2011 Will Bring Virtualization Options for SMBs

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Eric Courville is co-founder and chief operating officer of VM6 Software. He brings more than 18 years of successful experience in sales, marketing and business development. Previously, Eric was with Embotics and PlateSpin.

ERIC COURVILLE
VM6 Software

The virtualization landscape has changed for small and medium-sized businesses. Gone are the days when virtualization technology was only available to large enterprises that had budget, time and resources to dedicate to implementing emerging technology. With virtualization no longer considered a new technology, 2010 marked a change in the virtualization landscape as the big players saw an untapped market in the small and medium-business (SMB) space. The coming year will mark the turning point for SMBs, as there is an increased availability of solutions designed with these organizations in mind.

Microsoft Hyper-V, often touted as the virtualization solution for SMBs, will continue to grow market share in 2011. Adoption rates of Hyper-V aren’t coming as quickly as anticipated, but in 2011, we predict that about 35 percent of SMBs will deploy it in their environments. This is primarily because of Microsoft partners who have standardized on Hyper-V. What this means for SMBs is that they will have more options from which to choose when it comes to virtualization technologies, and they should do their research on solutions that best suit their environments. They should also evaluate which will give them the best return on investment and has the most features that suit their budget and maximize their resources. Options exist that will give the big three some real competition.

What Will 2011 Bring to Small Business?

The next year will also enable SMBs to be more demanding regarding the types of technologies they implement. The first wave of virtualization has already happened, and SMBs can now demand that solutions be simple to implement and cost-effective while providing the benefits that virtualization is designed to bring (i.e., efficiency, cost reduction, simplification, etc). Virtualization vendors will have to ensure that any offerings they provide to the SMB are not merely scaled down versions of their enterprise products. They will need to provide solutions for the SMB with the same features and functionality as their enterprise offering or risk losing the market to alternate vendors who are selling solutions specifically tailored to meet the needs of that market.

2011: Storage Will Be Big

Similarly, storage will be more easily adopted by SMBs. Like virtualization technologies, there are already storage vendors out there who provide solutions that are packed with features and functionality at reasonable price points designed for SMBs. SMBs would be wise to investigate pragmatic solutions that will simplify their environments and enable them to leverage their existing technology and resources. SMBs will be able to analyze their environments and determine what is necessary today and what options exist to grow their businesses in an efficient manner. Complex solutions won’t be necessary, as next-generation SAN solutions exist and SMBs will have their pick of the right ones for them.

2011 will enable SMBs to grow their businesses effectively because of the new vendors who understand their needs and requirements. They just need to be more aware of the choices available to them and make educated decisions based on these options.

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