Carrollton Dermatology Associates
Dr. Thomas H. Lamb, MD.
Brighter Image, Inc.
RA-Lin and Associates
North Georgia Turf, Inc.
Computing power has more or less doubled every two years, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. While our computers are becoming increasingly powerful, it simply isn't feasible for many small to medium businesses to update their hardware or systems every couple of years. This often leads to businesses with aging systems facing increased costs, decreased productivity and the need (but not the budget!) to replace systems. One solution to this very real problem is to virtualize existing systems.
Virtualization is the act of taking an existing system, say a server, and creating a virtual copy of it that is hosted either in a physical unit or somewhere out of the office. Some systems you can virtualize include: Desktops, Operating Systems, servers, hardware and storage. Most small businesses start with storage and server virtualization as this can usually be done with relative ease and at an affordable cost.
Benefits of virtualization The question many business owners ask when they are looking into virtualization is what benefits it can bring. While the positives are numerous, here are the five most common:
1. Reduced space Physical hardware can take up a lot of space, and the common trend among many businesses is that the space available per person is shrinking in order to save costs. Take for example your servers. If you virtualize these, you can probably fit all of them onto one or two units. This will reduce the space your hardware takes up, freeing up extra storage capacity or possibly another desk.
2. Reduced overhead Having hardware and servers in an office can be expensive to maintain. You have to have climate control to start with which means higher electricity bills and higher maintenance costs. Virtualization will often reduce overhead costs and save you money. Beyond that, many solutions offer a pay-per-use pricing model which makes predicting costs easier.
3. Quicker backup and recovery Many virtualization solution providers also offer backup services that can be automated. This means that your vital data is always backed up and protected. Beyond that, the backups can be stored at a different location, meaning that if there is a disaster, you can recover lost data quickly and easily.
4. Longer hardware replacement cycles Virtualized solutions and platforms often require lower computing resources because they are hosted on the provider's servers. This means that you won't have to replace existing tech hardware. Beyond that, existing systems can be used for longer which will save you money.
5. Virtualization is scalable If your company is growing, you will eventually have to add new systems. In an already cramped office this means finding the space for hardware or servers needed to support your growth, not to mention investing in systems that are compatible with existing hardware. Virtualization is highly scalable, and can grow with your company, often without the need for extra services.
In general, virtualization could help your business grow, while IT costs remain stable, or are even decreased. If you would like to learn more about how virtualization of your systems can help your company, contact us today.
Virtualization - the idea of taking physical systems and migrating them to a digital version - is a popular method businesses use to save space, decrease costs and potentially increase productivity. This concept is focused mainly on backend systems, like servers and desktop computers. There is a new candidate for virtualization that could take off in the next few years: your phone.
Traditional smartphones are individual packages. The operating system and user are physically tied to the device. If you think about it, there are really only a few phones out there, and millions of people probably have the exact same one that you do. They differentiate their phones from others by the pictures, apps, videos, etc. stored on the device and the way they have personalized their phones.
Should you lose your phone, that data is likely lost, and you are faced with a potentially high cost to replace it. The two major operating system developers - Apple (iOS) and Google (Android) - have started to implement virtual backup solutions. Your contacts, apps and some personalization settings are backed up to the cloud and connected with a user account. When you enter the account information, you can quickly get the most important information from your phone back.
Combine this with the various cloud storage services that allow users to store their information, pictures, etc., with access from nearly any device. This integration with the cloud has enabled users to rely less on physical devices, and points to a potential virtualization concept: Non-dedicated devices.
The idea of non-dedicated devices is that you can use any device, regardless of manufacturer or OS, to access a system you can call your own. Imagine if your phone runs out of batteries. You borrow a friend's, log in using your username and password and that device instantly becomes personalized to you.
Could this work? There are currently three identifiable virtualization trends that point to non-dedicated mobile devices becoming a reality:
We'd like to know what you think of non-dedicated devices. Would you use one? Are there any other problems you can foresee? Let us know today.
In many tech circles the idea of virtualization - moving physical elements of existing business components onto virtual solutions - is a popular one. Among the different types of devices that can be virtualized, servers are the most common, and for many businesses the easiest and cheapest to go virtual. Are you looking to get more out of your servers?
Here's five tips on better server virtualization for small to medium businesses.
1. Reality is key - It's easy, when reading about tech, to get caught up in all the new devices, ideas, etc. and maybe begin to lose site of your situation. It's not uncommon to have a small business owner want to virtualize all servers at once. This is often not feasible - budget and technology wise.
