The Virtualization Journey for SMBs

The journey framework that I have been covering in the posts of this blog is applicable to both large and small and medium enterprise, say less than a 1000 people. The main difference between small and large enterprises is the speed at which SMBs move. Most of the ones we interviewed said they went from 0 to (virtually) 100% in 12-18 months. This is mainly because:

  • The CIO sits in the same room with the rest of the team (typically less that 10 people overall) in most decisions, so when they get comfortable with the technology they immediately get top level air cover
  • The business is not as involved in the technical decisions, so there is less FUD and push back from application owners. When IT is comfortable with the virtualization technology, then they go ahead and quickly virtualize everything that comes their way including business applications and databases
  • Their IT scale is smaller (typically 100-500 servers)
  • It is easier for them to change their processes, thus removing friction and shortening the path to full value realization
  • There don’t have barriers between network, storage, network and security teams which is one of the biggest obstacle to virtualization
  • Because they reach critical mass quickly, they benefit by automating management using features like DRS early in the journey
  • For the same reason they can have a robust DR solution across most of the assets very early in their journey

We hear many of them saying “we virtualized the whole environment in 12 months, and we have not bought a physical server since


One of the biggest obstacles we heard from SMBs  is need to buy pre-tested configurations of server, storage, network and virtualization software. They don’t have the staff and the time to go through lengthy evaluation and testing and because they are not big companies, they don’t get the same level of attention from the vendors.

Quality of Life

interestingly and refreshingly, the  ‘better quality of life’ theme came up very often in out SMBs interviews.

One example if the ability to do disruption-free hardware maintenance thanks to vMotion: “We don’t have to come in during weekends to do hardware maintenance and upgrade anymore, we vMotion the virtual machine to a different server and we do this during working hours without business disruption“.

Another good one is the use od DRS to automatically manage the virtual infrastructure based on quality of service policies: “We used to obsess about whether all my server lights were green, now DRS does that for us


2 thoughts on “The Virtualization Journey for SMBs

  1. Are the SMBs interested only in server virtualization ?
    What about desktop virtualization ? “Desktop virtualization is only favorable for enterprise customers than SMBs” – any thoughts on this statement after your interviews with SMBs.

    • Good question. In the interviews with SMBs within this project, we did not drill down on desktop virtualization much. So I cannot give you an informed answer. I need to dig into our quantitative research around this. What is your experience? What motivates the question? I don’t see why the statement that you quote would apply to SMBs. The pain with desktop is there. No? Thanks – Vittorio

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