Virtualisation growing in popularity among small businesses

Small businesses are moving steadily toward more virtualised computing infrastructures, a survey has revealed. Research conducted by CDW found that 25 per cent of such enterprises have virtualised at least some of their servers. Respondents said they had been attracted by the potential for greater efficiency, cost savings and flexibility to meet changing business demands.

The average percentage of servers virtualised at those businesses grew steadily from 28 per cent to 33 per cent between July 2010 and June 2011. Even among small businesses that have not yet implemented server virtualisation, 73 per cent said they were investigating or planning to deploy the technology. Companies in this position said they were planning to invest an average of 17 per cent of their IT budgets over the next two years in this area.

"We know that most [businesses] look for IT to deliver business advantages that level the playing field with their larger competitors," said Jill Billhorn, CDW vice-president of small business sales.

"Two-thirds of small businesses that have virtualised their server environments say doing so has significantly increased the return on investment of their IT."

She said that for most small businesses, the road to virtualised IT requires careful planning, with a thorough system assessment required at the outset.

"Among many benefits, it is designed to identify compatibility issues so the organisation can address them in its plan," Ms Billhorn stated.

She noted that there are resources available to provide low-cost or no-cost training for IT staff, and to address concerns with technical knowledge and support requirements.

"Virtualisation is an ongoing process and a first step towards full integration of cloud services into a business's IT architecture. Planned and executed well, it can create great opportunities for small businesses," Ms Billhorn stated.


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