Businesses that are ready to move toward a virtualized infrastructure need to consider all sides of implementation costs when developing their IT budget for 2014. Contrary to popular perception, making the full move to a virtualized environment involves three different kinds of costs associated with IT projects: hardware, software, and labor.
SMBs face a number of IT challenges- soaring hardware costs, under-utilization of hardware, over-utilization of employees, security vulnerabilities and decreasing storage space. All organizations struggle with one or more of these challenges, but SMBs in particular have limited bandwidth for dealing with these difficulties. Virtualization can help reduce, or even eliminate, some of these issues completely. Let's examine a few ways that virtualization can help your SMB become leaner and more efficient with its IT operations.
Companies that wish to vet and/or implement a virtualization strategy using VMware's products can benefit from using an IT consulting firm in their search, where one or more of the experts on staff possess the high-level certification known as VMware Certified Professional (VCP). Earning the certification requires candidates to complete VMware-authorized training courses pass several rigorous exams.
Some businesses and organizations that have already implemented a managed services approach as part of their IT solutions suite may already have heard of "block level storage virtualization," but for others, the term will be a new one.
Microsoft Hyper-V is its third generation virtualization software available as part of Server 2012 or as a free standalone package. Even though its core offering is free, you'll now gain features that you previously would have expected to pay for. This can certainly be a game changer to organizations looking to save money on licensing while benefiting their IT infrastructure. Let's look at some of Hyper-V's biggest highlights.
Network environments in business are changing on a constant basis, but the typical system to authenticate and verify users' identities tends to be inflexible. Many packages that seek to deliver secure authentication assume that the environment is homogenous, which implies that it is unchanging as well. Directory integration, however, can be streamlined and improved using virtualization technologies that go beyond the assumption that all systems are operating on an SSO (single sign on) basis.
One of the largest trends in the world of business computing is converged architecture, which is widely seen as one of the best IT solutions for addressing the increasing sprawl of IT resources. As companies have added networking devices, servers, and storage units to their systems over time, they have seen more and more "silos" develop in their infrastructure.
The world of technology continues to evolve with the demand for better business solutions. Technological advancements, in IT especially, have become driven by capitalism as demand becomes greater for more streamlined and less expensive operational models. One on-trend new offering that aims to streamline business operations and promote collaboration among employees is VMware's Project Octopus. The "first viable Enterprise cloud file sharing application" promises to be the next big advancement for the modern business model in cloud computing, mobility, virtualization, and other key areas of IT impacting the way businesseses function today. Project Octopus boasts the ability to enable users to collaborate easier in a BYOD-focused market; many are calling it the start of a PC-free era in business.
To protect the privacy and integrity of this information, IT security administrators monitor systems for vulnerabilities, following HIPAA security compliance standards. When a system has a large number of devices to monitor, it provides more opportunity for intrusions to occur. Internal IT teams do their best, but manually auditing security processes may not be an adequate solution to the problem. It can take large amounts of time both to implement and then to maintain the measures to protect the organization adequately from viruses and other attacks. That is why many healthcare organizations decide to outsource in order to satisfy compliance standards. Outsourcing a business's security and streamlining the monitoring process also allows for a more effective and secure networked.
The first step for healthcare providers to become compliant is to ensure that their internal policies are in accordance with HIPAA standards. When these standards are followed, patient data is more likely to remain private and secure, and the healthcare provider is seen as a dependable, reliable, and trustworthy entity. To help maintain compliance, the use of virtualization can be a successful solution.
Virtualization is the creation of a virtual (rather than physical) machine on an existing device, such as a hardware platform, operating system or storage device. Building a secure network and maintaining a vulnerability management program on fewer machines allows IT professionals to spend less time monitoring and maintaining the security of their devices. Through virtualization, a healthcare provider's IT department can efficiently:
- Protect confidential data and critical IT systems, prevent loss of data, and automate an organization's compliance policies and processes
- Develop solutions that increase a healthcare organization's business and IT agility
- Automatically identify and protect databases and storage devices that contain sensitive and private data like social security numbers and credit card information
- Create practical policies that ensure patient privacy
- Secure IT systems while meeting compliance requirements
In 2004, EMC Corporation purchased a company called VMware. EMC, a well known company for their information management, data storage, and other related services, purchased VMware to expand their presence in the virtualization space. VMware provides virtualization software, which enables one physical machine to act as several, independent ones. There are many advantages in terms of data storage of this partnership.
