New Study Finds Almost Half of All SMBs Use Cloud Service

Paul Mah
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Virtualization Interest Grows Among SMBs

SMB interest in virtualization is high, but the actual progress of adoption has been somewhat slow.

The 2H 2011 semi-annual State of SMB IT study by Spiceworks was released earlier this month. The latest survey collected information from 1,295 SMB IT professionals from around the world and across 22 industries. According to the report, which I received via email, more than 30 percent of respondents come from businesses with 100 or more employees; 25 percent are from businesses with less than 20.


One of the key findings in this report is how 46 percent of small and mid-sized businesses are now using cloud services. This represents a large increase, given that it had stood at just 28 percent in the first half of the year.


Of course, the definition of the "cloud service" term these days means that it could range from anything like a simple hosted email service, a more involved online data backup or a complex Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) deployment. What can be gleaned here, though, is that more businesses outside the enterprise are opening up to the use of hardware and services not physically located within their server closet.


The study also found the use of virtualization continuing to grow in SMBs, with 61 percent of them deploying virtualization technology today. Compared to the 54 percent obtained earlier this year and the 52 percent from the same time last year, the latest numbers show an acceleration in the take-up rate for virtualization with smaller organizations.


No additional data was offered by Spiceworks, but my personal take is that the increased virtualization could be due to its increased affordability due to competitive licensing costs. In addition, practically all the Network Attached Storage (NAS) appliances unveiled of late are certified for virtualization software such as VMware vSphere, Citrix XenServer and Microsoft's Hyper-V. It is likely that the far-more-affordable NAS is taking the place of expensive SAN arrays for VM servers, with the lower barrier of entry resulting in a surge in demand.


Interestingly, 50 percent of SMBs have either deployed or plan to deploy tablet devices within the next six months, according to the survey. A significant 33 percent of businesses polled say that they have already deployed tablets.


The latest State of SMB IT report can be downloaded here (simple registration required).

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