What SMBs Need to Know About VMware Virtualization

9/3/12 12:00 PM Eva Jacob Virtualization

VirtualizationIn order to understand the ways in which VMware virtualization can assist a small or medium-sized company, it is important to first comprehend the various components that make up its flagship product, vCenter Server.

vCenter Server itself serves as a centralized management point for vSphere.  At the current time, vCenter Server runs on Windows and relies on technologies such as Microsoft SQL, IBM DB2 database, or Oracle.  Each vCenter Server installation will need at least one of these in place in order for configuration data to be properly stored. 

The issue of storage for SMBs

Running a virtualized environment requires more than the appropriate components of VMware in addition to the software and hardware needed to support them.  It also requires adequate storage.  This is an issue that SMBs, with their limited budgets, should keep in mind at all times.  According to industry experts, every time a business invests a dollar in VMware adoption, they will need to spend three to four times that amount provisioning the virtualized system with storage space.  These figures are over-simplified, of course, because no business large or small ever spends a single dollar on virtualization.  When the figures are scaled up for an initial purchase, however, the ratios remain true.  SMBs must expect to spend significant sums on storage if they are to implement virtualization without at the same time adopting an alternate way to accomplish it: managed services.

With a managed services model, the need for significant outlays for storage is allayed because providing that storage becomes the responsibility of the managed services provider.  In many cases, SMBs find that virtualization coupled with managed services is far more affordable because instead of front-loading all costs and purchasing huge storage pools, the business can simply pay for whatever storage they actually use.  This type of modified subscription model is ideal for many SMBs.

Such a model does present challenges of its own, of course.  Virtualization will be more affordable, but the cost per month may be somewhat unpredictable, at least at first.  This can make it difficult to budget with absolute precision, but an IT company providing managed services should be able to help you estimate your usage quite accurately and should certainly provide ways for you to keep close track of it. 

Achieving virtualization through managed services instead of an in-house model also means that software and hardware support for it becomes the domain of the MSP, a circumstance that can free up in-house personnel for revenue-generating tasks.

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