If you run a small or medium-sized business or nonprofit, virtualization is more about flexibility, stability and scale than preserving your capital. Sure, virtualization may lower your capital expenditures on hardware but the real benefits are in your infrastructure and portability.
Here are three things you need to know:
First, once you’re virtualized, you can use simpler, faster tools for backup and recovery. Choose from an offsite virtualized server farm, a network attached storage (NAS) device or an older, non-specific piece of hardware you already have in your office — whatever works best for your organization. Then as you grow, your virtualized system grows easily with you. You can definitely start small and build as you go.
Second, virtualization lets you take your new initiative out for a test drive. Do you have what might be a great idea for a new business platform or initiative? Try it out! By creating a demo environment on a virtualized server instead of investing in a new system to run the application — or worse, not trying it at all because it’s cost prohibitive — you can see how the new initiative will work for you.
Finally, virtualization may be cheaper than you might think. Small or medium-sized entities can expect to economically consolidate four to six aging servers down to two new ones, giving you another three to five years of life from the same solution — no new software needed! For example, if you spent $50,000 on servers three to five years ago, today you could spend only half that to virtualize the same platforms … AND mitigate the risk associated with older servers at the same time. In larger environments, you can consolidate servers on nearly a ten to one ratio.
When should you NOT look at virtualization? If you’re running an application that has interfaces with physical devices like phone systems, security systems, key card readers and fax servers, virtualization won’t work because these applications are hardware specific.