How does a business evaluate whether virtualization will benefit your company?


Virtualization is no longer an exotic term to most business, but neither has it been universally implemented, at least not by the majority of small business owners according to my informal survey at the Chamber of Commerce meeting yesterday. Ignoring marketing hype, what are the real world benefits that smaller businesses can expect to see with virtualization, and how difficult is implimentation?

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VMWare has an interesting PDF up on their site that covers the benefits of virtualization for small and medium businesses. Bear in mind that virtualization is their business, so of course they might want to encourage people to do it. But I think the PDF is worth reading anyway.

The Benefits of Virtualization for Small and Medium Businesses

"Small and medium businesses (SMBs) of all sizes are rapidly
adopting virtualization and achieving significant benefits in a
number of areas. That is a key finding from our survey of 309
senior business and IT managers at companies with 20 to
1,000 employees in the United States and Canada conducted
in November 2009. In particular, with virtualization SMBs are
reducing the time spent on routine IT administrative tasks, such
as adding and managing new server workloads, adding new
employees or developing and launching new applications; they
are also becoming more responsive to business needs.

Virtualization can also reduce the very real risks of IT outages
and data loss for SMBs. Many SMBs have lost critical business
data because of an accident, disaster or emergency; many of
those have lost sales or customers as a result. Virtualization
increases application availability and can dramatically shorten
disaster recovery time, so it can significantly improve SMBs’
business continuity preparedness.

Although many SMBs have already implemented virtualization,
budget and resources are sometimes impediments to rolling it
out more broadly within their organizations. Of those companies
that have not yet virtualized, lack of budget is the leading reason.
Still, interest among non-adopters is high, with five out of six
SMBs who have not adopted virtualization expressing interest in
virtualization. "

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What kind of virtualization are you looking at, would be my first question.  If you are talking server virtualization, which is what I suspect, the ROI is going to be rather quick.  There is upfront savings from hardware costs from decommissioning and eliminating servers, and payback can usually be expected to take less than a year.  One significant benefit is going to be increased server/computing resource efficiency.  This will result is decreased expense for energy and cooling.    


Georod Carfantan, who works at VMware, the company mentioned in jimlynch's post, helped come up with four methods of evaluating cost and performance of virtualization: 1. Activity based costing; 2. Tiered pricing; 3. Service cost vs. infrastructure costs; and 4. Weighting.   If you would like a description of each check out: [url] [/url]


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