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5 Virtualization Solutions for Small Businesses

Sara Angeles

Virtualization isn't just for large corporations and enterprises. Although many virtualization solutions are catered toward bigger companies, there are several that also let small businesses simplify their IT and provide employees with anytime, anywhere, any-device-access to resources.

Whether you're interested in desktop virtualization, workspace virtualization, network virtualization, automating IT tasks or other time- and money-saving virtualization services, some providers make it easier and more affordable for small businesses to do so. Below are five small business-friendly virtualization solutions.

1. VMware

As a pioneer in the virtualization industry, VMware offers a wide range of virtualization products and services that make IT less costly and easier to manage for all types of companies, including small businesses. Its end-to-end solutions include the VMware vSphere with Operations Management, a virtualization platform known for its high reliability and used by businesses around the world. It delivers powerful computing that can handle multiple workloads with maximum uptime and optimum performance. It also offers headache-saving features, such as simplified network services and administration, consistent IT task automation, efficient storage systems and robust security to protect users' data and applications.

VMware pricing varies. Find the right VMware solution for your business by taking VMware's 3-minute survey or search for a provider using VMware's partner locator. [Read Related Article: Virtualization vs. Cloud Computing: What's the Difference?]

2. Citrix

Citrix, the makers of remote desktop tool GoToMyPC and online collaboration tools GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar, also offers several virtualization solutions suitable for small businesses. One such solution is VDI-in-a-Box, a scalable desktop virtualization service. VDI-in-a-Box is easy to deploy and manage. Anyone with Windows expertise can centrally manage the service and grant user access, reducing desktop management costs like hiring IT specialists and virtualization experts and purchasing extra equipment and multiple software. Another option is XenApp Fundamentals, a turnkey solution that lets small businesses easily, instantly and securely virtualize applications for the entire organization.

Small businesses can purchase these and other Citrix virtualization solutions by downloading the free trial, visiting the Citrix Store or locating a Citrix partner or reseller.

3. IBM

From virtualizing desktops to servers and storage, IBM offers many types of virtualization solutions that lower cost and maximize agility for small businesses. Using VMware's virtualization platform, IBM's virtualization services offer improved IT services by providing an enterprise-class IT infrastructure on a small business budget. IBM Express Servers, for instance, is designed specifically for SMBs. Users can choose from four different plans based on their requirements: the popular IBM System x, the easy to deploy IBM Power Systems, the multi-server IBM BladeCenter or the advanced IBM PureFlex System Express.

Contact IBM or find an IBM business partner for pricing information.

4. Pertino

Network virtualization costs time and money. Pertino, however, lets small businesses quickly build one using a virtual private network (VPN) that can be ready in a matter of minutes instead of hours, days, weeks or even months. This cloud-based VPN doesn't require any expensive hardware or maintenance. Simply add users, launch, and Pertino takes care of all the configuration. Small businesses can virtualize the entire office, keeping everyone connected and ready to collaborate, wherever they are. Pertino's LAN-like service also delivers improved user experience, making IT resources like files, applications and printers readily available as though users were in the office. Other features include end-to-end data protection, optimized uptime and performance, and complete visibility and control of workers and devices.

Pertino is free for up to three devices. Users can upgrade as needed with subscriptions starting at $29 a month for additional devices. Pertino also promises no upfront costs, hidden fees or long-term commitments.

5. Symantec

Symantec offers both virtualization and virtualization security solutions. For instance, its Workspace Virtualization service makes it easy to centrally deliver apps and manage devices, while security packages minimize the risks of migrating to and using virtualized environments. Although virtualization providers have their own security measures in place, Symantec offers further protection and complete backup and security solutions for virtualized environments. Its VMware-integrated security system aims to deliver comprehensive protection, enabling businesses to quickly recover critical data and applications in the event of a disaster or security breach. Symantec also provides end-to-end security visibility, threat detection and other safeguards for all virtual machines. This protection is extended to physical environments, delivering continuity across all devices in the organization.

Symantec's virtualization security solutions can be purchased online or via one of Symantec's specialized partners. Trialware programs are also available.

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