This guide explains the real world benefits of virtualization for today's growing businesses, and helps you prepare to take the first step into the virtualization journey.

VMware Real-World Advantage

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  1. Cover:
    Real world virtualization for your business
  2. Introduction:
    Visualization solves real world problems
  3. Chapter 1:
    Why consider virtualization?
  4. Chapter 2:
    Simplify your infrastructure, your schedule, and your life
  1. Chapter 3:
    Accelerate application rollouts, and get more done
  2. Chapter 4:
    Protect your infrastructure, your data, and your business
  3. Chapter 5:
    Save more, do more, earn more
  4. Chapter 6:
    Getting started

Real world Virtualization for Your Business.

A Guide from VMware

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Virtualization solves

real world problems.

Your business counts on you for reliable, secure, responsive IT services. It's a nonstop job, with no time off to figure out complex new technologies, wade through marketing promises, or wrestle with software solutions designed for much larger firms. Your resources may be limited, but your needs are the same—and your expectations are high.

At VMware, we live in your world. Our virtualization solutions deliver the advantages growing businesses need, without unnecessary complexity or cost:

Real World Advantage:
Real World Advantage:
Real World Advantage:
Real World Advantage:
VMware simplifies your infrastructure to help you do more with less—and stay in control. VMware delivers automation that helps you work smarter and faster. VMware delivers unparalleled "better than physical" Security and Business Continuity. VMware helps you cut costs so you can invest where it matters.

This guide explains the real world benefits of virtualization for today's small and midsize businesses, and how quickly you can get started with VMware.


Chapter 1:

Why consider virtualization?

Your business doesn't have time for IT experiments, or the budget for solutions that require an army of technicians to implement and manage. And you expect new technologies to deliver more than one-time savings and incremental improvements. You use IT to deliver real world value for your business: to maintain growth, competitiveness, and profit over the long run.

You may know virtualization as a transformative technology that has saved the world's largest companies billions of dollars in facilities, hardware, power, and cooling costs, and unlocked the promise of cloud computing. What you may not know is that virtualization delivers practical, everyday benefits for smaller IT shops like yours: innovations that will help you get more from your environment, your workday, and your budget. And VMware has brought practical, real world virtualization within reach of small and midsize businesses just like yours. See why VMware is the number-one choice of small and midsize businesses worldwide—and why it makes sense for yours.

How virtulization works

Virtualization is software that allows a single physical server (or host) to run multiple, independent virtual machines (VMs), each with its own operating system and application. It's a simple concept, with powerful effects. Virtualization works because it is:


Virtualization software runs any combination of operating systems without conflicts, on standard AMD and Intel x86 hosts.



Virtualization gives you access to all physical server resources—CPU, memory, storage, networking and peripherals—even when they're on different servers or devices.


Multiple virtual machines run on a single server, so you get higher utilization and more value from your hardware.


Virtual machines, contained within their own software 'compartments', can be provisioned, copied, backed up, and restored as easily as any other software—even while your servers are running other processes.


You can run legacy operating systems in virtual machines, to support older but mission-critical applications without maintaining obsolete, slow servers, running proprietary or unsupported operating systems, or rewriting the applications.


With virtualization, you don't need a new physical server for each new application, so you can quickly test new applications before deployment.

As the IT decision-maker for a small or midsize business, you select the technologies your business needs to compete in the real world. Virtualization gives you proven solutions to increase IT productivity, accelerate response to new opportunities, protect corporate assets and information, save money, and increase the value of your business. The next four chapters detail how virtualization can help you achieve these business benefits.


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Chapter 2:

Simplify your infrastructure,

your schedule, and your life.

Today more than ever, virtualization cuts IT complexity. IT shouldn't be so complicated. Every one of your servers, operating systems, and applications meets a real business need. But managing all those licenses, maintenance, patches, upgrades, security, and backups leaves you little time to improve operations, add new capabilites, and contribute real business value.

Virtulization sofware unlocks business applications from the limits and requirements of the hardware that runs them, and shares resources to cut IT complexity dramatically. But IT professionals at small and midsize business, operating on tight budgets with few staff, think they may lack what it takes to virtualize.

Budget—do enterprise license costs put virtulization out of reach if a company wants to start small?

Storage—is the lack of shared-storage hardware a deal-breaker for virtulization?