What the EMC/VMware integration means for your business:
Many organizations use on-site storage for their most sensitive data. This allows them to access the data whenever it is needed and without delay. Additionally, the organization can also protect that data physically using preferred means. But this solution may not work for all organizations. Sometimes storage solutions, especially for companies in the New York area, may be better hosted off-site by a third party vendor. It can allow for greater and more efficient growth of the business, increased performance of employees who are able to attend to their own tasks, as well as greater cost savings. Here is an example of how one law firm benefited greatly by using an outsourced storage solution.
At the time, Blank Rome LLP, one the largest law firms in the United States, was having issues their current storage solution. Firstly, the law firm was running out of physical storage space. Also, because the firm was growing quickly, the amount of data that they produced was steadily growing, data backups were overlapping into other critical windows, which was leading to potential loss of data, time waste, and frustration on the part of the IT staff. Recognizing that their current solution was not working for them anymore, they decided that they needed a new storage solution strategy.
To begin, they required a clear plan of what was wrong with their current model and what was needed in the new one. Also, Blank Rome LLP needed to find a vendor who had both the experience and expertise to provide a solution that could be flexible and scalable to adapt with the law firm’s changing needs.
They were able to partner with a vendor who created a powerful and flexible private cloud for the law firm. They virtualized almost all of their infrastructure, using virtual machines across the world. For disaster recovery, they used a site 300 miles away and allowed for continuous replication of data so that even in the case of critical issues, access to the latest data was always possible. Data backups could be conducted successfully without interfering in regular operations. All this allowed for more streamlined operations, greater access to data, more efficient usage of time, and cost savings ranging in the millions. Finally, physical space was freed up, operations were more efficient, employees were left to focus on their tasks, and the vendor could apply their customized expertise exactly when and where it was needed.
Although these types of storage solutions may not work for every organization, it can certainly work for many. Your current solution may not be the best solution long-term. Understanding the storage needs of an organization and determining if these needs are being met, with room for growth, is the first step to ensuring efficient business operations and the continuous ability for growth. To schedule an assessment of your network's data storage and backup needs, contact an iCorps representative today.
Having a business that is unaffected by disasters would be a dream come true for almost everyone. Disasters that threaten business continuity could be due natural disasters such as storms which wipe out the entire office or even floods. These disasters should not dictate whether or not business activities proceed. Thanks to Virtualization of business processes, business recovery is now a possibility.
In order to understand the ways in which VMware virtualization can assist a small or medium-sized company, it is important to first comprehend the various components that make up its flagship product, vCenter Server.
The virtualization leader, VMware, has undergone some significant changes at the top recently. The new CEO is Pat Gelsinger, who was an executive at VMware’s parent company, EMC – though some of you may know him from his lengthy career in senior positions at Intel. His predecessor in the meantime, Paul Maritz, has moved on to become chief strategist at EMC.
Cloud computing allows businesses and other organizations to move their computer functions to the internet from internal networks. This relieves the entity from having to maintain expensive IT equipment, such as servers, programs, and other networking solutions. It also allows for a reduction of expensive IT personnel. The overall savings can be very significant, depending on the size of the organization and its computer operations. At the same time, entities are able to provide greater flexibility to an increasingly mobile work force and as a result experience greater efficiency from the workforce. The downside is that when an entity moves its computer functions to the internet it becomes a big target for cyber criminals that want to steal sensitive information, hence the big security concerns.
Cloud computing services are provided by third parties and the entities involved are dependent on those third parties to provide adequate security measures. In turn, however the third party service providers are depending on each entity to do its part. Security is only as strong as the weakest link and if one entity has lower security concerns that the rest there will be increased vulnerability for all. Most security breaches occur because of actions from inside the entity. An employee carries out an action that opens a door to unauthorized access. This can happen through carelessness, an employee being duped by some outside party or by a disgruntled employee. Security awareness among employees of each entity should be considered essential to maintaining overall security for each entity in the cloud.
For many entities, given the right IT security solutions, there is really no reason not to move IT functions to the cloud. They can increase efficiency and effectiveness while decreasing costs and simplifying IT processes and functions for all parties involved. The purchase of Virtuata by Cisco means that other cloud computing service providers will need to up their game, regarding IT security, in order to remain competitive. Security professionals must strive to stay ahead of cyber criminals who are always working to find new and innovative ways to breach security. The firm(s) that provides the best IT security will dominate in the cloud computing arena. Cisco has made a good move with the purchase of Virtuata and is poised to increase its footprint in the cloud computing arena in a big way.
