There is no argument about it, virtualization is one of the many strategies that businesses and IT are now employing to give themselves an edge and to make things easier.
There are a number of reasons and justifications why enterprises are virtualizing their systems. It could be because businesses want to improve server use, or it could be to decrease the number of servers that they operate. It could be to improve security, availability and reduce downtime. It also could be to improve application and server management. Or it could be for backup purposes.
There are the obvious advantages of virtualization. These are the reasons why most businesses consider virtualization. But are enterprises actually aware of the hidden benefits that virtualization gives them?
1. You get the most out of your IT departments.
Instead of spending time doing routine and repetitive administrative work on your servers or developing applications for your use, you can free up your IT’s time to work on other things. But it is not only in the time you save that IT gets to improve. With virtualization, you get to help your IT department become more efficient.
2. You can better protect your IT assets when disaster strikes.
You may not realize it, but disasters can effectively cripple your business. Server crashes, technical problems, flood, fire and other natural disasters can make your data inaccessible to you and your employees. You also stand the chance of losing important business data if and when disaster strikes.
When disasters happen, you stand to lose money, get in trouble with regulators and suffer from bad reputation with your customers. You lose sales for the day, you pay employees for work they cannot do and your stock prices go down. These are just the direct and indirect costs that you incur when you suffer from a downtime. And do not make the mistake that it will not happen to you. Dunn and Bradstreet estimates that close to 6 out of every 10 Fortune 500 companies suffer from close to 100 minutes of downtime per week. This is normal even for the biggest companies with big IT departments. And while a disaster is much less likely to occur, you should still be prepared for it, seeing that you stand to lose a lot of money and goodwill if you are not.
Virtualization enables you to make sure that your data is available and safe. It allows you to ensure that you can have 24/7 access to your applications. It can also guarantee a shorter downtime even in the worst of disasters.
There might be inhibitors though. Some companies do not virtualize because they do not have the budget, others are stalemated because they have no idea which virtualization solutions to get. Still, others cannot see the return on investment virtualization could give to their businesses.
But to put things into perspective, enterprises should go beyond looking at virtualization as a way to improve consolidation and server utilization, but rather as a way to free up IT, and a great disaster recovery and business continuity tool. Looking at virtualization from this standpoint will help you convince stakeholders in your company about the ROI of virtualization and maybe be more lax with the budget.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Warner.