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.