Christopher Lentz | January 17, 2014 06:20 PM
The cloud and virtualization have become pretty hot topics for the past few years, especially as more and more large corporations move their services into them. However, many small and medium sized business are reluctant to make the jump. "Why?" you might ask. There are 3 main reasons and today we will talk about them and why they are unwarranted.
A lot of small businesses think that a move to the cloud or to owning their own virtualized environment is too expensive. One of the main reasons for this misconception is two-fold. One, the vendors are not doing a very good job conveying the cost savings associated with virtualization on their websites, this is because their marketing materials are focused on large corporations. This means that when a company is considering it, they may get some sticker shock when the visit the vendor websites and see $10,000 price tags just for the virtualization software. What small businesses need to know is that there is an affordable small business class for every virtualization platform on the market. VMware Essentials can be purchased for around $600.00 and includes the ability to deploy on up to 3 servers with 2 processors on each server plus VMware vCenter (the brains of VMware ESX). If you need more features like High Availability, vMotion, and other advanced features the price is still under $6,000.00. However, even this price is cheap and I will tell you why. Moving to a virtualized environment with High Availability means that your servers never truly go down. What I mean is that when you need to perform maintenance on one physical server, the others pick up the slack and boot the virtual machine on one of them while you do the work. When you bring the other server back up, it balances everything out again. This means increased productivity and more revenue for your business. That is not the only thing though, another benefit comes from Operating System licensing. Most licensing is done on a per CPU basis, this means that you can purchase a single license and run multiple instances on the same physical machine. This can mean thousands of dollars in savings especially when you are talking about Microsoft licensing. Oh, and did we mention tax credits for going green?!
Data security is becoming a hot button for a lot of business as well as individuals as a result of a lot of privacy and information leaks that have been focus on in the media lately. This has caused a lot of misinformation about the security of keeping data in the cloud or virtualizing it. The truth of the matter is that all cloud providers are setup to use some of the highest encryption levels possible. These levels are in line with the United States Department of Defense and their encryption levels. This encrypting means that prying eyes can not see your data in clear text, instead they just see random characters that would make no sense without the encryption key. Let's be honest here, Microsoft is not going to put their company on the line legally with your data if they don't have some way to protect it for you.
For some reason, many small businesses believe they need to be directly accessing their servers to edit documents, update databases, etc. The reality is that this is an extremely dangerous practice and one this administrator strongly believes is a cause for many security breaches in the small business sector. Physical access to servers should be limited to technical staff with the knowledge and expertise to run and manage them. This will prevent the accidental download of a malicious virus or worm, removing a much needed piece of operating system software, etc. The list of bad things here far outweighs the good things that can come with accessing the server directly as the administrative user. You wouldn't let your barista fix your BMW would you?
The cloud and virtualization can change the way you do business by increasing your productivity, reducing overal utility costs, and even preventing downtime and disasters. Let one of our VMware Certified engineers help you and your business move to the next level, give us a call today!