Virtualization is an old concept, but it’s a solution that appeals to many small- and medium-sized businesses. Essentially, virtualization solutions allow you to divide server resources (e.g., storage, processing power, memory) from a powerful machine and allocate them to less powerful computers on demand. However, before you take advantage of this technology, here are a few things you must consider.
1. What are the cost benefits of virtualizing?
The most common reason businesses virtualize is to save on expensive servers, backup power supplies, air conditioning, power, security devices, and other overhead costs involved in managing a traditional IT infrastructure.
With virtualization, equipment is hosted off-site and delivered via the internet. Your computers and networks continue to function normally; the only difference is they’re out of sight and managed by outsourced IT experts. Overall, this equals to less equipment, lower overheads such as maintenance costs, and fewer headaches.
2. Are systems compatible?
Certain workloads make terrible candidates for virtualization. These include legacy applications and unsupported operating systems. That’s why it’s important to clarify with your provider whether your applications and workloads are compatible with the virtualization solution. Some software and hardware platforms may require you to upgrade before virtualizing.
3. Can your network support virtualization?
Some virtualization solutions are heavily dependent on network reliability. For example, application and desktop virtualization need stable, high-speed connections to ensure seamless performance. If your network isn’t fast enough, you’ll have to talk to your internet service provider and request for higher bandwidth and network optimization services.
4. Is a full-scale migration right for your business?
Many believe that virtualizing is an either-or scenario, but this cannot be further from the truth. You can virtualize as much or as little of your IT infrastructure as you need. For instance, you can take an incremental approach when virtualizing databases, email servers, and operating systems. This way, you can see how the process works and resolve issues early before virtualizing other parts of your IT infrastructure.
5. Who will facilitate the implementation?
The most important consideration when virtualizing is deciding which provider will oversee the implementation process. There is a wide variety of skills, experience, and capabilities among virtualization providers, so make sure you choose carefully. As a general rule, make sure they have the staff, certifications, and a track record of success with virtualization projects. They should also make recommendations that align with your business goals, rather than push you towards virtualization solutions that don’t relate to your business at all.
And don’t forget about maintenance services. The best providers are the ones who proactively deal with virtualization issues and back up your systems to ensure your business is running optimally at all times.
Ready to make the switch to virtualization? Need more questions answered? Let’s talk.