Businesses are under increasing pressure to modernize their information technology resources to increase efficiency, reduce operating costs and negate the pressure on IT departments. You’ve probably heard about virtualization before as one of the key areas of business computing. Perhaps you’ve even written it off as something that only massive global enterprises need to worry about.
Virtualization sounds like an incredibly complex field, but it’s not nearly as daunting as it may seem. In computing, virtualization refers to a virtual, rather than actual, IT resource. It allows for a single physical machine, typically a server, to fulfill multiple roles simultaneously. With virtualization, each role is carried out in a separate virtual environment which would otherwise occupy multiple computers.
Virtualization is analogous in many ways to having a perfectly organized office space. The technology may be applied to many core IT processes, such as data storage, IT service management or even entire desktop operating platforms. It allows a single machine to act as many individual terminals. However, without going into the complexities of virtualization, it’s perhaps better to introduce it by way of the core benefits it presents to businesses:
#1. More Efficient Use of Computing Resources
Having one physical machine performing for every individual computing task is rarely the most efficient way to handle the entirety of a business’s IT processes. It’s like having a huge office space that’s only got one employee working in it.
Virtualization, on the other hand, allows you to run multiple operating environments from a single server. By using the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) computing model, employees can use “thin clients” for accessing the computing resources defined by the server. The server system itself defines individual virtual machines which, when accessed through a thin client, effectively function as full-blown computers.
#2. Reduced Operating Costs
Because virtualization means more efficient use of actual computing resources, it also leads to reduced operating costs. Instead of having multiple expensive and powerful workstation computers in your office, you only need one server and a network of thin clients. These thin clients are stripped-down machines that only need to run a very basic operating system that’s used to connect to the server. Almost all the computing work itself, including data storage, is carried out on the server system. This translates into reduced operating costs, both in terms of electrical bills and maintenance.
#3. Centralized Management
It’s much easier to look after one server than multiple servers and workstations. Owing to their simplicity, thin clients themselves require minimal maintenance, and they’re easy to set up. Since the server hosts all the operating environments, data storage and other hardware, there are fewer things that can go wrong. Of course, you’ll want to ensure that everything is backed up and, unless you rely on a cloud-based service provider, it’s also wise to have a redundant server just in case things go wrong. Centralized management also translates into fewer potential security holes, since sensitive corporate information will be hosted only on the server rather than multiple physical machines.
#4. Increased Uptime
It’s common knowledge that downtime equates to lost business, so it’s imperative that you keep it to a minimum. Modern virtualization platforms have evolved to a level where they offer features to increase uptime and make business continuity easier. When it comes to upgrading or troubleshooting your computing resources, there’s typically only one physical machine to worry about. One of the greatest benefits of all, however, is that you can easily transfer virtual machines between servers instead of having to set everything up all over again. Even long-distance migrations between different data centers are easier, requiring minimal, if any, downtime.
#5. Easier Cloud Migration
Cloud computing has become one of the most pervasive buzzwords in the world of IT, but not without good reason. Thanks to the fact that you can now virtualize even server systems themselves, there’s often no reason to maintain a data center at all. Instead of having to maintain any on-premises server hardware (other than thin clients), you can now run your virtualized operating environments online through the Web. This technology makes virtualization more accessible to SMBs than ever before, since maintenance, upgrades and physical storage are all taken care of by a service provider. These days, a private cloud-based virtualization platform can fulfill just about every corporate computing need.
Virtualization may be a highly technical subject for many business owners, but it makes IT management a breeze and guarantees results. To experience the benefits of virtualized workspace for your business, contact Spectrumwise. We manage everything about your virtualized infrastructured, from the planning to deployment to maintenance.