Key Findings of the VMware SMB Survey

Paul Mah

Virtualization giant VMware did a recent survey on SMBs and virtualization, and compiled its findings in a white paper. You can access the VMware SMB Survey here.


Interestingly, the survey concludes that beyond the obvious benefits inherent to server consolidation, virtualization can help SMBs reduce the time spent on routine administrative tasks.


That caught my interest because increases in efficiency can yield significant benefits for small and medium-size businesses. This is because they often have few or no IT staffers and rely on vendors to manage their IT-related tasks on an hourly rate.


For a clearer picture, I took a look at the 11-page report, highlighting a couple of its findings that I consider to be the most pertinent for SMBs.


Reasons for Virtualizing

SMBs in the survey were asked why they decided to implement virtualization. Unsurprisingly, the primary reason cited was to improve server utilization, but that wasn't the only reason:

  • 72 percent wanted to improve server utilization.
  • 57 percent were looking to reduce or contain the number of servers.
  • 49 percent hoped to improve security.
  • 48 percent said they wanted to improving availability and uptime.
  • 47 percent are seeking to improve server and application management.
  • 47 percent are thinking in terms of improving their data backup and protection.


It is clear from a cursory examination of the above data that there is no single reason SMBs choose to virtualize. In fact, the companies are looking to reap multiple benefits, which is great, given the multifaceted returns of virtualization.


I need to caution that organizations do need to be clear about their objectives when implementing virtualization. It would be unfortunate to overreach on the desired outcomes and achieve few or none of them due to the lack of proper prioritization and planning.


SMBs Lacking in Disaster Recovery

Yet again, SMBs are portrayed as lacking in disaster recovery and business continuity. The VMware report noted that more than one in five (21 percent) of SMBs have lost critical business data over the past two years due to "accident, disaster or emergency." Underscoring the severity of such laxity, a staggering 62 percent of these companies say they saw lost sales or customers as a direct result.


Despite a lack of preparation -- only 47 percent have business continuity plans that have been updated in the past two years -- an amazing 69 percent of SMBs say they have confidence in their disaster-recovery plans. In fact, 73 percent of these companies believe that any downtime in their IT systems will not have a significant impact on their business.


There is some hope yet for SMBs though, when it comes to disaster recovery. When asked about some of the IT initiatives that they consider to be the most important for the next 12 months, 52 percent of SMBs chose data backup and protection. Well, I wrote an earlier SMB guide for business continuity and disaster recovery, which I hope will be of help for companies looking to beef up on their disaster preparedness.


Obviously, VMware has an interest in virtualization. I also recently wrote about a Dell executive's statement that virtualization isn't worth it for most SMBs.

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