Survey: Limited Staff and Sparse Virtualization Adoption Compromise SMB IT Infrastructure

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    To fully realize the demands put upon IT in small to midsize businesses (SMBs), ActualTech Media surveyed 578 technology professionals working in organizations with fewer than 500 employees. Though most IT staff in companies of this size are pressed “to do more with less,” it was surprising just how much less that could be.

    According to ChannelPartnersOnline, more than one third of the SMBs (34 percent) admitted that “scaling the infrastructure,” including servers, storage and computers, was a big challenge. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) said that their daily struggles include troubleshooting, managing the complexity of the infrastructure and keeping the actual infrastructure current.

    The study, which can be downloaded for free at from ScaleComputing (with registration), identified quite a disparity in the number of IT staff employed by the SMBs. The majority of the responses fell within the range of 1 to 7 IT infrastructure staff, with the highest number, around 225 of the businesses, saying they employed 2 to 4 people. Considering that the survey showed that the majority of companies surveyed (around 275) employ 101 to 500 people, the dedicated IT staff numbers seem quite low.

    However, the report explains that increased adoption of hyperconverged infrastructure would simplify the management of data centers, which would greatly alleviate the demands on the IT staff and open up opportunities for them to better support other IT endeavors for the business. Of those surveyed, 50 percent were less than 50 percent virtualized in their current infrastructure, with 21 percent of those at less than 10 percent virtualization. That opens up a large area for vendors to provide virtualization options to those SMBs that need assistance, as it appears that many respondents are likely new to the technology overall.

    The most popular virtualization solutions used were identified as vSphere (46 percent), Hyper-V (25 percent), Xen (5 percent) and KVM (6 percent). Eighteen percent claimed to use an unnamed option.

    According to ChannelPartnersOnline, Scott Lowe, co-founder of ActualTech Media, feels that this data can help these vendors create new relationships with SMBs that need further expertise in the scaling of their IT infrastructure:

    “We believe that this data indicates an opportunity for SMB-focused infrastructure and hyperconvergence vendors to serve these customers and to make a significant impact when it comes to improving their operational efficiency. This also presents an opportunity for education of this market, and helping SMB customers better understand that most of their workloads would be well supported with modern hypervisors and related tools.”

    Kim Mays has been editing and writing about IT since 1999. She currently tackles the topics of small to midsize business technology and introducing new tools for IT. Follow Kim on Google+ or Twitter.

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