Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Virtualization for the Small Business, Part III

My last two posts in this series presented an introduction to server virtualization and the bottom-line benefits it can provide for small businesses.  This short post will wrap up the series by focusing on a few popular low-cost server virtualization systems for the small business.

VMWare Virtual Server - $Free
While VMWare just made their step-up system, ESXi, available free of charge, Virtual Server is more appropriate for the small business with its ability to run on just about any hardware.  This system is my top pick for creating virtual environments for customers, as the newest release candidate provides a fantastic web interface for managing virtual machines from any location.  It's also quite fast and can be built on a very low-overhead linux system.  All in all, it's a very mature, fairly speedy system with fantastic value and flexibility.

XenExpress - $Free
This is an extremely popular program from the Xen division at Citrix.  Based off the open source Xen system, XenExpress provides a robust bare-metal infrastructure, meaning it does not require a host operating system to work.  This reduces overhead, but means that the hardware compatibility is not quite as strong as VMWare Server, resulting in higher server hardware costs.  Overall, XenExpress is a solid product with fantastic speed and features, but not quite as easy to use or flexible as VMWare Server.  Also, while VMWare server doesn't have a limit on how many virtual machines can reside on a physical machine, the free version of XenExpress limits you to four.  That's been a major roadblock in my deploying this with any customers.

Microsoft HyperV - $Free with Server 2008 or standalone
The jury's out on this one, as it has been very recently released.  Suffice to say it's got a small army of developers behind it, but it remains to be seen if it can avoid the bloat and interoperability problems we've seen with many of Microsoft's IT products.

Michael O'Brien is a partner at Praece Strategic Technology Consulting, helping small and medium businesses align technology plans with business goals.

1 comment:

  1. If you would like a tool to manage your small business activities and Projects, you can use this aplication:


    You can use it to manage and prioritize your Goals (for business but also in other areas of your life), Projects and Tasks. It has a Checklists section, for the routines and repetitive activities that any business has to do. Also, it features a Schedules section and a Calendar, for scheduling you time and activities.

    Some features from GTD are also present, like Contexts and Next Actions.

    And it's available on the mobile phone too, so you can access it from anywhere.