By Joe Andrews, Group Manager, Product Marketing at VMware
In today’s economic environment, it’s no wonder why virtualization technology remains at the top of many IT priority project lists. Companies that have deployed virtualization solutions have reported cost savings of more than 50% of their infrastructure costs; 60-80% utilization for their x86 servers (up from 5-15% in non-virtualized environments); 85% improvement in recovery time in unplanned downtime; the ability to provision new applications in minutes instead of days or weeks.
So why are so many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) still sitting on the sidelines when it comes to virtualization? It could be a number of reasons. Virtualization may seem primarily suited to large datacenters. It may be perceived as too expensive or hard to manage. Whatever the reason, SMBs may be surprised to learn about the other benefits of virtualization that may not be so well known. Here are just a few:
1) You get time back in your day. What if you had more time to spend on supporting the business and less time doing mundane, repetitive tasks? Virtualization can help IT staff spend less time provisioning servers or applying patches so that more time can be spent enabling new business initiatives.
2) You can get disaster recovery without breaking the bank. By consolidating servers, IT staff can use the extra capacity to build a replication site without spending thousands of dollars in extra hardware.
3) Applications run better. 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. As a result, companies are forced to spend 70% of their IT budgets to manage existing applications and less than 30% is allocated to truly innovating for the business. This ratio is even more stifling for SMBs that have an IT staff or 1 or 2 people. Virtualization unlocks these applications’ ties to physical hardware to allow for improved uptime and SLAs, better flexibility and improved performance.
4) You can get better management. Spending time managing infrastructure gets even more cumbersome as it grows in size and complexity. Virtualization gives SMBs the ability to manage their infrastructure in a centralized way. Why is this good? Centralized IT management lets you view and operate your environment from a single pane of glass and automate resource intensive operations across disparate hardware, operating system and software application environments while reducing the chances of human error.
5) You can get more out of your hardware. Everybody in the pool! Because virtualization breaks the legacy “one application to one server” model, infrastructure resources can be pooled to get significantly higher resource utilization. SMBs get improved agility to accommodate increased business demands on IT without having to buy more hardware. SMBs can use hardware that’s been freed up through consolidation for activities that normally could not be accommodated due to lack of budget.
6) You can get 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.
7) You can secure your data better. Virtualization separates the OS and applications from the server hardware, shrinking the foot print and vulnerable attack area to lessen the threat from viruses and other security breaches.
8) You can get improved business continuity. Virtualization can help SMBs eliminate planned downtime and give them the ability recover quickly from unplanned outages, and have the ability to securely backup and migrate entire virtual environments with no service interruption.
9) You can save the Earth’s energy. Virtualization means fewer servers and fewer servers mean lower power and cooling costs and space requirements. Energy savings are estimated at $500 to $600 per server per year.
10) And yes, you can cut costs! Of course, you can cut capital costs through server consolidation, but more importantly you can cut the operational costs that come with just maintaining your business. Virtualization allows SMBs to get the power to energize their business while saving money—the time is now to get off the sidelines.