When you think of all the major technical trends discussed lately (e.g. cloud computing or mobile,) you may have noticed another one beginning to throw itself into the conversation, virtualization. While virtualization has been around for more than a decade, we're only just beginning to unleash its true potential.
Virtualization helps make technology solutions available in any size or scope, for SMB or enterprise businesses of any industry. Essentially, it removes the constraints of physical infrastructure and resources by offering remote services and computing power. That means instead of having to install things like a server or data center, a company could have access to their own server, hosted by an IT services provider. Many services are capable of being virtualized, like hardware platforms, operating systems, storage devices, or computer network resources. All of these allow companies to maximize IT resources without needing to invest in underlying hardware and infrastructure.
Even with the benefits associated with virtualization, there are still many businesses hesitant to embrace it as part of their IT infrastructure. For those still sitting on the fence, here are some of the top reasons to seriously consider making the transition.
1. Cost Savings
Going green and protecting the environment have been pretty popular trends over the last few years. If that’s something your company is looking to do, virtualization can help meet that goal due to its energy savings. However, virtualization won’t just help your company’s environmental focus.
Migrating physical servers over to virtual machines, and consolidating them into far fewer physical servers, means lowering monthly power bills, maintenance fees and data center office space. Money savings don’t stop there. Consider the cost of purchasing multiple Windows Server licenses, which would put you somewhere in the region of thousands of dollars. Now compare that cost with only having to purchase one license and then hosting the remaining servers without any additional cost.
2. Quicker Installations
It’s frustrating when you have to order equipment and wait days or even weeks for delivery and set up. Virtual devices avoid this hassle and allow for quick installations of things like new applications, router and switch software, and storage drives all thanks to virtualization management software. It’s as simple as copying an image, and significantly reduces setup time. Not to mention, virtualization replaces physical hardware with virtual hardware, allowing for more flexibility when it comes to vendors. Reduced hardware is a pretty handy bargaining chip when looking to avoid vendor lock-in.
3. Easy Scalability
One aspect of virtualization that should be of particular interest to SMBs is its scalability. Growing companies stress to meet the needs of more employees, applications, and networking demands. They are constantly looking for solutions that can grow with them. Virtualization allows businesses to easily create the additional resources required by many applications, such as adding more servers. All of this is done on-demand, when needed, and avoids unnecessary spending of time or money.
4. Improved Disaster Recovery
Virtualization offers organizations increased protection from unforeseen disasters, thanks to improved recovery solutions. A virtual server’s hardware abstraction capability removes its dependency on particular hardware or server models. That means a disaster recover site wouldn't need to keep identical hardware on hand to match the production environment. Also, because servers are consolidated down to fewer physical machines, it’s much more affordable to create a replication site.
5. Easier Cloud Migration
With all the talk about cloud computing, it’s no surprise that it found its way onto this list. More and more businesses are looking to move to the cloud, given its ever-growing list of benefits. It’s easier to migrate a collection of virtual environments to a cloud-based provider than trying to manage the same with physical hardware. The cloud will mature and technology around it will improve, meaning more and more companies will leave data centers for cloud hosting facilities. Organizations who prepare themselves now will have a head start, which in a fiercely competitive environment, can mean everything. For those that still fee like virtualization is a foreign language you should consider taking some virtualization training courses. These will answer lingering question you may have about the importance of virtual.