The virtualization data that shows where the growth is

A Cisco-sponsored survey indicates the benefits of virtualization are being felt far beyond the enterprise, but small and medium-sized firms have some challenges all their own

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Virtualization — in all its forms — is pretty much a no-brainer for large organizations, but it’s been questionable for smaller ones. Is there

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a need to simplify your IT infrastructure if you don’t operate sprawling data centres?

According to a new study by The Blackstone Group for Cisco, 77 per cent of IT professionals in small and mid-sized organizations say they have some type of virtualization in place and 96 per cent say it’s providing them with a competitive advantage.

Even smaller firms are seeing the benefits of server virtualization. But they’re also virtualizing their desktops, networks, storage, remote app deployment, disaster recovery and mobile device management.

Virtualization expertIP

While cost cutting is a major driver for virtualization, cost of adoption is still the No. 1 issue holding back SMBs (only half of small firms say they have funds dedicated for virtualization). They’re also concerned about security, reliability and implementation effort.

Virtualization leadership issues

Also, only 62 per cent of small business leadership is comfortable with virtualization — that could explain why more SMBs haven’t adopted it or have only dipped their toes in the virtualization waters with server consolidation.

Upper management is often laser-focused on cost-cutting efforts, which is probably why server virtualization is still the most popular form of virtualization in the SMB space (70 per cent of medium firms realized 100 per cent or more of their expected cost savings, according to the survey).

But upper management may not fully understand other benefits, such as improving system scalability, business flexibility and business continuity. It can also serve as a middle ground between on-premise and the cloud — 75 per cent of survey respondents say they’d prefer moving mission-critical apps to a virtualized server on-premise than an off-premise cloud provider.

Obviously, saving money — including indirect savings through the reduction of energy and maintenance costs — makes an enticing argument for virtualization.

But as business leaders learn about the many other benefits of virtualization — and other forms of virtualization beyond servers — IT professionals are more likely to get dollars budgeted for it.

Learn more about virtualization by watching the on-demand Webinar: The Perfect Storm: Collaboration, Virtualization and Mobility, featuring Forrester Research.

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