Training—when can mission-critical IT staff find the time to learn a completely new technology?

VMware has dissolved all those barriers, with licenese right-sized for your business, new vSphere storage technology that virtualizes the storage right on your servers, and a learning curve that puts you just hours away from benefits like these:

Simplicty—VMware consolidates your infrastructure on fewer servers, and gives you powerful automated tools to optimize and manage both virtual and physical IT environments from a single console through your web browser.


The basic vSphere 5.0 Standard Edition includes tools for thin provisioning, update management, data recovery, High Availability, and vMotion live migration of running virtual machines. Enterprise Edition adds vMotion for storage, vShield security zones, and efficient resource management capabilities. And for the ultimate in management simplicity, upgrade to Enterprise Plus Edition for full policy-based datacenter automation.

Zero-downtime maintenance—Clone, patch, upgrade, secure, and redeploy virtual machines with zero service interruption, so you don't need to delay essential maintenance, interrupt business operations, or schedule off-hours downtime to get your job done. vSphere 5.0 Edition includes everything you need to maintain your environment with no planned downtime.

Start with the storage you have—Use your shared-storage hardware, or deploy new vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) software for all the benefits of virtualization—plus High Availability, vMotion live migration, and "set and forget" automation—using the hard drives right on your servers.

Start small; learn fast—Virtualization is easier than you may think: start with two commodity servers, free trial software, and a few hours of your skills and experience. Installation wizards and fast physical-to-virtual conversion utilities speed you on your way. And once you get started, you'll never want to go back.

Easy to start, simple to run

Consolidate your infrastructure and management operations using proven, mature VMware solutions sized right for your business and budget.

vCenter screenshot

Intuitive VMware installation wizards and conversion utilities get you started quickly.


Chapter 3:

Accelerate application rollouts,

and get more done.

Virtualization speeds you through routine tasks, to multiply IT productivity. Don't let hardware hold you back. Managing hardware infrastructure is time-consuming and dull. With just one application running on each server, most of your computing assets are running near idle most of the time. But the time needed to purchase, configure, deploy, and maintain all that hardware one system at a time can take up most of your day, every day.

Use virtualization to set business applications free from their hardware constraints, and set yourself free, too—from slow, hardware-bound processes like these:

Purchasing—Requisition, approval, bid evaluation, purchase, shipping, and receiving all take up weeks before you get any value from your new server.

Testing—Creating a test and staging environment that matches your production environment takes time and patience, just when business users are pushing for quick deployment.

Provisioning—Stacking up hardware, OS, drivers, and applications slows you down even when everything goes right—and much more when it doesn't.

Deployment—Moving to a production environment often means repeating the entire process, and troubleshooting the errors that inevitably creep in.

Scaling—When you need to build out fast, hardware purchasing delays slow you down. And discontinuing or scaling back an application idles a lot of equipment.


Recovery—Servers fail at the worst possible times, and recovery is top priority. Even when you have matching hardware on hand, this is no time for physical recovery processes.

VMware virtualization platforms and management tools clear hardware obstacles out of your path, so you can work at full speed when you:

Ramp up fast—Clone virtual machines from a tested "golden image" with the correct OS, applications, and drivers to reduce the time and effort needed to redeploy applications in your new virtual environment.

Launch new applications—Bringing a new virtual machine up and running to launch a new production application takes just minutes. And you can quickly configure virtual machines the way you want, no matter what the underlying hardware.

Test before deployment—Create preproduction test platforms at will in just minutes, and decommission them when you're done—virtualization eliminates the delay and waste of hardware test environments, and the risks of rushing to production without adequate testing. This feature alone will change the way you work.

Scale up or down—Virtualized environment respond to urgent business demands at the speed they deserve. Scale up computing capacity quickly without waiting for new hardware to arrive, and redeploy unused assets without delays for hardware configuration changes.

Recover servers—Applications restart even faster than they roll out: when a server failure occurs, hands-off automatic restart minimizes service interruptions and saves your those late-night trips to the office. And in case of disaster, you can recover virtual systems in one-tenth the time needed when applications run one-for-one on physical hardware.

disaster recovery diagram

Test before deployment—Create preproduction test platforms at will in just minutes, and decommission them when you're done—virtualization eliminates the delay and waste of hardware test environments, and the risks of rushing to production without adequate testing. This feature alone will change the way you work.

