– Adam Stern, founder and CEO of Infinitely Virtual, says:

While there’s a certain warm fuzzy to the “consumerization of IT,” it’s a fact that industrial-strength infrastructure can’t be had on the cheap, assembled, Lego-like, from a grabbag of components snagged from the local RadioShack.  Yet that’s precisely the State of Virtualization 2013.

This breed of virtualization has rapidly fed a cottage industry, doing a disservice to organizations that deserve a real alternative to pricey, often ungainly, enterprise solutions.  Yet there is a middle ground. Businesses need to look for the highest functioning environment that fits their budget.  Anything else will cost more – perhaps much more – in the long run.

File this under “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Businesses simply cannot scrimp on security, support, basic hardware and the like.  It’s not possible to buy a firewall at Fry’s and call it “security,” or install Hyper-V on a consumer PC and call it “virtualization.”  Building a Virtual Dedicated Server hosting environment requires collaboration among professionals from every discipline.  What matters is the quality of the total package – the equipment, the software, the support, the intangibles that, in the end, define the solution — not the marketing involved in selling something that truly can’t deliver.

In the cloud, as on the ground, it’s caveat emptor.  Businesses need to know that virtualization/cloud hosting isn’t a commodity business, and that some vendors do emulate the so-called big players in the quality of the environments they build and the kind of support they provide.  It’s entirely possible to provide high function at modest cost, but doing so requires expertise, experience and a genuine understanding of what businesses need.  Qualitatively, the differences between these carefully crafted environments and the majors is marginal.  This fusion of quality and value is actually something of a breakthrough, but taking advantage of it does require that businesses be discerning about their options.

Another recent survey revealed that, three to one, IT decision makers prefer cloud providers who deliver solid customer service and tech support – even if those providers charge more. 

Of course, you can’t really put a price on downtime.  Or as Dirty Harry observed in a somewhat different context, “you’ve got to ask yourself one question – do I feel lucky?”