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This article was published on November 29, 2012

How virtualization can make your business more flexible

How virtualization can make your business more flexible
Owen Williams
Story by

Owen Williams

Former TNW employee

Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their word Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their words friendlier. In his spare time he codes, writes newsletters and cycles around the city.

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Even if you’re a Small or Medium business, virtualization can help you more than you can possibly know. It gives you the power to grow, even if you’re not ready to do so in the foreseeable future. By moving businesses away from the idea of having just one or two Windows servers with the OS on the bare metal, you’re giving yourself a flexibility you’ve probably never even considered.

The biggest advantage you’re going to get — the one that executives are going to get excited about — is portability. You can move your VM wherever you please, and you don’t have to worry about complex imaging procedures to move your server from one physical host to another.

You purchased new hardware? Great! Just export your server somewhere, start up the new host and import it! You want to test something out on your live environment but are too scared it’ll destroy everything? No worries! Just download it onto your local machine and fire it up.

Not only that, but in the future it’ll be easy too. It’s straightforward enough to see that the cloud is the next big revolution, and indications are that virtual machine portability is the pinnacle to their success. Soon enough, you’ll be able to just press a button and your machine will be hosted on Amazon or Azure during times of high load. Once it’s settled back down, you can push it again and it’ll bring it in house. It’s not a reality yet, but it’s soon going to be.

Going virtual also has great benefits for backups too. It’s entirely possible with the latest backup products to not only back up the files in your environment, but the entire environment too. That way, you don’t have to rebuild the server from scratch, then recover the data manually. It’s all there. All you need to do is re-import it and you’re away.

The best part about this? If you’re a small business, and you don’t need more than one or two servers in your environment, VMware has a free offering (ESXi) which is available for anyone and Microsoft includes Hyper-V with their latest versions of Windows too.

As your environment grows, you can defer investment by building virtual machines in your unused resources too, rather than having a Quad-core sitting in the closet idling away serving that active directory infrastructure. If you get big enough to have a few virtual hosts, you can utilize even more advanced features to give yourself resiliency, such as the automatic migration of virtual machines when a host has issues.

There’s no excuse for not putting your environments on top of these products, and it’ll save you a whole lot of hassle too. Since it’s free, there’s no reason to resist either. You’ll be seriously surprised at just how easy it is.

Image: Thinkstock

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