Scale up or down—Virtualized environment respond to urgent business demands at the speed they deserve. Scale up computing capacity quickly without waiting for new hardware to arrive, and redeploy unused assets without delays for hardware configuration changes.


Recover servers—Applications restart even faster than they roll out: when a server failure occurs, hands-off automatic restart minimizes service interruptions and saves you those late-night trips to the office. And in case of disaster, you can recover virtual systems in one-tenth the time needed when applications run one-for-one on physical hardware.

Get the most from every minute

Stop wasting your time and talent on slow, hardware-bound routine tasks. Lighten your hardware load with virtualization and automated management tools that keep you moving at the speed of business.


Chapter 4:

Protect your infrastructure,

your data, and your business.

Virtualization keeps your business up and running. It's a tough world out there. The more hardware you manage, the more failures you need to work around or fix. A single datacenter or regional disaster can put your entire business, with all the information it depends on, at risk. And online thieves and hackers are turning their attention from enterprise targets to businesses like yours. Keeping a growing datacenter secure and protected across multiple legacy hardware platforms, operating systems, and applications can be a full-time job all in itself. But the costs of failure are too high to ignore.

VMware builds fast Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery capabilities into its virtualization solutions. So when the inevitable hardware failure, unforeseen disaster, or sneak attack manages to bring down critical infrastructure, virtualization brings your systems back up fast, and your business keeps running. And because hardware consolidation improves platform consistency, security management becomes easier and more effective.

VMware builds mature, no-compromise protection into its solutions, with firewalls between virtual machines even when they run on the same host. Advanced security options integrate with third-party solutions or apply vShield Zones security and automation features to meet the most demanding security requirements.


Business Continuity—Add "zero-touch" Business Continuity to restart applications automatically in case of system failure. Or add Fault-Tolerant Protection to run a second application copy remotely, and deliver continuous availability of your critical business services.

RAID storage—Implement Business Continuity even if you don't have shared-storage hardware. New vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) creates redundant, protected storage from commodity drives right on your servers, eliminating a single point of failure that can bring your business to a halt.

Multi-site failover—Virtualization simplifies the creation, test, and execution of Disaster Recovery (DR) plans using:

Simplified, consistent infrastructure and standardized processes for reliable, repeatable recovery.

The ability to test DR processes by recovering entire sites into virtual enviornments with no disruption of operations, and no risk to production environments.

Automated processes that deliver protection that reliably meets Recovery Point and Recovery Time objectives.

site recovery

Security and Data Protection—VMware builds network security and firewall protection into every virtual machine, and VMware VMsafe™ APIs simplify integration of third-party security products to meet even highly specialized requirements.

Plan, test, protect

Stop losing sales and customers when "the system" is down—select the industry's most mature, reliable virtualization platform, with built-in system and data protection, trusted by global multinationals and businesses like yours.


Chapter 5:

Save more, do more, earn more.

The economics of virtualization are as powerful as ever. Use all the capability you're paying for. Virtualization got its start from a powerful cost-reduction story: consolidating applications onto fewer physical servers dramatically reduces both capital and operating expenses.

Hardware—Fewer servers running at higher levels of utilization mean you get more value from expensive hardware, and leave more in your budget for investments that raise productivity and security.

Facilities, power, and cooling—Reducing the costs to house, power, and cool those servers raises productivity every working day, and makes your company a more pleasant and environmentally responsible place to work.

Management—Fewer servers and powerful tools to manage them free IT professionals from routine tasks, and unlock their talents for strategic activities that add business value.

Virtualization's capabilities for Business Continuity, security, data protection, and cloud computing may have eclipsed its cost advantages for global multinationals, but small and midsize businesses can never lose sight of the bottom line. For any ambitious but cash-strapped business, virtualization delivers immediate and permanent reductions in IT cost:


Server productivity—Applications running one-for-one on x86 physical servers typically consume between 5% and 15% of processor resources. Virtualization raises utilization to levels between 60% and 80. What's more, automated thin provisioning shifts resources to the applications with the highest business priority, so productivity improvement doesn't come at the expense of service quality.

Operating expenses—Consolidation cuts server facilities, maintenance, power, and cooling costs, reduces datacenter clutter and sprawl, and frees assets and budgets for more productive use.

