What is different for small to medium businesses when it comes to virtualization? In the past, the first answer would have simply been “small to medium businesses don't use virtualization”, and for the most part, that'd be correct. But with decreasing costs and expanded capabilities, smaller businesses are looking to tap into the tool of the larger companies, but this poses a unique set of challenges and opportunities. As Claude Goudrealt explains, some of the differences come down to concentration: the benefits of virtualization are magnified for small businesses. With the lower maintenance expenses and ownership costs, virtualization acts as a stronger force in small businesses than larger ones. However, there are also challenges:
SMBs should also note that the built-in safety nets against bottlenecks available in enterprise environments are not as likely to be present in smaller environments. Storage disruptions and slowdowns in physical servers are isolated to a single server or a single application, but these scenarios become far more serious in a virtualized environment. Any single points of failure in a centralized SAN spread across the entire set of interconnected servers and potentially hundreds of virtual servers and thousands of desktops. SMBs must seek out virtualization platforms that deliver a safety net to avoid this problem.
Smaller businesses must also consider how to best use existing technology; Goudrealt explains that any virtualization solution that a company chooses should be able to make use of the equipment and systems already in place at the company. In this way, small businesses don't have to spend outrageous amounts to simply get their organization ready to go to a virtual solution. After all, the goal is simplification, not complexity.