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Transforming your business through virtualization
Making the Business Case for Virtualization Small to midsize businesses are increasingly using virtualization to reduce capital expenses, improve business continuity and make their operations more responsive. In this difficult economic environment, the IT budgets of small to midsize businesses remain under pressure. The target for payback on IT investments seems to get higher and higher. However, some IT investments offer substantial opportunities for cost reduction, productivity improvements and enhanced business continuity. This can especially be the case with virtualization. And it’s not simply a question of reduced expenses and resource requirements; virtualization can make your company more robust, agile and responsive to changing economic conditions and business opportunities. By utilizing technology properly, businesses can work to stay ahead of the competition and respond to the needs of their customers and partners. At the same time, the IT department can become more responsive to business needs and begin to be seen as an innovator and driving new business initiatives instead of simply assisting the existing operations. Why Virtualize? Virtualization does away with the inefficiency of the old “one server, one application” model, in which most servers are vastly underutilized. Virtualization enables one single server to function as multiple “virtual machines,” with each virtual machine able to operate in different environments, such as Windows, Linux or Apache. As a result, companies that have adopted virtualization have been able to consolidate multiple servers onto fewer physical devices, which helps reduce space, power and administrative requirements. However, virtualization also provides other benefits. It can help with business continuity and complete data protection so companies can achieve continuous application availability and automated disaster recovery across physical sites. With virtualization, businesses can simplify backup and recovery of data and systems and increase responsiveness through improved efficiency and flexibility. These benefits allow IT to become a department that helps drive innovation. Virtualization also helps with disaster recovery by letting businesses repurpose existing servers for disaster recovery rather than needing to buy duplicate servers for rapid recovery. Most larger enterprises have already embraced virtualization, and smaller businesses – those with fewer than 100 servers – are rapidly following suit. Analysts predict the adoption of virtualization among small and midsize businesses will double in the next 24 months; 34 percent have allocated budget and plan to deploy virtualization within a year, and another 17 percent plan to deploy virtualization but don’t have budget, according to a fall 2009 VMware survey of 309 senior business and IT managers at small and midsize companies. For businesses that have already virtualized, continued expansion is a priority, according to a 2009 Forrester® Research survey of enterprise organizations and small and midsize businesses in North America and Europe.3 Fifty-three percent of enterprises and 33 percent of smaller businesses are looking to expand or upgrade their implementation of x86 server virtualization. It’s easy to see why interest in virtualization is high.
By consolidating operations onto fewer servers, businesses can:
- Dramatically lower hardware costs and the associated cooling and space costs.
- Improve productivity across your organization and free up valuable IT time by simplifying your IT infrastructure, which leaves additional time to focus on more strategic initiatives.
- Reduce costly downtime and streamline business contingency planning so you know your data is secure in the event of a natural disaster or other calamity.
Here’s how your business can use virtualization to reduce costs and improve efficiencies: Reduce Costs Managing IT can be quite costly for some organizations, in time and resources. By virtualizing your server infrastructure, you can help lessen your hardware and maintenance costs and lower your company’s energy bill.
The biggest benefit of virtualization is lower server infrastructure costs. With virtualization, you can consolidate excess server and desktop hardware, increasing utilization rates for x86 servers from 5 percent to 15 percent up to 60 percent to 80 percent. With energy costs and global warming concerns rising, power consumption is another issue for many businesses. Virtualization can help lower energy costs and lessen a company’s CO2 emissions. Consolidate hardware. If your business currently uses one server per application, you can save on expensive floor space and help eliminate server sprawl by bringing together multiple applications onto a single server. This can reduce hardware and maintenance costs by as much as 50 percent. Increase Efficiency and Business Continuity In addition to cost savings, virtualization has other benefits, including improving staff productivity, business continuity and disaster recovery. It also enables your IT team to focus on more strategic projects that can help speed time to market for critical products or services your business is developing to remain competitive.
Improve productivity. Because IT employees won’t have to order and set up a new server for every new application, you will be able to get applications up and runner sooner. With fewer technical issues to manage, they can focus on strategic projects, such as improving customer service or developing new offerings. 73 percent of small to midsize businesses that have implemented virtualization reported seeing significant improvements on time spent on routine administrative tasks. Protect your business from downtime and disaster. Traditional business continuity solutions are expensive and complex to deploy, putting them out of reach for many smaller organizations. Virtualization helps companies achieve faster and easier backup and recovery of key application workloads and data. It also enables you to more cost-effectively switch to a secondary IT site and restore critical business operations.