A path to the cloud—Finally, virtualization opens the door to the next major development in IT cost-effectiveness, cloud infrastructure. Some business applications are subject to significant seasonal variation, must stay ready to scale broadly and quickly, or are simply unpredictable. Cloud infrastructure solutions like VMware vCloud Express offer scalability—up or down—on demand, uninterrupted performance with pay-as-you-go flexibility. Implemented through VMware and its global network of partners, vCloud Express lets you concentrate in-house resources on processes you must control, while outsourcing routine, variable, or experimental business processes to a cloud provider whose virtual infrastructure, business practices, and security protocols are completely compatible with your own.

The resulting public/private cloud infrastructure lets you position computing workloads based not on hardware constraints and financial barriers, but on common sense and business value.

Do the math

VMware offers the broadest and deepest range of virtualization and cloud solutions for growing businesses. Contact your VMware partner or representative for an analysis of your requirements, with in-depth evaluation of all the ways VMware virtualization can contribute to your business future.


Chapter 6:

Getting started.

What you'll need. Your business exists to support customers and make a profit. Virtualization makes sense over the long run because it adds minimal cost, runs on your current infrastructure and directly supports your business goals. But at a growing business, start-up time and expense are important, too. VMware has worked hard to minimize these upfront investments, so you can start seeing real improvements quickly.

These are the minimum requirements for a lightweight virtualization infrastructure that you can probably implement with hardware you already own, and free trial software. They include server, network, and storage components, and required or recommended software components. If you already have the hardware, you're just a few hours away from your first virtualization success.

Physical servers—two or more, each with:

Processors: two or more 2.0 GHz or faster Intel or AMD x86 (64-bit architecture preferred)"

Memory: two or more GB (four or more preferred)

SAS/SATA disk storage: two GB for installation, plus the total required by hosted virtual machines

Network Interface Cards: four or more (Gigabit speed highly recommended)


Network infrastructure—business grade hardware, with:

  • Gigabit speed highly recommended
  • Support for NIC teaming highly recommended
  • VLAN support recommended

Additional storage recommended—chose either:

  • Storage Area Network Hardware, with:
  • iSCSI-based SAN recommended for cost savings
  • Multipathing support highly recommended
  • Concurrent host access highly recommended
  • Storage virtualization support recommended
  • Storage-level backup support recommended
  • Or, new vSphere Storage Appliance Software

Virtualization software:

  • Virtualization management software recommended
  • External monitoring software recommended
  • Virtual backup software (optional for VMware data recovery)
  • Replication software (for disaster recovery) optional

Critical factors

Virtualization offers compelling advantages, but also requires a new way of thinking about IT. Be sure to consider these factors when choosing your solution:

Application performance

Workloads with high rates of input/output that contend for shared processor and memory resources—like databases with extremely high transaction rates—may not perform as well in virtual environments as on dedicated machines. You can easily avoid the issue: just be sure your virtualization solution includes tools to monitor system performance so you can anticipate and minimize conflicts.

Virtual machine sprawl

Virtualization reduces administrative responsibilities, but doesn't eliminate them: because it's so easy to deploy new VMs, their number tends to grow uncontrollably both inside and outside IT. Be sure to use a virtualization solution like VMware's, with monitoring tools to help you avoid VM sprawl and maintain efficiency.


Resource management

Virtualization runs multiple applications on a single hardware host, where they may compete for host CPU cycles and memory, shared storage, and network bandwidth resources. Be sure your solution includes monitoring and management tools to help identify, isolate, and resolve such conflicts. VMware virtualization software offers built-in management solutions to help your applications get all the computing, network, and storage resources they need.


Virtualization gives you fewer servers and a leaner infrastructure, reducing the number of security vulnerabilities. But be sure your virtualization software includes protection for business data, especially when it moves across a network. The VMware vShield family of products offers comprehensive virtualization-aware security, to keep your dynamic virtual environment protected.

Mature, proven VMware virtualization solutions include the monitoring and management tools you'll need to address these issues as well as the day-to-day challenges of running a business datacenter.



More information

  • Compare vSphere Kits for Small and Midsize Businesses
  • Glossary: VMware Features and Terminology
  • Real World Resources

Compare vSphere Kits for Small and Midsize Businesses

VMware vSphere© 5 Kits combine a number of vSphere licenses with vCenter for central management—everything you need to start your virtualization journey. Essentials Kits are great for smaller environments, while Acceleration kits have more advanced features and can scale to any sized environment.

