Before you start purchasing any new hardware, consider virtualizing your IT infrastructure. Virtualization means to abstract the software from the hardware. Basically, as processors have increased in power and memory capacity, one physical server can now act as five virtual servers. Unlike before, where every time you have a new application you have to provide a new server, virtual servers can now run multiple operating systems and applications. This equates to less cost, flexible software redeployment and effective backups. Does this sound appealing to you? However before you start virtualizing your business, here are some things to consider.
Virtualization provides your company with plenty of cost-effective benefits. Probably the first and largest advantage virtualization brings is the fact that you won’t have to buy more hardware to supplement your company’s needs. Basically, by consolidating your physical servers, there won’t be a need to maintain and update unnecessary hardware in the workplace. This means less time and money is spent on maintaining and running your servers as well as spending too much time on desk side support.
With virtual machines, backing up your entire data center has never been easier. This is because these virtual machines have the ability to take up-to-date snapshots of your servers and simply redeploy them seamlessly to another device. Unlike physical servers, where you have to create backups of your server and current data, virtual backups essentially cut the waiting time for server reboots.
This also eliminates the worry of accidentally losing files. Should disaster strike your physical servers, you can easily migrate your virtual machines to another device and keep working as if the incident never really happened.
Additionally, opting for virtualization allows your company to have a higher degree of technological versatility because virtual machines have the added flexibility to run on different platforms, servers and hardware. Meaning you won’t be tied down by a single IT provider. What’s nice about virtual machines is that your company now has the freedom to upgrade hardware without long server downtimes and even have the ability to use thin clients in the workplace.
Finally, utilizing virtualization solutions puts your business in a good position to easily migrate to a prolific cloud environment.
Factors to consider
With seemingly no disadvantages to virtualization you’re probably getting ready to set-up some virtual machines. But before you start virtualizing your business, here are some things you should consider first:
- Initial costs to set up your network’s hardware and software still exist, so make sure you thoroughly check the services and devices that your company needs before moving forward.
- Note that virtualization is an effective solution when you start having 5-7 servers running in your workplace. Usually 10-15 servers is the optimal number when you’ll start seeing a return on your investment. If you have less servers than the ones suggested above, then it’s probably best to opt for a different IT solution.
- It’s important to consider your staff’s skills and experience with technology before switching over to virtualized systems. Do they need training? How can you help them transition quickly into the proposed infrastructure?
- Will your business have enough storage capacity? As a general rule, you should set aside 30-40 GB per user.
- Think about setting up failovers to ensure the security of your virtual system.
- Some applications are not usually compatible with virtualization such as mobile, media-rich and some security apps. So if your employees tend to use these types of software it would probably be best to deploy a smaller scale virtualization solution.
- Pay attention to the conditions of your software license. Installing some applications to several computers could lead to increased costs.
Overall, the increased flexibility and reduced cost that a virtualized system offers for your IT infrastructure is well worth the effort. While there are initial challenges to worry about when it comes to implementing virtual machines into the workplace, this is a step many small businesses consider to remedy their outdated IT ills. Contact us today to find out if virtualization solutions are for you.