If your small or medium size business (SMB) hasn’t invested in new servers for a while, you may be in for a hoppin-good surprise. Virtualization is a mature technology now, so your SMB has more options and flexibility when it comes to updating your infrastructure.
For example, virtualization can cut the number of servers you need down to just one or two. It is not uncommon to have up to 20 virtual server guests consolidated onto one physical server. This is how huge companies have been saving money for years through virtualization. Your SMB probably can’t take advantage of virtualization at that scale, but getting your footprint down to one or two servers can be a big improvement when it comes to an investment in hardware, long-term maintenance, redundancy and data recovery.
A main reason that virtualization is now a good option for SMBs is the technology has improved. In the past, partitioned servers (SmallBusinessServer or BackOfficeServer) didn’t create completely separate environments. Today’s virtualized servers have totally encapsulated environments. This means a software issue or security flaw on one “virtual server guest” doesn’t necessarily mean the other “virtual server guest” on the same physical server is affected. Plus, when you run several of your organization’s systems on a single server — or run your entire business on the same server as other businesses – you still get all the processing power, memory and storage you need because of advanced technologies.
The majority of SMBs today are choosing a combination of virtualized technology and cloud computing services for their IT solutions. Unless you’re working with a company that benefits from selling you extra hardware, you’ll likely go this way, too.
Here are three key virtualization questions to discuss with your IT pros:
1. How might virtualization save us money?
- Buy and maintain fewer servers
- Use less energy every day (green!)
- More easily replicate your entire infrastructure for backup redundancy and disaster recovery
2. Is it possible to use what we already own?
- Virtualize existing servers to extend their life
- Test new business ideas without investing in more hardware
3. What should we NOT put in the cloud and instead keep on our own virtualized servers?
- Services that don’t provide enough value for the monthly fees
- Customized applications that are unique to your business
- Any business application that isn’t Internet-ready
- Seriously sensitive data, either because security is essential to your business or because of regulations