SMBs Are Reaping Benefits Of Server Virtualisation, Says Aberdeen

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Reduced application deployment times and downtimes from virtualisation are trickling down to the SMB market

Server virtualisation addresses many of the IT challenges small and midsize businesses (SMBs) face, according to a study from Aberdeen Group.

SMBs with server virtualisation reduced the amount of time required to deploy a new application by 53 percent, and reduced applications downtime by 30 percent, the study found. Other benefits cited include a reduction in data centre space and overall IT spending, including for power and cooling.

Challenges solved

The report, “Solving the Unique Computing Challenges of Small and Mid-sized Businesses”, based on a survey of 137 enterprises last year, finds that IT departments face two major challenges – flat budgets so they “are being asked to do more with less”, and the need to store more data.

As an example, SMB respondents said the amount of data needed to be stored grew 32 percent from 2011 to 2012, on average. This translates into twice the number of storage devices, space in the data centre, and spending required every 2.5 years, said Aberdeen.

However, respondents said they spent only 12 percent of their IT budget on storage in 2012. Faced with these challenges, the report indicates that SMBs have solved these issues with server virtualisation, where a layer of virtualisation software sits between the server hardware and software. This allows for more applications to run on the server.

The hypervisor software enables the operating system and application to move between servers and/or allocate more computing and memory resources to it during times of high demand, said Aberdeen.

The report reveals that 58 percent of the SMBs’ applications are deployed on virtualised servers. But most of the deployments centre on Tier 2 or “light business or departmental applications”, which include payroll systems, employee expense reimbursement, and web. The primary benefit: More applications on fewer servers.

Virtualising Tier 1 applications continues to be a challenge for SMBs, said Aberdeen. The report indicates that SMBs have lagged behind in the deployment of their mission-critical enterprise applications on virtualised servers. These applications include customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP), which tend to gobble up an entire server’s capacity or require high uptimes.