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If you are a small business with under 10 servers, does it really make sense to jump into virtualization? For these organizations the benefits of virtualization may be less about server consolidation and more about portability, disaster recovery and centralized management.

If your servers go down, is your business still operating? Or can you recovery right away? Virtualization can help, according to solution providers who specialize in the technology.

And these small businesses with 10 or fewer servers are less likely to go with VMware, instead opting for Microsoft’s hypervisor. Small businesses looking to explore virtualization may very well start with Microsoft’s Hyper-V because it’s free and it might be considered “good enough.”

“Most of the smaller companies that I talk to are saying they are going with Microsoft’s Hyper-V because it’s free,” Rich Baldwin, president and CEO of San Diego-based solution provider Nth Generation Computing told Channel Insider. “Nothing is really free.”

Being “free” and “good enough” may not inspire great confidence. But if it’s the first foray into virtualization, it may be better than what is in place now.

Baldwin believes that VMware offers more of a complete package when it comes to disaster recovery and administration and management.

He recommends that customers look at the total cost of ownership. How much hardware do the end customers need to buy to accommodate each solution? Will they need to buy additional software to manage and tune it? How much will the total solution end up costing?

“We hear it all the time,” he said. “Some people say Microsoft is good enough.

“If somebody’s only got 10 servers in their data center today, Microsoft is going to do a good enough job. But if you go to someone who has 100 or 1,000 servers you may want to look at the other options.”

Is it a monstrous pain to migrate from one hypervisor to another if the business grows significantly? Baldwin says no. So for those dipping their feet into the pool of virtualization for the first time, Microsoft Hyper-V may indeed be the right compromise.

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