What are virtualization’s benefits to SMBs?

What are virtualization’s benefits to SMBs?

Growth-minded companies are constantly looking for ways to enhance their operations and unlock cost savings. Digital technologies offer numerous ways to achieve these goals. One provides those advantages while saving office space and eliminating the need for investing in numerous expensive pieces of IT hardware — it’s a perfect fit for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Have you heard of virtualization?

What is virtualization?

Virtualization is the process of creating virtual machines or simulated versions of IT infrastructure such as servers, hard drives, networks, or operating systems. Existing hardware can be used to create multiple virtual machines that act independently and can run their own separate operating systems and applications. For example, a physical server can be divided into several virtual machines or virtual servers that use only a fraction of the CPU and storage of the physical server.

This allows SMBs to multiply data, desktops, servers, operating systems, and network functions on existing computer resources without having to invest in additional hardware. Virtual machines can also be hosted in the cloud, giving businesses access to scalable on-demand resources at a lower price point than purchasing new equipment.

At NetQuest, we offer both paths to virtualization: your existing in-house servers or the cloud.

What are the business benefits of virtualization?

Virtualization will allow your SMB to get immense value out of your current hardware or leverage the resources of the cloud to expand your IT capabilities beyond its physical limits.

Reduced hardware and software costs
Servers can be the most expensive items in your company’s yearly budget. And you don't just need one: you need several, as many applications require a dedicated server. This not only results in added expenses but underutilized resources, as those dedicated servers end up using only around 15% of their capacity.

Fortunately, virtualization gets rid of the need to purchase multiple servers. It can replace required physical servers with virtual machines. A single physical server can accommodate around 16 virtual servers, resulting in a significant reduction in hardware and software costs.

Energy savings
Physical servers are a further cost burden because of energy spending, since they require cooling fans, air conditioning, and server power. Replacing multiple energy-demanding pieces of hardware with virtual machines makes business sense, as it results in significant savings in energy. According to software company VMware, energy costs can be reduced by as much as 80%.

Space savings
Virtualization reduces the office space and server rooms needed to maintain servers and expand IT capabilities. This will free up desk space for more employees or other operations to support your growing business.

Better security
Malware is an ever-growing threat to business. For starters, a single malware or malicious program can infect an entire business network, destroy critical business data, and cripple operations. Virtualization can prevent this from happening by isolating your applications from one another. Malware that may infect any one of those applications will not spread to other parts of your system and network. In a virtual environment, an infected application is quarantined from the rest of your IT infrastructure, thereby isolating the damage you need to address.

Worry-free incompatibility
Isolating applications into virtual machines also solves incompatibility issues. When applications on dedicated operating systems are placed on virtual servers, any compatibility issues with other applications are eliminated.

For instance, some businesses still require older software for certain business functions. These are often incompatible with more modern operating systems. With virtualization, these essential-to-the-business older applications can have their own isolated virtual space with the precise amount of memory and disk access. This allows them to run on resources efficiently and on settings that don’t conflict with other applications.

Minimal to zero downtime
On average, IT downtime can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs and lost revenue. According to Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute. Your business operations and employees can be halted for minutes, hours, and even days due to unforeseen issues such as unscheduled maintenance or a cyberattack. Virtualization technology gives your business the capability to reduce IT downtime to almost nothing.

In the event of unavailable business-critical data and systems, virtual machines can be back up and running much quicker than physical devices. This is because snapshots or copies can be distributed to multiple backup locations and then be retrieved in minutes, while conventional recovery can take hours.

Virtualization also allows for fault tolerance and live migration. Both allow for virtual machines and computing resources to continue even as some resources such as servers are down. In short, they allow your employees to continue working on virtual machines even if workstations and servers go down for untoward reasons or for maintenance.

Agile disaster recovery
Virtualization makes disaster recovery much more agile. It gets rid of the need to replace, repair, or clean damaged or infected computers. Simply build a new virtual machine and quickly recover its data from your backup solution.

This is what makes live migration possible. Virtual machines are independent of any particular hardware. For disaster recovery, you don’t need the same servers off-site to facilitate a secondary recovery site. And as long as they exist in a virtual environment, it’s possible to access all of your essential software, files, and communications from anywhere within minutes. Unlike conventional data backup and recovery, these backup images of your data don’t need specific hardware specifications but can be restored to different hardware setups.

Agile and efficient IT staff
When a physical server is partitioned into several virtual machines, your IT staff can deploy, operate, and manage multiple operating systems at once from that one server. With fewer physical servers, your technicians or staff spend less time on maintenance issues and hardware management. Routine administration tasks such as installing software, distributing updates, and keeping tabs on network security can be reduced by as much as 20%. They can pour their attention onto IT projects that propel the business forward instead.

Virtualization allows your business to do more with less. If you want to discover how virtualization can meet your business-specific needs and targets, partner with us. At NetQuest, we specialize in IT plans for Baltimore companies. With us, you can leverage virtualization and other cutting-edge solutions at a price point that’s within your budget. Find out how today.

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