With new technology coming and going at a break-neck pace, one thing seems evident: virtualization and cloud computing are here to stay. With 37% of servers in the U.S. now running in a virtual environment, the technology has matured far out of the “early adopter” stages and can provide huge benefits to businesses of all sizes – not just large enterprises. Here are 4 things your small-to-midsize business could doing with virtualization:
1. Simplify Desktop Support
Whether you are setting up a new employee, recovering from a virus infection or hardware failure, or installing the latest rounds of updates for software, desktop support is time-consuming for any business. Regardless of whether you outsource these duties, it will cost your business either time or money – two things that are always in short supply. Desktop support costs have exploded ever since we moved from simple “dumb terminals” to the powerhouse feature-rich workstations used today.
The field of Desktop Virtualization promises to reverse this trend. In a way, we are coming full circle back to the days of early mainframe computing – now armed with powerful x86 hardware and new virtualization technology. Desktop Virtualization, and its counterpart Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), takes your entire desktop (OS, Apps, and Data) and moves it to a centralized server. End-users stream their desktop and applications down to a local machine, which can be an experience made nearly-seamless to them with the right technology. By consolidating desktop images and utilizing server resources to provide the computing power, we unlock huge potential in the area of desktop support. Workstations can now be simple, inexpensive thin clients that function as little more than input/output devices. Data management, backup, and recovery are centralized. Application compatibility is a null issue, operating system migrations are a breeze, and security is much tighter. Even remote access is simpler – most VDI technologies are capable of getting your desktop streamed to just about any device with an internet connection.
2. Consolidate Servers
The real power and driving force for virtualization comes from the consolidation of workloads and better utilization of resources. What does this mean for your business though? Cost savings! Let’s take an example: A small business with three servers, each running a different workload. At any given time, on average, a physical server uses about 10-15% its CPU. However, each server may need to “peak” to 100%. What we then have is a business that purchased computing power that is rarely ever used. By combining those workloads on a single physical server, running 3 virtual servers, we are able to better utilize those resources while still giving each workload its own dedicated operating system.
Our consultants regularly consolidate workloads of a dozen or more servers down to one or two. Not only are we able to save the client on upfront hardware costs, but also on power, cooling, and maintenance costs that would have been largely wasted.
3. Improve disaster recovery planning
Now that we have consolidated our servers and desktops to a central location, business continuity becomes an entirely different conversation. Instead of maintaining and monitoring backup jobs for several machines spread all across your organization, we can instead focus on a handful of servers and storage. Additionally, technology that used to be expensive and out-of-reach for the SMB market, like site replication, becomes affordable and accessible to businesses with just one or two servers.
4. Increase I.T. Agility
The term “I.T. Agility” may not mean much to your organization – until you find yourself losing money while you wait for those new servers to arrive or that replacement desktop to be setup. With modern virtualization technologies, provisioning resources takes a matter of minutes, not weeks. For our clients who virtualize, we can rapidly stand up entirely new servers from scratch with very little lead time. If you’ve virtualized your desktops as well, getting new employees working can be equally simple.