Apps and data protection come top with virtualisation

The top two benefits of virtualization for small and medium-sized businesses are improved application availability and added data protection, according to a new study on the operational efficiency, disaster preparation, and use of virtualisation among SMBs.

According to the study released Thursday by virtualisation solution provider VMware (, a third of SMBs polled have experienced a significant business interruption due to data center failures in the past two years, and 52 percent expect data backup and protection to be a top initiative for 2010.

The VMware's SMB study surveyed 309 senior business and IT managers at companies with 20 to 1,000 employees in the US and Canada between October 21 and November 5, 2009, and has a 5.66 percent margin of error at the 95 percent level of confidence.

The VMware survey found that SMBs using virtualisation are achieving a wide range of benefits. Nearly three-quarters of those polled said they saw improvements in the time spent on routine IT administrative tasks, 71 percent said application availability was increased, and 68 percent said their ability to respond to changing business needs was heightened. Other improvements include backup and data protection, business continuity preparedness, and company profitability and growth rate, all of which, more than 67 percent of companies polled reported experiencing.

"Even a very small business with only a few servers can benefit from virtualisation, and it's easy to get started with free VMware solutions like ESXi," VMware product marketing group manager Joe Andrews said in a statement.

"Whether it's time freed up to respond to new business challenges, reduced hardware costs, improved disaster preparedness, or more satisfied end users, these results show that the benefits are significant across the board, and for all kinds of companies."

The Survey also offered insight into SMB aspirational goals. Of those polled, 61 percent said improving security was among their top IT initiatives for 2010, 52 percent said data backup and protection, 42 percent said maintaining current infrastructure, 39 percent said reducing energy use, and another 39 percent said business continuity and disaster recovery.

"Small and medium business owners understand that their customers are their top priority, however, they don't fully appreciate the risks of permanent damage a systems outage can have on the relationship with their customers," Andrews said. "The good news is implementing virtualization can greatly improve disaster preparedness and recovery so businesses can more easily meet customer demands and maintain their business operations. Furthermore, the VMware vSphere Essentials Editions for SMBs deliver a truly affordable business continuity solution that can be managed through a single console for optimal efficiency. VMware vSphere also offers the lowest cost per application in the industry."

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