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article imageHow virtualization changes the game for your SMB (Sponsored)

By Dell SMB     Apr 19, 2012 in Business
Your company’s IT infrastructure is critical to your overall business. That’s an obvious statement. But can you say for sure your small- or medium-sized business (SMB) is running at total efficiency?
This post is brought to you by Dell Canada. For more information on sponsored posts, please refer to this page.
What if there were ways to reduce hardware cost, maximize server yield, increase value and provide better system availability to your customers, all within your existing IT environment? What if you could actually reduce your physical server footprint and the complexity of your IT infrastructure while at the same time increasing efficiency and providing application redundancy? Well, there is, and it’s called server virtualization.
If it is still true that you spend 80% of your technology costs on maintenance and only 20% in strategic investment then virtualization can be a catalyst to improved efficiency and agility. We believe organizations should aim for reducing the percentage spent on maintenance from 80% to 50%.
Server Virtualization explained
Server virtualization refers to computers or servers that are simulated using software. Each virtual computer or server runs on its own partition on a physical server. Virtualization lets your business run multiple applications which are isolated from each other and they can be moved easily via shared storage from host to host. You can deploy new servers in literally minutes instead of hours. It is important to recognize that shared storage is a key component of a robust server virtualization solution.
At the end of the day, your IT team can significantly lower power and labour costs by ensuring technology is running with improved efficiency and providing the workplace with an agile IT infrastructure.
Server Virtualization has been widely adopted; recently IDC confirmed that more virtual machines were deployed than physical machines for the first time. In essence, the crossover point has been reached and SMBs can feel completely confident this is an IT technology platform they can adopt for the longer term.
The virtualization journey in the virtual era
You can think of Virtualization as a journey and the Virtual World as a destination. There are different paths and stops along the way, allowing business to move at a pace which meets their specific ROI and business requirements. The virtualization starting point is often server consolidation as it can provide significant OPEX reductions, significantly increase IT agility and provide redundancy within the IT infrastructure.
We currently recognize five stages, but also know the virtual landscape will continue to change over time. The Cloud and the access points to it is certainly a key and current conversation.
‌• Stage one: The Consolidation and High Availability- driven by a desire for IT efficiency.
‌• Stage two: Tier one applications- virtualizing business critical applications like Exchange, SQL and SharePoint.
‌• Stage three: Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery – creating an IT infrastructure in support of RTO and RPO objectives in the event of failure and as part of a disaster recovery plan.
‌• Stage four: Desktop Virtualization – Creating a secure, user centric desktop solution for any user and any device.
‌• Stage five: Cloud Computing – IT as a Service, enabled by a self-service environment that provides pooling, elasticity and automation on demand.
The "Virtual Era" was preceded by the Internet era, the PC era and Mainframe era before that. Solutions for this time include a combination of hardware, software and services. We work every day with many SMBs to introduce the efficiencies of Server Virtualization to enable scalable, high performance and cost-effective growth while reducing IT complexity.
How does this play out in the real world?
We recently worked with a customer who had grown over time and was running 20 servers. They wanted to become more efficient, so following consultation we provided a virtualization solution which met the customers' business requirements.
The consolidation phase reduced the number of physical servers in the environment and reduced the associated power, cooling and real estate costs associated with them.
3-2-1 hardware combinations are the most commonly sold Dell package for first-time virtualization in the mid-market. These solutions are flexible offering consisting of PowerEdge 12th generation servers, Force10 or Power Connect Switches and PowerVault, Equallogic or Compellent storage arrays. These designs complement virtualization software solutions available from both VMware and Microsoft that meet the needs of small and medium business.
As it turns out, this customer’s 20 servers were performing less efficiently than our eventual solution of just three. Three is an important number and should be the minimum physical server count within any virtualized environment. It is important to have redundancy within the physical environment to allow for server maintenance while still ensuring business uptime. We want to consolidate applications to fewer servers; however, we also need to ensure that we mitigate the risk of failure and any subsequent and damaging business downtime that may result.
Never been a better time to consider virtualization
When Dell set out to build its 12th generation server technology, improving virtualization performance was a key consideration during design.
A number of key improvements have been delivered including increased memory footprint of 768GB to provide for enormous virtual machine density, Sandy Bridge technology from Intel that delivers fantastic CPU application performance improvements and also Dell’s fail-safe virtualization technology which eliminates single point of failure by implementing duel internal Secure Digital (SD) modules to provide higher levels of availability in virtualized environments.
We can act as your trusted advisor to help understand your business issues and to craft a solution that meets both your business and budget requirements. A complete portfolio of Dell Virtualization Services are available that help to plan, deploy, secure and manage your virtualized environment.
So as your business grows, consider virtualization as a way to reduce complexity and get the job done faster with less disruption. You can spend less time worrying about downtime and technology, and instead focus on growing your business and meeting your strategic objectives.
This post is brought to you by Dell Canada. For more information on sponsored posts, please refer to this page.
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