Virtualization can help save your company vast amounts of money and resources and allow you to operate more efficiently. The evolution to a virtualized environment began in large companies, but it has now spread and is operating in a variety of businesses of all shapes and sizes. How do you know if it is the right choice for your business?
Does Virtualization Fit the Size of Your Business?
Most industry experts will tell you that virtualization only makes sense from a cost perspective when you reach the five-to-seven server mark. Once you reach the ten-to-fifteen server mark, you can really see substantial savings in your IT investments by utilizing virtualized server architecture.
Evaluate Your Systems
Before you consider switching to a virtualized environment, you must analyze your existing infrastructure to determine if it is capable of supporting the system. Virtualization requires more bandwidth, especially if you also run a full virtualized desktop environment. You will also need the ability to efficiently transmit the added data that is required in this type of setup in order to make sure applications and files load quickly. Server infrastructure will need to be examined as well as it must be able to handle the additional load that a virtualized environment may bring. On top of that, you need to be sure you have the required storage capacity to handle the new environment. Most analysts recommend 30 to 40 GB of storage per user, depending on the requirements of their jobs.
The Pros and the Cons
Virtualization offers a much better range of flexibility to your users and company. Downtime is also reduced when there is a problem as you simply roll out a new virtual desktop to your employees when they run into trouble. Your energy costs will drop as you will not be required to run as many power-hungry desktops in your organization, opting instead for small, thin client systems designed to run the virtualized desktop. Future upgrades are also much easier as you won’t necessarily be required to purchase an entire line of new desktops when new software is released.
There are a few downsides to opting for a virtualized environment. The largest of these is that there is a much larger cost on the front end as you prepare your infrastructure to handle the additional server load and bandwidth required. There is often a learning curve for the IT staff as they adapt to service this new equipment and technology. Some applications do not operate well in this type of setup either, especially mobile-based applications and media-rich applications.
So, should you proceed with virtualizing your office? The answer really comes down to what the needs of your users and business are and what tools you need to complete your daily tasks. Before you migrate to this type of setup, research virtualization thoroughly and talk to your users to ensure that it can meet their needs effectively. Assess your budget and determine if the long term cost savings will be worth the large investment in the beginning before you jump into an upgrade of this magnitude. This will ensure that you utilize the technology to its fullest and guarantee that your business will be able to meet the demands of clients and customers.