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Jessica van Wyk, Veeam SoftwareJessica van Wyk, Veeam Software

There’s a common perception that virtualisation is only for large organisations and requires dedicated IT managers. With the right partners it’s completely possible for a small business to realise all the benefits.

Virtualisation can help squeeze maximum value out of existing hardware, even a three- or four-year-old server, by running several virtual machines (VMs) on it. Clever patented technology underlying these systems allow it to fool each VM into thinking it has more resources than are actually available.

Virtualised servers also enable better protection for business systems and data. Most SMEs are at great risk if anything happens to their physical servers. Backing up once a week is not enough. While a VM thinks it’s a whole computer, it’s really just a file, which can be backed up like any other and taken home on a flash drive or kept in the cloud. Specialised backup solutions for virtualised environments are powerful, easy to use and cost-effective. Anybody who can use a computer can use these solutions to restore a file or a whole server in a few clicks. If your office burns down, you could be back up in a few hours with limited data loss.

The key to success in using virtualisation as part of business continuity is ensuring backups are regularly tested. Backups can and do go wrong. The worst-case scenario is finding out a backup is corrupted on the day you need to restore, or you’ve been backing up a problem that makes your data inaccessible. With modern data protection tools, custom created for virtualised environments, you can test every backup to ensure it’s restorable.

Virtualisation is ideal for SMEs challenged by squeezing the most out of what they have, while keeping up with rapidly changing technology. Everyone faces the same issues – you can’t afford a full-time resource to look after your IT, so things tend to slip even if you’re trying hard to follow best practices.

Find a partner who can virtualise your environment and manage it for you, negotiate a stringent SLA, and spend your energy doing the real work, not worrying about your servers.

About the author: Jessica van Wyk is channel manager at Veeam Software.