The bottom line of technology in business is to add resources and enhance the capabilities of a company to offer a positive outcome. Nevertheless, many executives will tell you that information technology comes with its own barriers in terms of implementation, which bring complications when investing on IT with the expectation of getting a return on your investment.
To benefit fully from the resources of information technology, companies often devote an entire department to support and execute technology systems effectively. While this is a good way of overcoming the hurdle, in effect, the companies shift talent and money from the core functions of business.
Is virtualization the solution?
Virtualization is the recent trend in IT that seeks to solve such situations while availing technology solutions in any scope or size to any type of business. Virtualization is just a fancy name for server-based computing. Rather than install computer programs on desktops, virtualization allows you to install applications in a server farm for secure and remote access.
This technology enables you to take many physical servers and create an equal number of virtual servers on a single host physical server. In essence, virtualization eliminates the physical limitations of information technology resources and infrastructure by offering computing power and remote services.
Therefore, the question that arises is whether virtualization is the answer to obtaining more value from information technology. Depending on whom you are talking to, you will hear either that this new technology is the silver line or over-hyped.
The truth is that the answer lies in between these two conclusions. What is undeniable is the fact that more than 90% of the fortune 1000 companies are already using some form of virtualization. According to a certain report, over 75% of companies with 500 employees and above are in the process of setting up virtual servers.
Types of virtualization
It is important to understand that virtualization is not a single piece of technology. Numerous virtualization technologies are now available to businesses. Almost any piece of information technology from a simple program to a full-blown network can become virtual. This means that any business function that requires IT can be utilized on per-use or subscription basis.
On a personal level, one computer can operate many virtual operating systems. Any computer can have a virtual operating system to run software for different operating systems. With this technology, compatibility between Macs, PCs and Linux will not plague companies anymore.
The most common type of virtualization is application virtualization. This technology enables a central server to host programs and run applications on multiple computers. For instance, instead of installing Microsoft Word in every desktop in the office, a company can host a single copy from the network on demand to each office that has a need to create Word documents.
This reduces the expensive cost of software, eliminates IT staff oversight and accelerates deployment of applications and desktops. A company can also make its entire computers virtual where they have all the computing power in a central computer with high-capacity and high efficiency. Employees would then only need a keyboard, mouse and monitor.
Application virtualization challenges in business
As with any new technology, application virtualization comes with its own challenges though not many. According to IT experts, the biggest challenge is handling two inevitable model shifts. Both the end users and administrators will face new realities.
Normally, administrators support desktops where an application that is installed poorly will only affect one person. With the new technology, they would be installing a program on a remote serve that has the potential to affect hundreds or thousands of individuals. The end users are accustomed to having control of their desktops, but with application virtualization, they will lose this advantage.
However, companies can move quickly to handle these two challenges. In the case of end users, they can be made to understand the benefits of this new technology. With application virtualization, they can work securely from any location or device instead of spending extra hours at work.
In case of a desktop hard drive failure, the result will not be catastrophic as the user can simply walk to another computer and begin working. Once you make the end users see the benefits beyond saving the company’s money, they will be more tolerant in case problems arise.
Jay is a blogger who is passionate about information technology. Many of his online articles focus on how executives can use new IT solutions to enhance their business practices of cost reduction and increase revenue. He has also written blog posts related to CMMS software.