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, also known as US-CERT, has identified a huge threat to your company's IT security. Several 64-bit operating systems as well as virtualization applications using Intel processors are at risk of being exploited by a "local privilege escalation attack." The exposed operating system are based on x86-64 architecture, including Windows Server 2003 SP2, Server 2008 R2; Windows 7, NetBSD, FreeBSD, and operating systems utilizing XenServer Hypervisor.
Your SMB faces a number of IT challenges - soaring hardware costs, under-utilization of hardware, over-utilization of employees, security vulnerabilities and decreasing storage space. These are just a few of the issues that virtualization helps reduce or eliminated completely. Let's look deeper into how it can help your SMB become leaner and more efficient with its IT operations.
The most widely used virtualization software in the world is VMware, but other platforms do exist. One maker of such software, a firm called Parallels, is currently in an unenviable position: looking into claims that its flagship 'Plesk Panel' program lacks sufficient IT security. Plesk Panel is not itself a virtualization platform, but it rather an administrative tool that helps website managers administer Web hosting servers and perform other tasks related to the management of a website.
VMware, the world's leading provider of virtualization platforms, has this week announced Serengeti, an open source project that will allow SMBs and other organizations to enjoy simple deployment and management of Hadoop in both cloud and virtual computer ecosystems. Hadoop is a tool that helps organizations deal with 'big data' needs. The move is widely regarded as VMware positioning itself to be the ideal provider of virtualization needs for organizations running Hadoop, but it will also help fulfill VMware's eventual goal of being an important player when it comes to integrating big data into cloud environments.
Virtualization has changed the business world for the definite better in a number of key ways, but perhaps nowhere more so than in the area of backup and restoration. IT support specialists used to claim that backing up data was a snap, while restoring it when needed could be a major headache. Virtualization, however, has vastly changed that scenario, almost turning it on its head. Once VMs (virtual machines) have been successfully backed up, it can be quite fast and simple to restore data as needed.
In any environment leveraging virtualization, an important consideration must be the system's ability to provide thorough and comprehensive backups. One powerful means for restoring virtual machines is an image-backup arrangement instead of the file-based system that is a common option for non-virtualized computer systems.
The world's leading platform for virtualization is VMware.
Many SMBs have found the switch to desktop virtualization highly beneficial, but this does not mean that the technology is appropriate in every business circumstance. Each SMB must evaluate how well this type of end-user computing will meet its own particular needs. Such an evaluation should include several key considerations.
According to Jesse Lipson, Vice President and Data Sharing General Manager for virtualization leader Citrix, the company's main plan for the smartphone and tablet market is to leverage its web interface, CloudGateway 2, to provide applications to mobile devices, including full support for native HTML 5, iOS and Android apps. Lipson acknowledges, however, that many companies are not yet ready for the MAM (mobile application management) paradigm. Instead, small and medium-sized businesses are just beginning to dip their toes into mobile workflow by adopting MDM (mobile device management) systems.
Hyper-V version 3.0 is the virtualization platform that will ship along with the newest version of Windows Server, expected to become available to small and medium-sized business customers later this year. Windows Server 2012 will change the requirements the platform has regarding the need for shared storage. Previous versions of Hyper-V did not officially require shared storage, but some of its most useful features were only available when such storage was available.
When the internet was new, early adopters had very little idea of just how far ranging its applications would become. What seemed at first to be an information repository, sort of a virtual encyclopedia-on-demand, quickly morphed into far more, offering functions as diverse as streaming video, online shopping carts, and real-time stock tickers. Virtualization is a similar technology in this sense: it can actually be used to accomplish diverse objectives, all of which prove to be of huge benefit to small and medium-sized businesses.
Businesses that are considering a move to virtualization will want to pay close attention to recent developments at VMware, the world's leading platform for virtualized work environments. VMware has recently announced that vSphere 5 will be based on a new model for software licensing. Instead of organizing licensing around the number of CPU cores with memory, the new model envisions licensing as an entitlement of virtual RAM (random access memory) for each CPU in the system. This new model requires businesses to closely consider the allocation they are licensing, since without such considerations, it is possible that the business would not have enough licensing available to be able to launch a new VM when needed.
