtualization, cost savings is one of the first tangible results. Businesses don’t have to spend nearly as much on hardware when they operate virtual machines. However, because hardware costs may not be that steep for some midsize businesses, savings may be a secondary benefit to operational savings and more reliable systems. Both CapEx and OpEx savings increase as businesses virtualize more infrastructure and their business-critical applications.
A: Asprey, Trend Micro: Julie said it right. Every IT executive wants to show the CFO the bottom line. The truth is that virtualization means you don’t need to spend as much budget on hardware and servers because virtual machines are so much more efficient. The more you virtualize, the more you save. On top of that, virtualization can provide even more benefits when you add management layers to create a private cloud. Security for virtualization can also provide simplicity. By combining many different security features into a single product, and adding an agentless option, you can manage security for an astonishing number of virtual machines from a single pane of glass administrative console. Consolidating your virtualization security into a single place provides peace of mind and cost savings.
Q: What might prevent a midsize business from moving to a virtualized environment?
A: Asprey, Trend Micro: Some midsize businesses delay making the move to virtualization for fear they will need to deal with a higher level of complexity and more training. It turns out that the virtualization learning curve is not that steep, and the benefits of infrastructure consolidation lead to less complexity in many cases, not more. It is substantially easier to manage a virtual server than it is a physical server, not to mention the cost benefits of purchasing a service.
Sweeney, VMware: Like Dave, I talk to executives at midsize companies all the time and some still believe that virtualization will add complexity, expense, vulnerabilities or management burdens to their existing IT environments. In reality, virtualization and automation can help simplify IT infrastructure and management. It can maintain—and even improve—existing security positions. And virtualization has proven over and over to reduce IT costs. Once skeptical companies see what other businesses of similar size and in similar industries have done with virtualization, most of their reservations are removed.
Q: What are the real costs—initial and ongoing—of investing in virtualization? What are some of the hardware and software requirements?
A: Asprey, Trend Micro: The bottom line is that your existing infrastructure almost certainly will support virtualization using VMware vSphere®, so additional hardware may not be required. If you choose to perform a server consolidation as you are deploying virtualization, your savings in space and power in the data center, combined with management efficiency, can easily offset some of the hardware costs. You are definitely going to want a virtualization-aware agentless security solution like Trend Micro’s award-winning Deep Security. This goes far beyond typical security software for non-virtualized servers.
Sweeney, VMware: The right approach to virtualization is evolutionary, so you don’t have to rip and replace working infrastructure. We understand that midsize and small business companies don’t have the same resources as large enterprises, so we offer VMware vSphere with Operations Management™ and Trend Micro Deep Security to meet the needs of midsize businesses. Available in three editions, this joint solution gives you choice now and in the future. To preserve existing investments, it is designed so you can begin fully utilizing the infrastructure you have in place. You will typically find minimum requirements for a lightweight VMware virtualization infrastructure—which includes server, network and storage components, plus recommended software components—can be implemented on the hardware you already own. However, we do recommend you work with a local VMware partner—who can better understand your business needs—to provide specifics about the best matched virtualization solution for your organization.
Part 2 of this conversation at Trend Micro Security Blog.