Overview Server consolidation and centralized management Server consolidation and business continuity Scalable server consolidation & no planned downtime Powerful & efficient resource management Policy-based datacenter automation
Centralized Management vCenter for Essentials vCenter for Essentials vCenter Standard vCenter Standard vCenter Standard
Included Entitlement 3 servers with up to 2 processors each 3 servers with up to 2 processors each 8 Processors - scalable with additional licenses 6 Processors - scalable with additional licenses 6 Processors - scalable with additional licenses
vRam Entitlement 32 GB (19GB total) 32 GB (19GB total) 32 GB 64 GB 96 GB
vCPU Entertainment 8-way 8-way 8-way 8-way 32-way
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for VMware check check check
Thin Provisioning check check check check check
Update Manager check check check check check
vStorage APIs for Data Protection check check check check check
Data Recovery check check check check
High Availability check check check check
vMotion check check check check
Virtual Serial Port Concentrator check check
Hot Add check check
vShield Zones check check
Fault Tolerance check check
Storage APIs for Array Integration
Storage APIs for Multipathing check check
Storage vMotion check check
Distributed Resources Scheduler (DRS), Distributed Power Management(DPM) check check
Storage I/0 Control check
Network I0/ Control check
Distributed Switch check
Host Profiles check
Auto Deploy check
Storage DRS check
Profile-Driven Storage check

Glossary: VMware Features and Terminology

Centralized Management: vCenter Essentials Provides the features of vCenter Foundation, integrated with the Essentials and Essentials Plus kits.
Centralized Management: vCenter Foundation Provides tools for rapid provisioning, monitoring, and control of virtual machines in environments up to 3 vSphere hosts.
Centralized Management: vCenter Standard Provides large-scale management of VMware vSphere deployments for rapid provisioning, monitoring, orchestration, and control of virtual machines.
Data Recovery Protects data using fast agentless disk backups, with de-duplication to minimize consumption of backup disk space.
Distributed Power Management (DPM) Turns off hosts during low-load periods to reduce power consumption.
Distributed Resources Scheduler (DRS) Balances loads across hosts to align resource consumption with business priorities.
Distributed Switch Aggregates networks at the cluster level to provide centralized provisioning, administration and monitoring.
Fault Tolerance Assures continuous application availability with zero data loss in the event of physical server (host) failure.

Glossary: VMware Features and Terminology

High Availability Provides automated restart of virtual machines following physical machine (host) failure.
Host Profiles Adds CPU and memory to running virtual machines as needed to prevent disruption or downtime.
Network I/O Control Monitors I/O loads over the network and dynamically allocates I/O resources to information flows to prioritize network access according to business requirements.
RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) Improves storage reliability by distributing data by sharing or replicating data across multiple independent hard drives.
Storage I/O Control Monitors I/O loads of storage volumes and dynamically allocates I/O resources to virtual machines to prioritize storage access according to business requirements.
Storage vMotion Migrates live VM disk files across storage arrays to avoid application downtime during planned storage maintenance.
Thin Provisioning Reduces storage requirements without degrading performance by expanding or contracting dynamic storage to meet the requirements of a virtual machine.
Update Manager Reduces remediation time by automating tracking, patching, and updating of vSphere hosts and virtual-machine operating systems and applications.

Glossary: VMware Features and Terminology

Virtual Serial Port Concentrator Connects virtual machines over the network to serial port consoles on any server.
vMotion Migrates running VMs between hosts, for example to eliminate application downtime during planned server maintenance.
vShield Zones Maintains multiple security zones across shared hosts, not separate physical environments, to simplify security management in virtual environments.
vStorage APIs for Array Integration Applies efficient array operations to storage to improve scalability and performance.
vStorage APIs for Data Protection Integrates vSphere with third-party backup software to achieve scalable backup without disrupting running applications. Allows centralized backups of VMs without disruption and overhead created by running backup tasks inside virtual machines.
vStorage APIs for Multipathing Integrates vSphere with multi-path software offered by third-party storage vendors, to improve I/O reliability and performance.

Real World Resources

Download additional VMware self-service resources help you install, configure and troubleshoot VMware vSphere