Virtualization is a powerful technology that allows businesses a simple and streamlined way to view all of the resources controlled by the hypervisor. These include not just memory and networked resources but also the CPU itself. In addition, a virtual application can be manipulated in highly efficient ways without any need for a physical copy of the application to be involved. In this way, applications can be rapidly reconfigured and redeployed as needed to speed workflow and serve the needs of the employees processing that workflow. A final advantage of virtualization is the way in which it allows for both servers and desktops to be consolidated and available on demand.
Even small businesses are now seriously beginning to consider the benefits of virtualization because of its ability to improve productivity even as it reduces costs. IT solutions that incorporate virtualization can be used in a variety of different ways to achieve these ends.
One of the most important players when it comes to virtualization technologies is VMware. As of lately, the company is attempting something new with an update to its vFabric application. The idea behind vFabric is to allow virtualization customers to make better use of the VMware cloud stack. The prior version of the VMware suite lacked some capabilities, which turned out to be core functionality for some customers; among these was a database system.
Virtualization is a computing term that refers to the creation of a virtual solution to a problem rather than a ‘real’ or physical solution. For all intents and purposes, the virtual idea could have the same look, but not feel, of the physical alternative. A touch screen key pad as compared to a physical QWERTY keyboard is a great example of this.
Microsoft has recently released Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) as part of System Center 2012. This tool, positioned as a single, unified management system for virtualized environments, lacks support for outdated versions of Microsoft's virtualization platform but supports all versions of Hyper-V that coordinate with Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 with Service Pack 2. It also functions in cooperation with systems using Hyper-V Server 2008 R2.
With so many technological developments happening at lightning speed nowadays, it's understandable that many people often confuse specific terminology used. Among the most common terminology confusions is the difference between cloud and virtualization.
Maintaining green IT operations can help a company to have a better public image, which in turn can help to make it easier to retain current customers and attract new ones. While this reason to promote sustainability in company operations is certainly important, it is not the most significant rationale behind the adoption of a green IT approach.
Wireless connections to the internet are becoming increasingly popular among businesses and other organizations, in part because they allow a company to offer internet access to visitors on the premises. This can help increase sales in many types of businesses because it gives consumers an additional reason to visit the premises. Wireless access, however, is not always the best solution for internal employees who make frequent and extensive use of online resources. These individuals may be much better served by an Ethernet connection, which offers faster data access speeds than those typical of wireless environments.
Large corporations moving to a virtualized infrastructure for their systems and networks may have all the expertise needed already on hand. However, small and medium sized companies would do well to work closely with an IT consulting firm so they have guidance at every step along the way, beginning with one of the most basic steps of all: selection of an appropriate host server.
Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system has been out for long enough now that most small and medium-sized businesses have made the transition from Vista or XP. While most features of Windows 7 are fairly obvious and intuitive, the operating system actually possesses more capability than many companies realize. One way to leverage these capabilities more effectively to benefit your business is to adopt a managed programs model of IT support since in this approach, the staff who visit your premises will be well-positioned to apply their specialist knowledge of Windows 7 to help improve your network management and architecture.
For small and medium-sized businesses interested in efficient IT operations, virtualization offers several key benefits. Once virtualization is in place, however, what IT solutions can be deployed to help optimize its use and implementation? One solution is to adopt a multiple hypervisor model. Such a model offers inherent advantages over the single hypervisor approach, including lower licensing fees and the ability to integrate applications across the network more efficiently.
In recent years, it has become increasingly easy for businesses and other organizations with virtualization in place to move virtual machines onto a cloud computing environment. Businesses using VMware can connect remote assets to local resources through the vCloud Connector interface, while organizations running the Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 need only click on the button labeled, "Create Cloud.
VMware has released one of the first ways to use its anticipated Project Octopus program by launching an app that runs on iOS devices. Project Octopus is intended to provide users with secured access to their files from any internet-connected device. More importantly, perhaps, is the fact that it will allow users to share their files and even collaborate on them with others, whether they are fellow company employees or outsiders.
Any business involved with the use or processing of credit card information must be sure that its systems are compliant with the payment card industry's data security standard. This includes virtually all companies that take credit cards as a form of payment. When these companies begin to use IT solutions such as virtualization and cloud computing, remaining compliant with PCI DSS can become a much larger challenge.
