Technology advances so quickly that computer systems purchased five years ago are now pretty much obsolete, which usually means that if you want to upgrade one thing you have to upgrade everything. This gets expensive, so many businesses turn to virtualization for cost savings and to extend the lives of their systems. One of the first choices that many businesses make when “going virtual” is to start with the servers. While Server virtualization can be very cost-effective and offers tons of benefits beyond the cost savings, it is easy to stumble in the execution.
Here are five tips for better server virtualization for small to medium businesses.
1. Reality is key – It’s easy, when reading about tech, to get caught up in all the new devices, ideas, etc. and maybe begin to lose sight of your situation. It’s not uncommon to have a small business owner want to virtualize all servers at once. This is often not feasible – both in terms of your budget and the technology involved.
Instead, you should take the time to assess your servers and identify which servers are best suited to virtualization. For example, if the server that handles your email is starting to show its age, this may be a prime candidate. After identifying potential servers to virtualize, you can begin to develop a better plan.
2. Check compatibility – After you have picked servers for virtualization, look at the software the servers handle and see if they are compatible with the virtualization software you plan to use. Should the software not be compatible you will either have to look for another solution, or upgrade the software. Fail to do this and you could face setbacks and compatibility issues which will likely cause a drop in efficiency, or even negate the savings you expected to gain from virtualization.
Each virtualization solution has different requirements, so it is a must that you look at whether the server itself is capable of supporting it. Keep in mind that virtualization solutions are always advancing, so the server that can just barely handle a solution now may not be able to handle it at all in a year or two.
3. Don’t forget about your data backup solutions – Interestingly, many virtualization providers also provide data backup solutions. It may be a good idea to look at your existing backup and determine if it is compatible with the systems you plan to use.
4. R.S.S. – Reduce. Sell. Save. Server virtualization allows for many servers to be run on one physical unit. This means you will be able to reduce the number of physical servers, sell them, and ultimately reap bigger savings through decreased maintenance and operational costs.
5. Work with an IT expert – The above steps can be daunting, even to those in the IT field. There’s just so much to focus on that business owners and managers can quickly find themselves in over their heads. In order to get the most out of virtualization, we recommend that you work with an IT consultant like Providence who can focus on helping you stay realistic, ensure the compatibility of your systems, and orient your backup systems.
Give us a call, we’re here to help.