Server virtualization for SMBs: Top five reseller tips

Server virtualization technologies and services should be a part of your portfolio mix for all companies, not just large enterprises. This collection of top five tips will help you address SMB virtualization needs.

Server virtualization opportunities abound in the small and midsized business (SMB) market, but resellers, systems integrators and service providers traditionally used to working with larger enterprises may be hesitant to pursue them. The following top five virtualization tips on describe the advantages of bringing server virtualization to smaller businesses and offer how-to advice for helping both you and your SMB clients go virtual.

TIP #1

Packaging virtualization services for SMBs

Many have viewed server virtualization as a technology for the enterprise -- or a technology for testing and development. Extending the value of virtualization to production uses for the SMBs will take some education. For example, many small or medium businesses allow employees to work remotely and connect to the company network via a virtual private network (VPN). Odds are that many users have local administrative rights on systems used as VPN clients, whether those systems are company owned or privately owned. The risk associated with these connections is that users with local administrative rights can easily allow malware to enter their computers. Now when an infected machine is connected to the company's local area network (LAN) via a VPN connection, the LAN is exposed to the malware on the user's personal computer. Instead, you can deploy secure virtual machines to user desktops with products like VMware's Assured Computing Environment (ACE), as discussed in this tip by author Chris Wolf.

TIP #2

Packaging virtual appliances for SMBs

A virtual appliance is a preconfigured virtual machine set up to perform a specific task. There are Web server appliances, firewall appliances, network-attached storage (NAS) file-serving appliances and security monitoring appliances, to name a few. VMware has led the surge with hundreds of free virtual appliances. While many resellers are taking the virtual appliance movement at face vale and finding uses for the free offerings from contributing vendors and users, few have begun to embrace the virtual-appliance mentality. This tip will identify several virtual appliance opportunities for you to consider now, and offer a checklist on how to stage one of these virtual machine (VM) offerings.

TIP #3

VMware and Moka5 server virtualization for SMBs

Server-centric computing has disadvantages that must be considered. In this tip, virtualization expert Harley Stagner discuss some of those challenges and how to address them with products like VMware's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and Moka5's LivePC.

TIP #4

Bundling storage and server virtualization services

The server virtualization boom is making many integrators change their product mixes and strategies for addressing customer problems, partly because of the varying goals of companies even considering server virtualization. But systems integrators must remember that it's a more complicated process than selling a hardware server. Convincing customers that virtualized hardware has real benefits may take a lot of time and effort -- and most successful virtualization projects involve penetrating every system. With that in mind, here we've collected some expert advice on combining both server and storage virtualization in this tip.

TIP #5

Virtual machine licensing: Caveman-proof VMware product calculations

When you need to calculate virtual machine licensing, you may find yourself preparing Excel spreadsheets and loading many complicated formulas before you begin. Thankfully VMware has shown mercy on those who prefer to be able to calculate product licensing with tools like an abacus. VMware now licenses ESX Server as part of VMware Infrastructure 3 (VI3) in three licensing levels outlined in this tip by author Chris Wolf.

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