General Keith Alexander, the U.S. Army officer in charge of the nation's Cyber Command and National Security Agency, recently spoke to the House Armed Services Subcommittee charged with tracking emerging threats. Alexander's news was worrisome, if unsurprising: "Cyberspace is becoming more dangerous." Yet he also had good news for the subcommittee, telling them that "The IT infrastructure of the future, the…. virtual cloud environment, will make it a much more defensible architecture. I think that's the key to the future."
Virtualization allows businesses to use IT resources more efficiently. This not only enhances employee productivity, it also provides cost savings, therefore improving profitability in two way.
The virtualization of data storage space can lead to significant cost savings when a company is faced with the need to make a physical move, whether that move is merely across town or to another state entirely. When storage is virtualized, it becomes possible to carry out a data migration to a new center during working hours rather than on the weekend when overtime costs will make the move more expensive.
Virtualized servers are solving a number of problems in business IT environments, but they also create new challenges. With increasing performance levels of these servers, it has become possible to launch more VMs than ever before. Creating additional virtual servers without an overall plan and stacking excessive applications onto a single host can lead to VM sprawl as well as intense competition for IT resources. Both of these challenges mean that managed programs staff will benefit from improved administrative platforms, IT solutions that make it more feasible to effectively manage and provision large numbers of VMs.
Working effectively with an IT consultant sometimes means speaking his or her language. When discussing cloud computing options with a consultant, it can be helpful to have a clear understanding of some of the terms commonly used in this area of computing.
Building a private cloud using the Citrix XenServer system can be accomplished in just four simple steps.
According to recent industry surveys, more than three-fourths of those who make IT decisions for companies regard dealing with the complexity created by virtualization as their highest priority. For some businesses, the answer to this challenge lies in an innovative new system from HP. Known as VirtualSystem, this approach to virtualization uses HP Converged Infrastructure to reduce the level of complexity in a virtualized environment.
Businesses and other organizations interested in moving some of their IT functions onto a cloud-computing platform have several software options to choose. One of these is CloudStack 3 from IT company Citrix Systems, which is now available in a beta version. A full production version of the platform is anticipated by the end of next month.
Server virtualization is fast becoming a familiar technology to many businesses both small and large. The next logical step may be to establish a virtual network. Virtual network software can actually be placed either inside a virtual server or outside it, with externally installed virtual network software using devices such as switches, network storage units, adapters, and Ethernet or fiber connections to join several physical local area networks into a single virtual one.
A growing number of businesses and other organizations are beginning to realize the advantages inherent to a adopting a managed services model for their IT needs. Choosing a managed services provider, however, as well as working with one already selected, presents challenges of its own. One such challenge is the need for management and other personnel to understand the sometimes-complex terminology commonly in use by those who provide IT solutions for a living. For example, computer services specialists may use phrases such as ‘scaling out’ and ‘scaling up’ without realizing that a non-technical audience may not be familiar with the key difference between the terms.
The latest Threat Awareness Poll conducted by Symantec involved asking nearly 2,000 small and medium businesses about their practices for protecting data interests against the current threat environment. Components of the poll also assessed the level of understanding that SMBs have about the various ways in which intruders may seek access to their systems or the data contained in them as well as ways that such intrusions can be prevented. The poll was conducted during the month of September 2011, but results have only recently become available.
All virtualization systems must have some way of addressing the management of stored resources. The three main virtualization platforms used in business environments today are Citrix, VMware, and Hyper-V. In some ways, all three systems use similar approaches to address storage management needs. One common technique shared by all three is RDM, also known as Raw Device Mapping. All three also retain the capacity to write either directly to stored resources or to a file instead. Likewise, all three can make use of dedicated file systems.
Businesses and other organizations that are ready to move toward virtualized infrastructure would do well to work with an IT consulting firm when developing a budget for the virtualization process. Contrary to popular perception, moving to virtualization involves all three kinds of costs usually associated with IT projects: hardware, software, and labor.
Businesses and other organizations that are interested in adopting a managed services approach that includes cloud-based technology have many options to choose. Managed services providers can provide invaluable insight and guidance into the various types of cloud platforms that are available today and can assist managers and owners to understand whether a private, public, or hybrid cloud model will best suit initial and ongoing needs.
Moving to a virtualized workspace is one of the most significant trends in today's business world, but companies dipping their toes in these waters need to understand in advance the types of costs that come along with IT solutions that incorporate virtualized servers. There are three main types of costs associated with virtualization: software, hardware, and labor, which often take the form of a managed services approach to IT services.
