A research study from HP found that 86 percent of technology decision makers have implemented virtualization technologies. Although the respondents were from mid-sized companies and up, a separate IDC study on Australian SMBs reveals that "around half of SMBs are investing in consolidation, virtualization and better management tools to deal with [servers and storage challenges.]" My point here is that virtualization is now mainstream technology.
If you are still not on the virtualization bandwagon, then it's definitely time to stop dallying. There are many advantages to implementing virtualization, and contrary to what you might think, some of these benefits are of extreme importance to SMBs.
To be sure, I'm not asking you to buy into expensive grid and SAN hardware in order to enjoy extreme business continuity by means of technology such as VMotion. Consider this, though: Most SMBs are unlikely to have the budget for an independent backup site, relying instead on insurance coverage to mitigate the effects of any disaster.
However, of what use would spanking new servers be if the requisite software installations and configurations no longer exist? Even with proper backups and competent IT personnel, it might take many days or even weeks to get everything up and running properly again. In addition, there is the risk of existing software having unanticipated issues with the new equipment.
With virtualization, however, the entire computing resources of your organization could essentially be stashed in a portable hard disk drive in a secure location. In the event of disaster, the virtual machine images could be quickly resurrected on new hardware that is already certified for virtual server software. Due to the abstraction afforded by the virtual machine, you can be sure that it will run "out of the box," necessitating only a database update from the latest backup.
And, oh yes, once you have upward of two systems virtualized, do ensure that you have at least another redundant system capable of hosting the virtual machines.