Strong infrastructures give businesses strong IT backbones. Building better infrastructures takes time and commitments. Small- and medium-size businesses (SMBs) find that virtualization allows organizations to treat several servers as one source and that dramatically simplifies the IT environment.

Virtualization eliminates unnecessary hardware and maintenance costs. For example: Running 6 servers at 10 percent is not only inefficient for your hardware, but also wastes the time of those who have to manage those servers. SMBs are often low on staff, space and budget for IT. Virtualization helps reduce the number of servers, saving space, staff time, lower energy consumption and of course money.

But should you virtualize? Sure, virtualization has some real benefits. But what should you do for your business? Every decision is a big decision. You need to be certain of the payback. So before you commit, let's go through this checklist of virtualization benefits:

  • Reduce unnecessary hardware and maintenance costs
  • Change and scale the infrastructure to support your business needs, without ripping out and starting again
  • Reduce the risks of IT outages and data loss, and implement affordable business continuity strategies
  • Provide streamlined test and develop environments that are adaptable and configurable
  • Make better use of IT resources by reducing the time spent on routine IT administrative tasks, such as adding and managing new server workloads or adding new employees
  • Grow in your existing space and energy envelope

Overcoming obstacles
Success follows understanding attainable goals. You'll find virtualization succeeds when it's carefully deployed. Here's one problem to look out for: multiple under-utilized servers consume resources and space. Let's logically look at the number of steps that successful businesses use:

Key considerations:

  1. Work with the right partner — There is an ever-increasing array of vendors and partners in the IT space. Success in virtualization depends on your ability to use IT in unexpected ways.
  2. Research your options — Ask a lot of questions and don’t be satisfied with the first answer. You need to look to blogs, article, forums and user groups for the right solution for your business.
  3. Set expectations — Know what you want from virtualization before you start. Are you looking primarily for cost benefits or do you need to create disaster-recovery mechanisms?
  4. Agree on operational and financial goals — Your best virtualization strategy depends on your goals and specific demands of your environment. Virtualization requires a number of operational and financial changes, so be prepared to invest time, money and energy.

With the right server-consolidation strategies, you can offset power costs, save cooling dollars and increase data center real estate.