Accelerating change in technology has brought increased competition, new marketing channels and innovative business models making it difficult for companies to keep up. Fortunately, the problem is also the solution. Change creates opportunity.
In this article, we will discuss virtualization, one of the key enabling technologies of cloud computing.
Virtualization Creates Options
Virtualization technology creates new, more flexible working and process options for companies without an investment in expensive hardware infrastructure. Virtualization technology is powerful and it’s here today.
An excellent example of what virtualization means to business is a California bookkeeping firm. This firm has no central office, employees in multiple states, data for multiple clients secured in multiple remote locations, and simultaneous access by employees and their clients at anytime from anywhere. Through virtualization technology, this business is 40 percent more efficient and with 85 percent lower IT costs than the standard business model of employees coming to the office and transferring data back and forth from clients’ computers. Similar stories exist in other industries.
What is Virtualization?
Virtualization is the decoupling of a computer’s operating system, applications and data from the underlying physical hardware. With hardware virtualization, physical machines can be home to multiple virtual machines, with their associated applications, which are easily moved from one physical machine to another. CPU utilization goes up, efficiency goes up and maintenance is simplified. Failover capabilities automatically move a virtual machine to another physical machine when hardware fails.
With virtualization and the Internet, hardware can be located or accessed anywhere in the world. Physical servers become a resource to be shared among multiple operating systems, applications and departments. With desktop virtualization, desktop computers can be simplified, standardized and maintained more easily. On-site IT staff can be reduced or eliminated. Virtualization allows computing resources to be consumed via the cloud like a utility, that is, pay for what you use.
Multiple configuration options of managed virtualized environments allow companies to meet individualized needs to achieve a variety of goals:
- Private cloud – more control
- Public cloud – lower cost
- Hybrid cloud – best of both worlds
- Virtualized on-premise servers – total control
- Virtualized desktops – standardized experience across multiple devices
A private cloud, or hosting using dedicated resources, opens up access from anywhere while still providing control and data security. Hybrid clouds combine the cost savings of a public cloud with the advantages of private clouds. Virtualization of on-premise hardware can make better use of computing resources and reduce the number of servers required while keeping physical hardware on-site. Virtualization on the cloud transfers nearly all of the technical challenges to a remote data center meaning that businesses can get along just fine without an IT team or managed service provider (MSP).
Today’s cloud and mobile technologies enable more cooperative work forces with real time data updates working in virtualized environments. Centralized resources with universal access simplify and expand collaboration. An employee’s virtual desktop can be accessed from the office, the laptop at home or the tablet on the road, all providing access to the same resources with the same experience.
With the ability to access the same application and desktop experience from anywhere in the world knowledge workers collaborate without the headaches of synchronization and the risk of important data on their hardware getting lost or stolen. Security is tight, but access is unlimited.
A Better Way to Work
Because of virtualization, businesses enjoy lower startup costs and access to enterprise-class computing without being tied to a physical location. Such a virtual business enjoys increased access to knowledge workers, and lower overhead. Many of the limitations on starting or growing a business are removed making the opportunities endless. The new possibilities include:
• Multiple offices across the country sharing the same applications and data;
• Enterprise-class solutions and security available to any business at an affordable price;
• Mobile access and bring your own device (BYOD); and
• Telecommuting employees.
- The benefits of virtualization are compelling:
- Lower costs and less travel;
- Increased productivity;
- Improved performance;
- Faster setup and less downtime;
- Better application integration;
- Less IT maintenance; and
- More time to grow the business.
Freedom to Grow
The fading paradigm of distributed computing, marked by powerful desktop PCs with locally installed applications and expensive maintenance is giving way to a more standardized, efficient computing model, the world of virtualization and the cloud. With anywhere, anytime access and greater efficiency at a lower cost we have entered the information age without limits. It all adds up to the freedom to focus on what’s most important and more time to grow the business.