A managed services model for administering IT resources can actually refer to many different IT solutions. One such solution is the use of virtual desktops.
The use of virtualized servers in business is now a mainstream approach to providing efficiencies while lowering costs. When such servers were first put into use in the middle of the new millennium's first decade, they were used mostly to handle workloads related to testing and development; over time the core IT solutions making up virtualization were refined to create higher levels of both reliability and performance as well as compatibility with other systems.
VMware is the world's leading platform for virtualized workspaces, but the company also offers tools that help businesses and other organizations to collaborate online through powerful messaging and email features. The cloud-based messaging interface that makes this possible is known as VMware Zimbra Collaboration Server.
When virtualization was new, there was really only one viable choice of hypervisor vendor. As virtualization became a far more common business system, however, competition arose and several different hypervisor platforms became popular tools for improving IT efficiency and streamlining resources in order to reduce the average cost of workflow. Today, businesses that wish to adopt more than a single platform for virtualization have the flexibility to do so.
The popular virtualization platform known as VMware offers managed programs personnel a variety of different tools to help manage system configurations in a virtualized environment. These tools are located within the larger vSphere computing environment. With the launch of the vSphere 5 update, the Host Profiles tool has been updated with new capabilities that can assist managed programs staff to be even more efficient as they deal with workflow.
Like any other software system, VMware does sometimes need to be patched with updates and fixes that can improve security and offer enhanced functionality. Other patches may even remediate bugs that have been recently discovered in the newer versions of the software. One of the best ways to ensure your system stays up to date is to use the VMware Update Manager, which provides automated functions that can streamline the process of upgrading and patching. The Update Manager allows managed services staff to fine-tune the patching process as needed so that organizational workflow is disrupted as little as possible.
Many new developments in the software world tend to have but a single range of useful applications. Word processing software, for example, is well suited to improving the production of text-based documents but can do virtually nothing to assist with the financial accounting needs of a company. Virtualization, however, is different. It can be used in a variety of different ways to improve the overall efficiency of other IT solutions already in use. In this sense, virtualization is an umbrella technology that can arch over the deployment of many other areas of information technology.
Surveys of small and medium sized businesses currently indicate that more organizations are beginning to see virtualization as an appropriate solution for their computerized workflow. In past years, the top reason to hold off on converting to a virtualized environment was the sense that the business does not yet possess enough servers or applications to justify the cost of virtualizing them. This perception is diminishing, however. Whereas in 2010 more than 40 percent of small businesses surveyed felt this way, the percentage that echoed the sentiment just one year later had fallen to 34 percent.
When computer environments become extensively virtualized, system administrators need to have better tools for working with the network and the systems that make it up. A rapid pace of change characterizes virtualized environments, and these changes can now take place on a much larger scale. All of these factors mean that old school IT solutions such as manual control over configurations are no longer adequate. In fact, more than three-fourths of IT administrators are now saying that they expect the quantity of system configuration changes needed in a year to grow at staggering rates, approaching 50 percent growth in some organizations.
As more and more business begin to operate a private cloud as part of the resource provisioning in the network environments, the question of cloud certifications has taken center stage. Businesses who contract with an IT company to provide them with managed programs staff often appreciate the peace of mind that comes from knowing that those visiting staff members are truly qualified to assist them in implementing and administering a cloud-based environment.
One of the most common additions to IT budgets of small and medium sized companies during 2011 was funding to explore or even implement some level of cloud computing. According to a TechTarget study that surveyed more than 500 North American businesses, almost three-fourths of them had included cloud computing in their IT budget, a sevenfold increase over the proportion that had done the same just one year prior. The average budget allocation for cloud computing was less than 10% of IT expenditures, with many businesses choosing to dip one toe into the water, so to speak, before they went ahead and took a major plunge into this exciting new paradigm for IT solutions.
As more and more IT departments in small and medium-sized businesses begin to consider desktop virtualization as a viable way to reduce costs and increase efficiencies, the issue of compatibility has become more important. Desktop virtualization is useful because it can allow workers to access their data from any internet-connected location, and in a form that is entirely familiar because what they see is the usual desktop environment they would use at work.
