How to find the virtualization service that is right for you

The use of virtualization services has grown immensely over the past decade.  From its enterprise roots, smaller and smaller companies found that it was a very cost-effective way of implementing servers and creating test beds for their applications.

This was especially true as competition among software manufacturers heated up in the virtualization segment.  VMware started offering a free version as did Sun and then Oracle.  Microsoft brought their offering forward around the same time. As the companies differentiated themselves well in the marketplace, cloud-based virtualization firms like Amazon entered the fray, providing online virtualization and a host of other storage solutions.

Cloud Computing Today

Today, when choosing virtualization services there are a plethora of choices that are segmented by product functionality; for those seeking to run internal servers, webservices, and private cloud types of offerings, the answer has been to determine whether or not it makes sense from both a financial and security standpoint to invest in public cloud-based services.  In cases where proprietary data should never be exposed to a major external security threat, it follows that a console-based virtualization package that supports an extensive array of operating environments is preferable.  Getting behind one or more platforms and building a library of images that can be served from the same in-house controller is a major advantage for small firms.

If the scope of your work becomes larger, such as when your company decides to move to a cloud-based environment, the choices become spending development time to create a private cloud with one of several packages or using third-party web-based virtualization partners.  In that scenario, security is a factor that often weighs in favor of the third-party web-based partners.  They often have extremely secure datacenters- and the migration of several Fortune 500 companies to their offerings can mean that it is oftentimes more expensive to handle the security for all of your mobile users in-house.

Comparing Storage Solutions

If your firm is considering both a move to a cloud environment or virtualization of applications and wanting to compare storage solutions, the price of moving data and applications online may be more than the initial outlay for in-house virtualization software alone.  Web-based storage, however, will usually be very price competitive with in-house storage and be less prone to either failure or downtime.

Another option many firms have chosen is to blend their virtualization strategy, purchasing virtualization software for use in-house and using it to create virtual images and storage space online through a web-based vendor.  The benefits of this approach include standardization of technology and greater flexibility in co-locating functionality and service across a large geographic area.

Ultimately, most virtualization decisions boil down to price, security, and functionality.  With a large number of competing vendors and services providing virtualization services, there are plenty of solutions available for every size organization and budget.

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