SMB Toolkit: Virtualization is the Swiss Army knife of the IT industry

If you’re looking for a way to make your IT systems more flexible and easy to manage, you’ve come to the right place. This article will show you how virtualization creates systems that are designed based on what you need rather than what hardware you have.

Traditionally, a modest server is stuck running either Windows or macOS and a limited number of applications. But with virtualization, a server isn’t defined by its hardware. A machine with just one set of components can run as if it’s two totally distinct servers. Or two physically separate machines can be combined to run as one high-end server.

Essentially, computers are becoming much more flexible, and that’s creating new opportunities for cash-strapped businesses. Here are just a few things you can do with virtualization.

Cloud desktops

We already mentioned one server completing the work of two, but virtualization can accomplish much more than that. A solution known as Desktop-as-a-Service allows users to log into a web application to access their very own cloud desktop, complete with apps, documents, and even a Recycle Bin, all of which reside on a server.

One server can support a fleet of virtual workspaces, which are accessible from “dummy” computers that connect to the web application with little more than keyboards, mouses, and monitors. And with the right setup, users can log into their cloud desktops from laptops and other personal devices.

Because the server does all the heavy lifting, your dummy computers can be as cheap as they come but you’ll still get the same level of performance. This is also a much safer option than regular desktops because it’s easier to protect one server hard drive than dozens of workstations.

Virtual applications

If you don’t want to give your employees full-blown cloud desktops, you can go with virtual applications instead. Rather than installing an application on the computer that will run it, you can put it on a server. Then, users can access that application via a web browser. That’s how Microsoft’s incredibly popular Office 365 works, and you can do it with any of your business’s applications to increase employee mobility and productivity.

Virtual applications are best suited for businesses where everyone uses one or two of the same programs. When they’re installed, configured, or updated on the server, the entire office immediately reaps the benefits.

On-demand networking

The ability to rearrange a network without purchasing new hardware is invaluable to businesses that experience rapid growth. The cost of networking equipment and maintenance is something that rarely crosses business owners’ minds, but when they do, they’re usually much worse than expected.

With virtualization, you can set up, reconfigure, or update your network with software. No more confusing wiring schemes or stacks of hubs, switches, and routers. All it takes is someone certified in VMWare virtualization to put your HR department on a secure private network, or limit who can connect to your server. It’s as easy as dragging and dropping computers from one group to another.

Intelligent cloud storage

Virtualization powers most of the cloud storage solutions you use. For example, if you save files to Microsoft’s OneDrive, they aren’t all on the same physical storage device. OneDrive is comprised of thousands of hard drives, and it takes a virtualization solution to combine all your files into one cloud drive.

In recent years, virtual storage has become smart enough to move oversized and high-demand files to the most responsive drives. This solution makes purchasing and managing digital storage much easier. You can purchase smaller, cheaper drives to take a granular approach to upgrades and your IT support provider will keep the system running swiftly and simply.

Virtualization frees you from the limitations of IT hardware. It’s the Swiss Army knife we use to customize enterprise-grade solutions for clients all over Dekalb, Rockford, and Beloit. If you feel limited by your technology in any way — underutilized servers, overpriced desktops, sluggish storage, you name it — schedule a free consultation with Sundog IT. We’ll show you what we can do.

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