How can virtualization save your business?

used with permission from HP Technology at Work

Winter is a time when Mother Nature reminds us that even the best laid plans can go wrong. Protect your small or midsized business from the unexpected by implementing virtualization technologies to optimize resources, improve application availability, and reduce downtime.

Virtualization saves. Pooling server, storage, and network resources takes advantage of spare capacity and saves money on space, utility costs, and administrative effort. At the same time, virtualization provides opportunities for failover and load-balancing, resulting in greater application and data availability.

Unfortunately, small and midsized businesses (SMBs) often forgo technology investments that dramatically reduce operational costs and improve IT efficiency because they are perceived to be too complex or expensive. But affordable servers, storage, and networking products with virtualization features are now available to your business.

Through virtualization, SMBs can not only consolidate and optimize resources, but can also

  • reduce downtime by load balancing application availability
  • isolate problem areas
  • add resources at a moment’s notice to improve performance and capacity when required
  • reduce costs in software licensing, system management, real estate and utilities

Maintain application availability

Let’s face it. Things don’t always go as planned. Downtime, brought on by hardware or software failures, natural disasters, or even planned maintenance, can wreak havoc on any business. People are accustomed to being online all the time, and it has become critical to ensure the least amount of downtime possible. While reliable technology and backup and restore solutions are probably already part of how you plan to address the issue of uptime, you may not yet have considered how virtualization can also help. With virtualization, you can easily move applications, the data files associated with them, and network connections between devices. Should one device fail, resources in separate instances can immediately be brought online.

Getting a set of services up and running from a library of pre-existing virtual machines can make a recovery from a total disaster much faster. Depending on how it’s set up, you can work it so that the virtualization spans across multiple sites. In the event of a disaster in one location, services can be brought online quickly from another.

Enable continued use of legacy applications

Many businesses use applications that are several years old. These applications may be the lifeblood of their business. But as the underlying operating environment changes, instability can creep in. Virtualized environments can help you isolate less stable, legacy applications and allow them to continue to function in spite of changes in the underlying infrastructure. By separating them, you prevent one application from affecting the performance of another.

Thrive during peaks in demand

One of the best ways to avoid bringing systems to a halt is ensuring they can handle the demands placed on them. As the holidays approach, now is a really good time to determine if your infrastructure can handle spikes in demand. Virtualization will allow you to use spare capacity on one server and put it on “standby” for the holiday rush of traffic that comes in.

Reduce costs

The most obvious benefit of using virtualization is how it saves in overall operating costs. Consolidating services on newer, higher performing servers helps reduce maintenance costs as well as software licensing fees. Making sure resource capacity isn’t going unused optimizes investments. Minimizing system footprint and utility bills all add up to big cost savings.

HP Just Right IT

The HP Just Right IT portfolio offers cost-effective servers designed for virtualization with its HP ProLiant Gen9 servers. These new, more powerful servers increase application performance and improve Virtual Machine density. They can help you reduce downtime, reduce IT power and cooling costs, and consolidate IT resources– leading to a reduction in overall business costs and greater application availability.

Storage and networks can also be virtualized. HP offers low-cost storage arrays, such as the MSA 1040, to give you just the right amount of storage to get started. Growth platforms, like the MSA 2040, provide even more capabilities and performance. To speed virtualization deployment at a really low cost by using existing hardware, take advantage of HP’s StoreVirtual VSA. HP also offers affordable network switches, such as the HP 5400R, that are SDN (software defined networks) enabled with OpenFlow.

If you haven’t virtualized yet, now is a good time to make sure you can stay up and running in the months to come.