Virtualization Gives SMBs ControlBy Dave Sobel | Posted 2009-09-09 Email Print
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By virtualizing server environments, cost-conscious small customers can say no to constant hardware upgrades and hold onto functioning software longer.
I love speaking to user groups and admittedly I really enjoy working with
other solution providers and talking about what we all do. So when I get the
opportunity, I try to make these conversations constructive.
One of the big questions I hear all the time from customers is, “Is virtualization right for us? We’re small!”
With the changes in hypervisor pricing, the answer is a resounding YES. Virtualization is right for your customers, and here’s why.
In the standard client/server environment we’ve all been managing for the past decade (or more), our server systems have been tied to our hardware. That Exchange server? Tied to that hardware. Active Directory? Bound to its server. SharePoint? Stuck on that physical box.
Replacing physical hardware is difficult because of their ties to individual software. Migrations are not easy. At best you can use imaging technology, but it’s often slow and tedious to do that work. Imaging technology is not perfect, and there comes pain from that downtime.
A virtualized system, even a single one, is not bound to its hardware. It’s quite movable. Ready for new hardware? Just move it. Changes to the base hardware? No problem, you’re insulated. Migration from one piece of hardware to another is just a matter of moving files around.
This is my sales message when I talk to customers. Let me take this pain away and let’s never have it again. Every three years we come and ask you to replace hardware, only because it’s getting old. That involves pain and expense of moving software that works perfectly well. Sorry, but that’s the cost of doing business ... or was. Now, we take that pain away with a single conversion.
This benefit doesn’t come with a lot of overhead in a small environment. Even a single server or two can benefit from this flexibility, and there isn’t a lot of management overhead added when dealing with one or two virtualized systems. Now, you can maintain that software system for five or six years, but replace the hardware every three, and not incur a migration tax just for needing new hardware. The decision whether to change software systems moves from the IT department (or team) back to the business people, where it belongs.
If we’re positioning ourselves as the trusted adviser for our customers, isn’t giving them control over the pieces of their infrastructure the key to success? And thus, virtualization gives that control to the customer, and a customer of any size.
Dave Sobel is the founder and CEO of Evolve Technologies, a consulting firm that provides information technology (IT) and computer networking services to the small business, faith-based and nonprofit communities in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Evolve Technologies provides a wide array of services, including server installation, virus protection, network security, backup services and complete information technology outsourcing. The first Microsoft Small Business Specialist located in the Washington, D.C., area, Evolve Technologies is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.