Impact of Virtualization on Costs, Security, and Applications VMware today announced the results of a compelling survey focused on operational efficiency, disaster preparedness, and use of virtualization among Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs). At a time when analysts have forecasted rapidly increasing adoption of virtualization solutions by SMBs, it’s interesting to dive into what’s really been driving that adoption. A fascinating take away from the survey is the focus on improving business continuity and disaster recovery. Most IT folks are aware of the server consolidation benefits from virtualization, but improving disaster preparedness is a somewhat “hidden” benefit, especially among SMBs.

High level summary of results

  1. Eye opening data about the risks and implications of IT systems downtime among SMBs. A large number of SMBs have had their bottom line impacted by downtime and yet, less than half of them have a business continuity plan.
    • One-third (33%) of SMBs have had an IT systems outage within the past two years 
    • More than one in five (21%) has lost critical business data as a result of an accident or disaster
    • Of those, more than three in five (62%) have lost sales or customers as a result.

  2. SMBs that have adopted virtualization have yielded great benefits, with those citing significant improvements in these key areas:
    • Time spent on routine IT administrative tasks (73%)
    • Application availability (71%)
    • Ability to respond to changing business needs (68%)
    • Backup and data protection (67%)   
    • Business continuity preparedness (67%)

  3. Picture 3 Companies that have implemented virtualization see their IT departments as more effective and more responsive to business needs.
    • 71% of companies that use virtualization rate their IT department as somewhat or very effective, versus 45% of companies that have not implemented virtualization.
    • 73% of companies that use virtualization rate their IT departments as somewhat or very responsive, versus 57% of companies that have not implemented virtualization.

  4. The top initiatives in 2010 are:
    •  Improving security (61%)
    •  Data backup & protection (52%)
    •  Maintaining current infrastructure (42%)
    •  Reducing energy use (39%)
    •  Business continuity & disaster recovery (39%)

Conclusions and next steps

It’s a great time to virtualize if you haven’t started already. Improved server utilization and consolidation are primary and already well known benefits of virtualization. However, virtualization can also improve operational efficiency by helping IT departments spend less time on routine administrative tasks, like server provisioning and maintenance. Another powerful, “hidden” benefit of virtualization is business continuity and disaster recovery. By making IT systems less likely to fail, and by making server restoration substantially faster, virtualization enables SMBs of all sizes to reduce the cost of downtime — in terms of lost productivity, lost sales or damaged reputation.  Given SMBs’ relatively limited disaster preparedness, virtualization can act as an important insurance policy.

Companies new to or considering virtualization should be aware of low-cost and easy solutions that will help them get started. For example, VMware’s market leading hypervisor, ESXi, along with VMware Go, let you easily start down the virtualization path for free. When you are ready to step into low-cost complete solutions, the VMware vSphere Essentials editions add central management and business continuity features. You can support your business case with a financial analysis from VMware’s free online ROI calculator. Learn more about VMware’s solutions for SMBs here.

You can read a complete report of the survey results here in our white paper The Benefits of Virtualization for Small and Medium Businesses: VMware SMB Survey Results.

Posted by Joe Andrews, Group Manager, VMware Product Marketing