Reducing the Complexity of Virtualization for Small and Midsized Businesses

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1 Reducing the Complexity of Virtualization for Small and Midsized Businesses Deploying an SMB-Specific SaaS Solution to Simplify Virtualization and Increase IT Productivity WHITE PAPER

2 Executive Summary The benefits of virtualization have long been recognized among enterprise-level IT organizations. However, small and midsized businesses (SMBs), with more modest IT resources, face challenges deploying and managing virtualization, as well as executing critical IT management tasks that enhance uptime and network security. VMware Go Pro is a cloud-based virtualization and IT management solution built specifically to solve these problems for SMBs. By providing a single browser interface from which IT generalists can deploy virtualization and manage virtualized infrastructure, software updates, hardware assets, software licenses and help desk activities, Go Pro helps SMBs accelerate the benefits of virtualization and protect their IT infrastructures more proactively. Virtualization for the SMB Corporations that have successfully implemented virtualization as an integral part of their IT infrastructure have enjoyed enormous improvements in the performance, scalability and cost-effectiveness of their server and end-user systems. Recent research by VMware reveals that as SMBs prepare for growth, they face critical issues managing IT budgets while dealing with server capacity issues, application and OS upgrades, the deployment of new workloads, and business continuity planning. These organizations know that virtualizing parts of their infrastructure has the potential to help them cope with all of these issues effectively, but virtualization has often been perceived as a luxury reserved for companies with sizable IT budgets and highly experienced staff. According to a 2012 survey of IT managers by Quantum Corp., 89 percent of IT managers anticipated virtualization posing a level of difficulty that their IT teams may not be equipped to address. In addition, recent VMware research shows many different sources of anxiety about virtualization among SMBs, including the following concerns: Security Lack of knowledge/proper training Technical complexity Cost of hardware Cost of consulting services Legal and regulatory compliance Demystifying Virtualization and Automating IT IT plays an increasingly mission-critical role for many small and midsized businesses, but in these organizations IT is typically led by and staffed with generalists. These professionals may oversee the entire IT infrastructure, ensuring the performance of all of its hardware and software, monitoring a wide variety of server and end-user applications, and responding to frequent requests for service by employees. SMBs gain a clear benefit from solutions that reduce complexity and increase efficiency, because they are easier for IT generalists to install, manage and maintain, making their work faster without sacrificing capability. For SMBs that wish to deploy or extend virtualization and automate routine IT tasks, there is a growing need for a more streamlined technical solution. Much of the difficulty SMBs face in implementing virtualization stems from the time, effort and expertise required to identify what combination of hardware and software is suitable for virtualization. For example, they must decide on the optimal number of hypervisors to install and configure as a platform for the required level of virtualization, and they must choose the right tools for provisioning and deploying virtual machines quickly and correctly to configure and run new workloads. Increasing IT Infrastructure Reliability and Security Go Pro s IT Advisor provides a simple, streamlined solution to managing patches proactively. Since most viruses, worms and malware target unpatched or poorly patched systems, effective patch management is one of the most effective ways to protect an IT network from external threats. Even the shortest disruption in service can be significantly detrimental for employees and customers. Breaches of security can expose organizations to litigation as well as downtime, and many companies never fully recover from the operational, WHITE PAPER / 2

3 financial and competitive implications of serious disruptions to their IT infrastructure. Using the IT Advisor, users can schedule and automate the deployment of updates to physical, virtual and end-user machines from a single Web-based interface. This issue is particularly visible, and addressable, with patch management. Most SMBs currently perform at least basic patch management, upgrading server software as time permits and notifying end users or working with them individually to implement major updates to core Microsoft applications. This approach, however, is time- and resource-intensive, and can leave the infrastructure exposed to security risks and potential downtime. In fact, according to the National Vulnerability Database (NVD), 9 of the 10 most vulnerable applications are non-microsoft products, as Table 1 shows. Number of Vulnerabilities by Severity Application Total High Medium Low Score Apple Safari Mozilla Firefox Google Chrome Microsoft Internet Explorer Adobe Flash Player Adobe Reader Java Runtime Environment Adobe Acrobat Adobe AIR Mozilla SeaMonkey Table 1. Vulnerable Applications Source: NVD 7/7/2010 Vulnerability Data Feeds Realizing the Financial Benefits of Virtualization Although some larger organizations are willing and able to fund expensive IT experiments with uncertain outcomes, managing costs effectively is an important factor in success for SMBs. SMBs must address their technology needs by seeking sophisticated solutions at modest prices that provide a measurable return on investment. At the same time, research shows that the average SMB spends 50 percent more on IT maintenance than it does on IT innovation. If a business can find ways to maximize its IT budget while shifting spending from basic upkeep to enhancing business operations, it can maximize the value of its IT expenditures and establish IT as a distinct competitive advantage For helping businesses increase the capacity, uptime and reliability of their IT infrastructure, the benefits of virtualization are well-known. Enhancing the Productivity of IT Professionals Given the wide-ranging nature of their responsibilities, SMB IT teams may have difficulty aligning their duties to optimize efficiency and value to the business.. Many day-to-day tasks consume significant amounts of time, and critical issues require immediate attention. As a result, there is often little opportunity for SMB IT leaders and staff to think strategically about how best to deploy IT in support of the business. Solving this problem requires a twofold approach. First, SMBs require tools that reduce the burden of resourceintensive activities. Responsibilities such as patch management and hardware and software asset inventories are examples of activities that lend themselves to automation. Second, SMBs require multipurpose solutions. Rather than going through the time-consuming process of evaluating, installing, learning and managing multiple systems with separate applications performing discrete tasks, IT teams realize time, cost and usability benefits from single, multipurpose applications that combine related tasks into a single interface. WHITE PAPER / 3

