SMBs cite several reasons for adopting server virtualization; key among them are reducing operating cost, backup and disaster recovery and reducing cost of IT support. Improving existing server and hardware systems utilization is mentioned by 32 percent of SMBs.
In our survey of SMBs either currently using or planning to use Virtualization technologies we found that SMBs currently using Virtualization tended to have a mixed brand Virtualization environment, not relying on a single vendor for the solution, but mixing and matching as they saw appropriate based on their specific requirements.
For example, the above chart shows that within VMware Server Virtualization environments, 66 percent of SMBs also use VMware client Virtualization technology, with both Microsoft and Citrix making up the difference for the client side. Similarly, 78 percent of SMBs that use Microsoft server Virtualization also use Microsoft client Virtualization. Several other findings become apparent from the above chart:
- VMware and Citrix have the most relatively mixed virtualization environment as compared to Microsoft
- Citrix and Microsoft may have a slightly deeper partnership that enables SMBs using Citrix server Virtualization to be combined with Microsoft client Virtualization more easily and cost effectively
However, we cannot look at the above chart in isolation. SMBs have been using Virtualization technologies as the market developed.
In the words of one VP of IT for a mid-market business, “We use Citrix, VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, and emulation from Ericom. There are ‘n’ numbers of products that are being used in the whole gamut of things”.
The Venn diagram below not only exposes the vulnerabilities faced by Virtualization vendors but also demonstrates that the market is big enough for solutions from all vendors to work in a heterogeneous IT environment.
For example, the above Venn diagram shows that only 12 percent of SMBs use only VMware Virtualization solution which is twice that of Citrix and almost one-fourth of Microsoft. And 9 percent of SMBs use Virtualization solutions from VMware, Citrix and Microsoft. Once we start to include solutions from Parallels, NComputing, Oracle and others the overlaps become very complicated to map.
Our research found that SMBs usually go through a round of server consolidation before moving to Virtualization.
“The very first step was actually to go for server consolidation. Once the servers were consolidated, then the desktop virtualization was performed. So, typically for VDI architecture or any other technology, the first thing is the server consolidation and after that the procurement of solution and licenses were done from VMware and Citrix for the VDI and after which the user terminals were changed”, this according to one IT Director, Mid-market business.
Not all Virtualization projects finish smoothly. SMBs have also had different experiences with each of the three major brands for server Virtualization projects as shown in the chart below:
The factors affecting each of the projects could be dependent upon:
- SMBs’ readiness
- Channel partners’ capabilities
However, the top 3 most common areas that need addressing are Compatibility Issues, Cost Overruns and Lack of Experience, which are perennial issues as all SMB users adopt new technologies.
“The major challenge was the cost, because the initial hardware investment was huge. Getting rid of the system and moving to the cloud and installing virtual servers required purchasing of physical storage and upgrading the system. Another challenge that we faced was the initial configuration which was addressed timely and efficiently by our partners”, Vice President, IT (500 employee size company).
But SMBs have gained tremendous advantages from using Virtualization. “It certainly has helped us to avail richer network services without increasing our capital investment and has increased our operational efficiency. Moreover computing and networking are much simplified now”.
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