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Virtualization for the SMB (Yes we are Doing it Now!)

I had the privilege to attend and present at a Lenovo build event last week. (I love my job). The group was mostly SMB IT consultants. I decided to talk to the group of them about Hyper-V and Server 2012 R2. Some of the group had used and implemented Server 2012, some had not, and a few had never seen Server 2012 and were still deploying Server 2008 R2. As it often happens when you get a bunch of IT folks in the room, we had a lively discussion about the current state of technology and what the attendees were currently implementing. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the participants that were deploying 2012 and 2012 R2 were, for the most part, doing so in a virtualized environment. As we continued to chat, we started discussing how far SMB-specific IT has come. Only 18 months, or even a year ago, we wouldn’t have even considered implementing a virtualized environment in an SMB due to cost, implementation, and lack of understanding.

For those of you who don’t know, we IT folk have been virtualizing in the Enterprise for years now. Typically Enterprise would use VMware as their virtualization platform. But since the release of Server 2012, not only has Enterprise looked at Hyper-V differently, SMBs have also started looking at virtualization. So what is virtualization? Virtualization is the ablitity to use one server to host several other operating systems on that same server. Typically, the cost to do this was prohibitive at the SMB level, and most IT consultants felt the practise was not necessary in the SMB space. Along with this, the SMB had a difficult time understanding the benefits of running multiple operating systems on a single server. Personally, I won contracts based on the fact that I was not going to virtualize the environment. That was 3-4 years ago. The last project I completed prior to leaving my company was to replace an aging 2003 server and replace it with a newer model; and guess what I put in: Server 2012 (R2 was not available at the time). I did this because I knew that as the company grew, they could take advantage of the virtualization if they chose to do so. This was one of those contracts I won because I was not going to virtualize.

So why do we want to virtualize in the SMB space? There are several benefits, and here are just a few:

1. Cost savings – you can reduce the number of physical servers on-site, which reduces your equipment, operating, and maintance costs.

2. Easy out-of-the-box disaster recovery – because the servers are virtual and essentially just a file; it’s much easier to backup, move, migrate, and recover.

3. Testing and development – you can easily spin up a virtual machine for testing and troubleshooting issues without the cost associated with a physical machine. And when you’re done, you can just delete it!

As we march to the End of Support for Windows Server 2003, consider implementing Server 2012 R2 and taking of virtualiation that is included out of the box. If you would like to learn more about virtualization, I’ll be “Exploring Hyper-V” in the next Samurai Series webcast March 25, register here.

If you have questions, talk to your trusted IT professional about how your small business can benefit in the virtual environment.

Samurai Series

  1. 07/05/2015 at 12:42 am

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