By now, you might have a virtual datacenter, and whether by design or happenstance, you might have some extra capacity in reserve. Rather than letting it sit idle, why not utilize it for some small, temporary projects? Since creating and starting a virtual machine takes minutes instead of hours, and the resources invested can be recovered just as quickly, its relatively easy to explore options which you might not have had time for before. Maybe you can solve a problem you’ve been struggling with, or discover new capabilities for your business. Here’s a few ideas.

If your company still doesn’t have a blog, it can be a great way for your employees to connect and communicate with your market in a regular and timely manner. If you’re already blogging on LiveJournal or some other blog community, you might want to bring it in-house, to take greater control over your blog’s capabilities or user experience, or to consolidate staff blogs in a single location.

Managing a modern, complex web site can be made easier using a CMS, or content management system. A CMS can help you think about your website as separate design, structure, and content layers, and work with these layers separately for best effect. It can also help decentralize maintenance and updating, while enforcing consistency across the site. Some blog software can double as a basic CMS, but there are many systems capable of much heavier duty.

A photo gallery, either public or private, can provide a single, controlled repository of photos taken by your company of products, processes, and publicity events for reference or use in blogs, training, etc.

As your business grows, you may reach a point where email can’t keep up with your customer support needs. A support ticketing system offers a single, shared repository of customer issues and responses which can be used and referenced by everyone on your staff.

Wikis can be a great solution for collaborative knowledge management and documentation. An internal wiki could be used to document and maintain your company’s documentation on everything from products to processes and policies. Pages can be created in the wiki for ad hoc planning and documentation of individual projects.

Have more ideas on what else you could use your VDC for? Post them in the comments!