4 VMware Go Pro: An SMB-Specific Solution for Virtualization and IT Management The SMB-specific tools recently developed by VMware challenge the conventional wisdom that virtualization is primarily for larger organizations. In particular, VMware Go Pro is a cloud-based virtualization and IT infrastructure management solution that serves as an interface for the VMware vsphere virtualization platform. Go Pro provides a simple, reliable and cost-effective way for SMBs to Deploy virtualization and maximize their existing hardware and infrastructure Extend and maximize the benefits of their early investments in virtualization Increase the uptime, reliability and security of their network and applications Enhance the responsiveness, productivity and efficiency of their IT staff Combining virtualization management and the automation of routine IT management tasks in a single, secure interface accessible from any Web browser and available as a low-cost subscription, Go Pro at last puts the significant technical, operational and cost advantages of virtualization and IT automation well within the reach of SMBs. Demystifying Virtualization and Automating IT The core features of VMware Go Pro include point-and-shoot hypervisor installation and step-by-step wizards for creating virtual machines and installing new workloads or migrating existing ones. VMware Go Pro also features the IT Advisor, an integrated tool that assesses the entire IT infrastructure for hardware and processes that have proved to be suitable candidates for virtualization. The IT Advisor can be run from any browser at any time, continually identifying opportunities to maximize the organization s use of its existing infrastructure. As a result, even novice users can use Go Pro to simplify the powerful functionality of the vsphere platform, either for initial deployments of virtualization or to extend virtualization as business and infrastructure needs evolve. Increasing IT Infrastructure Reliability and Security Go Pro leverages its IT Advisor to provide a simple, streamlined solution to the challenge of managing patches proactively. As it performs initial and ongoing network scans, the IT Advisor identifies and creates alerts for missing patches and updates across all physical and virtual machines, not only for Microsoft products but also for many applications from other companies, such as Adobe, Apple, Java, Oracle and others. Using the VMware patch management functions, users can schedule the automated deployment of required updates to physical servers, virtual machines and end-user devices from a single Web-based interface. Realizing the Financial Benefits of Virtualization The industry already recognizes that virtualization can help businesses increase the capacity, uptime and reliability of their IT infrastructure As a subscription-based, low-cost, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, Go Pro makes the benefits of virtualization financially and technically accessible to SMBs. Go Pro enables SMBs to get more out of their investment in vsphere, to deploy and extend virtualization more rapidly, and to continually ensure that they maximize the value of their existing hardware and software investments. Enhancing the Productivity of IT Professionals Go Pro is an integrated virtualization management and IT solution from which users can deploy and manage a virtualized infrastructure, scan the network for potential downtime and security risks, implement patches to enhance uptime and reliability, audit hardware assets and histories, manage software licenses and compliance, and implement a help desk to manage, analyze and enhance IT service to the organization. By combining routine IT management tasks and making the execution of those tasks simpler and faster, Go Pro increases the effectiveness and productivity of IT professionals and frees them to focus on opportunities for IT to serve the business more strategically. WHITE PAPER / 4

5 Why Choose VMware? Conclusion Virtualization has been successfully deployed in enterprises all over the world to achieve significant improvements in the capacity, uptime, reliability and cost-effectiveness of IT infrastructure. As SMBs begin to explore, implement and extend virtualization, they require tools that simplify and accelerate the process without compromising capability or security and that don t require disproportionate investment. VMware Go Pro is a low-cost, highpower virtualization management solution built to help SMBs manage their IT infrastructure more effectively and begin realizing the technical, operational and financial benefits of virtualization immediately. Recent research on customer use of Go Pro, sponsored by VMware and conducted with TechValidate, articulates the value the product can provide. The results of TechValidate s research among real-world Go Pro users is available at To learn more about Go Pro, visit VMware Go Pro has allowed us to focus on expanding other areas of business due to reduced costs of maintenance and labor. Server Administrator, Small Business Computer Services Company With VMware Go Pro we have seen a marked improvement in our infrastructure reliability. IT Manager, Medium Enterprise Transportation Services Company With VMware Go Pro our organization was able to reduce IT costs, respond to IT-related issues more quickly, and roll out applications faster. Engineer, Large Enterprise Metals and Mining Company VMware Go Pro enabled us to achieve smoother business operations, improve our SLA times, and enable faster rollout of VM guest servers and workstations. System Administrator, Large Enterprise Healthcare Company VMware, Inc Hillview Avenue Palo Alto CA USA Tel Fax Copyright 2012 VMware, Inc. All rights reserved. This product is protected by U.S. and international copyright and intellectual property laws. VMware products are covered by one or more patents listed at VMware is a registered trademark or trademark of VMware, Inc. in the United States and/or other jurisdictions. All other marks and names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective companies. Item No: VMW-WP-G0-PRO-REDUCE-CMPLX-VIRTUAL-SMBs-A /12

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