It is possible for businesses and other organizations to implement a virtualization strategy without using a managed services model. Indeed, some businesses are highly successful at doing just that with the help of IT consulting experts that can guide their decision-making regarding purchases, installation, and ongoing maintenance and administration. For small and medium sized businesses, however, often the best choice for virtualization is to ‘hand the reins’ over to a managed services company that can take care of the new virtualized environment in ways that might not be possible for in-house staff.
Keeping up with emerging technologies is like running a race. Anyone who stays in place is quite likely to be left behind completely. This means that businesses interested in IT solutions that include data centers would be well advised to keep up with the trends that are emerging in this area of managed services.
IT consultants can provide invaluable assistance to business organizations on a highly diverse number of topics. Among these is the improvement of storage systems for essential company and customer data. An IT consulting firm can not only advise businesses as to the various options when it comes to the storage of vital data, but such an IT company can also point out the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.
Like all advances in technology, the realm of cloud computing is characterized by trends that grow out of consumer demand as well as the possibilities inherent in the model itself. When this approach to computer resources first emerged, it was viewed as essentially utilitarian: a way for companies to save money because now, they could pay for computer power on an as-needed basis instead of front loading all costs by establishing their own in-house network infrastructure to take care of all needs. Now, new trends are making that original model even more powerful.
Virtualized computing environments may employ a variety of backup strategies. One of the most useful is the image level backup. This technique is supported by most backup tools designed for use with virtual machines. Indeed, it is considered the best way to back up the data on VMs.
Storage virtualization is an important component in many approaches to IT solutions that depend on a managed services model, but the term itself may be unfamiliar to some. After all, data must eventually be stored on some physical medium, whether that consists of tape drives, traditional hard drives, or solid state drives. How then can the storage of such data possibly be virtualized?
When pondering which applications may be good prospects for virtualization, small and medium-sized businesses should consider using the expertise that visiting managed program staff already possess. Because these IT specialists typically provide services to several different companies each week, they are in a unique position to have recent and relevant data about what works well and what tends not to work at all.
Most businesses have become aware of the strategic and economic advantages of desktop virtualization. Now, desktop virtualization market leader VMware is taking the concept further through the introduction of a new computing paradigm known as mobile virtualization. As technologies go, this one is brand new, having been introduced by VMware just this past October at the VMworld Europe conference. The service is called Horizon Mobile and it uses a mobile virtualization platform developed by VMware in order to create a sort of “virtual machine” on an Android phone.
A recent software release from VMware is vCloud Connector 1.5. This program allows users already working with the VMware infrastructure to transition portions of workloads, or workloads in their entirety, onto public clouds that are also structured around the same infrastructure principles. Such public cloud space would be leased by small and medium-sized businesses that have realized the potential benefits of adopting IT solutions that include a hybrid cloud approach. Since VMware is already an industry leader in virtualization, it is ideally positioned to assist more businesses to move more fully into a cloud-computing environment.
Many small and medium-sized businesses are becoming aware that they would like to virtualize at least some of the applications they use. They know that moving at least partway onto virtual machines will improve the utilization of computing resources even as it helps them reduce the maintenance and power costs associated with physical infrastructure. One great question usually confronts them when they consider virtualization, however: Which of our applications should we move onto virtual machines, and which are best left on physical machines at least for the time being?
Telecommuting has been in existence for decades, but only with the advent of the internet and then later, true virtualization technologies, has it become a truly viable option for many small and medium sized businesses. According to a recent study, companies may be able to save as much as $20,000 in costs per employee who works from home. This represents a strong return on investment that makes the effort of switching into this mode well worth the time and funding it will require.
The buzz over virtualization is well deserved, as this is one of the most exciting leaps forward in business technology to emerge in quite some time. However, a move toward virtualization with a skilled IT company providing remote services does not eliminate the need for a sound storage approach for the information used in virtual data centers. Thin provisioning is an approach to storage needs that helps businesses to maximize its use of resources and lower their costs.
Consolidation by means of virtualizing servers and desktops is one of several sound business IT solutions that are helping organizations to increase efficiency and lower operating costs, but both of these benefits can be endangered if the company does not have a solid backup and recovery strategy in place.
VMware's vCenter Server 5 Essentials Pack has an optional software plug-in or add-on known as VSA (vSphere Storage Appliance). The main function performed by the VSA add-on is to create a shared storage pool and replicate data between internal components of the pool as needed to create high data availability. The concept used by the VSA system is well understood in the industry, and has been embodied in non-VMware products such as LeftHand (produced by HP).
