Virtualization Might Not Be for Every SMB, But it Works for Some

Ann All

When I recently interviewed Gartner VP and analyst Jim Browning, he told me many midsize companies outpaced their larger counterparts on server virtualization, thanks to their less complex infrastructures. They were able to move quickly because they had fewer servers and server applications than the big guys and were often quite standardized on x86 servers.


At the smaller end of the SMB spectrum, however, Browning told me, "Small guys with a half a dozen servers aren't even interested in virtualization."


That might be true for most small companies, although not all. A Forbes piece details the virtualization efforts of Tully Rinckey PLLC, a law firm with two offices and 75 employees. It plans to open more offices and hire more employees soon. CIO Bob Dunton decided virtualization and the centralized IT model it facilitates would reduce infrastructure-management hassles that could come with expansion.


When Dunton came on board, the firm had two servers in Albany, N.Y., with one server dedicated to giving Washington, D.C., staff access to software hosted in New York through thin client technology. Not surprisingly, that server was overtaxed. Dunton switched to three higher-powered servers running virtualized applications. Dunton is also moving full-speed ahead into desktop virtualization, using it in Washington, D.C., and considering it for its New York office and even the firm's call center.


Again, the firm appears to moving ahead more quickly than other SMBs. In interviews with CIOs of midmarket companies, his research specialty, Browning found many are slowing on dekstop virtualization when they find it won't yield the kind of hard, fast ROI they got with server virtualization. But a law firm like Tully Rinckey is probably more interested than many other SMBs in desktop virtualization's primary benefits -- improved security and simplified management.

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