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Four barriers to virtualization adoption among small businesses

January 22, 2014 No Comments

By Mark Oliver, CEO and founder of Group Oliver

Server virtualization has increased along with businesses dependency on technology to be successful. Consider for a moment that at one time, computers were almost exclusively used in finance for accounting purposes. Today, computers are so prolific that their use is almost ubiquitous to the average user. The increase functions computers are able to perform for both individuals and businesses continues to grow. This growth is felt by businesses of every size as utilizing server virtualization has helped companies adapt to increasing financial and labor constraints.

Small and midsize businesses want the tools used by larger organizations to gain advantages over competitors. One way small to midsize business can gain a competitive advantage is by using technology platforms designed specifically for them. However, many smaller organizations have been hesitant to capitalize on virtualization’s many benefits. Here are a few reasons why:


  1. 1.       Resources

One issue many small and midsize companies face is a lack of resources and time to fully research and implement new technology options. Frequently, the IT department in a smaller organization is comprised of  a handful of people  tasked with everything from user support, system administration to network engineering, planning and all the services contained under their umbrella including voice, video, data communications and the policies that go along with this. This makes the task of learning about alternative or competing solutions just about impossible.

To combat stagnate knowledge and technology, it’s often beneficial to partner with an outside consulting firm or value-added reseller (VARs). By doing this, the consultancy organization can guide you through the process and help you develop tailored solutions to improve efficiencies and maximize outcomes. This synergy enables the business to maximize internal and external resources to meet organizational needs.


  1. 2.       Knowledge

Developing, implementing and maintaining a virtualization strategy can be challenging. Engaging an outside firm can help if the correct balance of support is struck without the need for daily operational support. Fortunately, many vendors have recognized the need for simplified maintenance of virtualized systems and have responded with solutions. For example, Microsoft and VMware have management consoles with free tools that enable an administrator to monitor and understand how the system is operating. More specialized functions such as back-up and system restore needs have offerings from the likes of Veeam and Unitrends that are user-friendly, scalable and work in the small business marketplace.


  1. 3.       Maintenance 

Many industry leaders have developed products aimed at small to mid-market companies. For example, VMWare and Microsoft have made free virtualization products available and Cisco has developed an off-the-shelf package that is pretested and supported to work in a virtual environment. Companies such as Veeam and Unitrends offer system restore and back-up solutions reducing the learning curve for time constrained IT departments.


  1. 4.       Finances

Having the knowledge and ability to utilize the best virtualization tools is not helpful if it isn’t affordable. Frequently, companies use a system or tool not because it is the right solution, but because they think it will fit their needs and appears affordable. In the long run, this approach frequently hurts productivity and increases costs over the long-term. For example having multiple servers that are inefficient increasing energy costs, IT support costs and provide poor user support but these costs are frequently hidden because that is how things have always operated and it is “good enough.” The industry has responded with a variety of leasing and financial options making it possible to pay for the hardware, software and installation labor over time. For example, Cisco Capital offers a lease program with payments that don’t start until 90 days after the project is completed.

Obviously there is no one size fits all, but a variety of affordable alternatives are available for SMB’s that are interested in server virtualization. Working with the right partners and vendors will ensure successful implementation of virtualization projects.




About The Author

For over 15 years Mark Oliver has owned and operated Group Oliver. Group Oliver is a technical support organization that focuses on managed services. As a service provider, Group Oliver provides a full spectrum of support including physical cable work, managed services, networking and virtualization.



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