As businesses expand virtualization strategies in partnership with managed services providers, many of them are beginning to see how an iSCSI storage system can help them maintain a more robust host cluster.
Managed services are slated to become an even larger part of the IT support environment in the future according to many industry experts. This month in Las Vegas, Nevada, more than a thousand managed service providers examined new products that will better enable them to meet the needs of the businesses and organizations they serve. Many of the offerings centered around a cloud computing philosophy, an approach that has revolutionized the way that businesses and individuals think about the use of technology and consumption of IT resources.
VMware's vCenter Server (once called VMware VirtualCenter) is a central management tool for VMware vSphere virtualized computing environments. The use of vCenter will allow IT services personnel to improve their level of control over the virtualized environment and proactively manage resources. Like all robust virtualization IT solutions, vCenter is a fully scalable platform.
There are excellent reasons why VMware is an industry leader in the virtualization market and why their vSphere platform is chosen by almost three-quarters of all small and medium businesses that want to make the move to a virtual computing environment.
The traditional data center employed by healthcare organizations has several inherent limitations. Because it was based on the physical architecture of servers and clients, it was associated with high start-up costs and a need to anticipate in advance everything that might be needed to provision employees and at times, customers making use of its resources. Perhaps even worse, computer use always tended to outstrip initial projections, which meant that as resources were added, the data center could become an amalgamation of components, some of which were cobbled together as afterthoughts rather than working as a seamless, efficient whole.
According to recent industry surveys, the average small or medium-sized business is already backing up its data. A backup alone, however, is not a complete solution to disaster recovery -- the backup system must be able to restore the data back into needed locations so work can resume. A key variable in the recovery process is the amount of time that is needed for the restore process itself. If the time needed is too long, the impact of data loss can be significant even if the data is eventually recovered.
The very phrase "Infrastructure as a Service" may seem to contradict itself, since most people think of infrastructure as physical nuts and bolts – items that cannot possibly be delivered as a service. With the new wave of virtualization platforms revolutionizing how businesses conduct their daily operations, however, much computing infrastructure can indeed be reformulated to exist as a service instead of residing as a physical apparatus inside a head or branch office of an organization.
One of the great advantages of hiring an IT consulting firm to advise your small and medium business is the issue of vision. While businesses may know what they need in terms of outcomes, they may not be able to visualize what is possible in the new world of IT services simply because that is not their area of expertise. This is where IT consultants can prove invaluable. They can provide the vision for businesses to see what new software, hardware, and tech models exist that can help a business move from A to B – and frequently, they can suggest ways to make the move that will be at a lower cost than the approaches the business would have generated without outside assistance.
Indiana University has elected to use VMware as part of a strategy to virtualize the Oracle databases it considers to be "mission critical." The university runs eight separate campuses scattered across the state of Indiana, and in total serves more than 100,000 students as well as almost 20,000 employees. More than 200 institutes and research centers are also affiliated with the university. All of this leads to a highly complex environment for information technology, but in the case of Indiana University, the situation is further complicated by the way that IT is integrated into the learning and teaching process.
Dell Computing offers several tools that assist businesses in their efforts to integrate EqualLogic with the VMware vSphere virtualization platform. These tools perform functions such as streamlining the provisioning of VDI as well as optimizing it, simplifying the management of storage resources, and building a more robust virtual infrastructure that will assist organizations with their IT services continuity. The EqualLogic Host Integration Toolset has four sub-programs.
Virtualization expert Citrix has announced the launch of new IT solutions targeted to assist small and medium businesses. These solutions are designed to help such businesses make the leap into desktop virtualization. One key element of this SMB initiative is Citrix VDI-in-a-Box, which the company is promoting as a virtual desktop "all-in-one" solution. When combined with cloud-based support from a managed services provider, VDI-in-a-Box will allow those providers to support and monitor the deployment of virtual desktops from remote locations. This opens up the possibility of remote managed services personnel assisting with deployments at several different branch offices operated by a company, for example.
VM environments are more complex than is sometimes assumed; they always consist of a minimum of two different elements. The base element in a VM computing environment is the host server. This is sometimes called a ‘resource pool’ because it is here that VMs will look for the resources they need to complete their jobs. In addition, however, a second element must exist. This is the production area, in which work is actually done. This area of the system is actually maintained by the virtual machines themselves.