Instead, you should take the time to assess your servers and identify which servers are best suited to virtualization. For example, if the server that handles your email is starting to show its age, this may be a prime candidate. After identifying potential servers to virtualize, you can begin to develop a better plan.
2. Check compatibility - After you have picked servers for virtualization, you should look at the software the servers handle, to see if they are compatible with the virtualization software you plan to use. Should the software not be compatible you will either have to look for another solution, or upgrade the software. Fail to do this and you could face setbacks and compatibility issues which will likely cause a drop in efficiency, or even negate the savings arising from virtualization.
It is also a good idea to look at whether the server itself is capable of supporting virtualization. Each virtualization solution has different requirements and this is a good thing to keep in mind. Virtualization solutions are always advancing, so the server that can just about handle a solution now may not be able to handle it in a year or two.
3. Don't forget about your data backup solutions - Interestingly, many virtualization providers also provide data backup solutions. It may be a good idea to look at your existing backup and if it is compatible with the systems you plan to use. If not, this could prove costly for your business if something should happen where you need this.
4. R.S.S. - Reduce. Sell. Save. Server virtualization allows for many servers to be run on one physical unit. This means you will be able to reduce the number of servers, sell them, and finally reap bigger savings through decreased maintenance and operational costs.
5. Work with and IT expert - The above steps can be daunting, even to those in the IT field. There's just so much to focus on that business owners and managers often don't have this kind of time. That's why we highly recommend that in order to get the most out of virtualization, you work with a virtualization expert who can focus on helping you stay realistic, ensure the compatibility of your systems and orient your backup systems.
Looking for an IT expert to help you virtualize your systems? Why not contact us? We may have a solution to help you get even more out of your systems.
IT has become an essential component of business. Without systems that meet business needs, a company will likely fail, or certainly struggle to stay in the black. As such, IT spending is predicted to reach USD$3.7 billion in 2013. Much of this spending will be on improving existing systems and adoption of cloud services. Is your company looking to get a little cloudy this year?
Here are five things you should ask cloud service providers when looking to make the move to the cloud.
One of the biggest tech trends of the past two years is the topic of virtualization. This is a wide ranging topic that covers issues such as digitizing aging phone systems, moving programs off of hard drives and into the cloud, as well as taking existing servers and creating digital counterparts that have many benefits to users. While virtualization is a buzzword, many users are still fairly unclear about virtualization especially in relation to servers.
Here is a brief overview of server virtualization, when you should use it and what you should look for in a virtualization solution.
What exactly is server virtualization? In a nutshell, server virtualization is the practice of taking physical servers and digitizing them into virtual ones. In truth, this isn't a fully virtual solution; your servers will continue to be on a physical server, just in virtual format.
Modern virtual solutions run multiple systems - commonly called instances - on one existing server. Traditionally, servers were inefficient especially when it came to use of physical resources and hardware - much was left under utilized. Virtualization ensures that use of physical resources and hardware are maximized, leading to users getting better value from servers.
This stacking of existing systems onto a smaller number of systems decreases acquisition and overhead costs - maintenance and power - while increasing the amount of physical space available for other functions including room to grow.
Virtualization is largely made possible due to increases made in technology. For example: A server with four processors costs about 1/10th of what it did a decade ago, and is more powerful. More power and cheaper cost has given companies of all sizes the capabilities to virtualize.
When should I employ server virtualization? Virtualization is ideal for functions that are small to medium scale, ie., most simple or day-to-day business functions. If you have applications that are resource intensive and rely on more than one or two servers to be able to run, then it's probably safer to not virtualize that particular service.
Most companies will run physical servers with virtual solutions to a maximum of 50% CPU usage during peak operations. If you have multiple servers running applications that, at peak, only use about 5% of the server's power, these would be ideal to virtualize - you could virtualize up to 10 physical servers.
If an application uses 48% of available computing power at peak usage, it's probably not the best candidate for virtualization as it will cause other instances on the same server to run slower, thus negating any advantages gained from virtualization.
What should I look for in a virtualization solution When looking for a virtualization solution many companies will have different needs that they need to take into account. There are three factors that almost every company should be aware of when shopping for a virtualization solution:
There are many different ways you can virtualize your company. Many companies virtualize the easier tech related functions like desktops, telephone and sales. Virtualizing systems like these are great at making specific jobs easier, however they don’t make it easier to stay on top of things. That’s why busy managers and entrepreneurs hire assistants. Don’t have a PA, or the budget to hire one? Take steps to hire a virtual one.
A virtual assistant (VA) fills the role of a traditional assistant but is just not physically present. Many roles, like replying to trivial emails, finishing presentations, writing or even answering your phones, can all be done through the computer. If you’re interested in virtualizing your assistant here’s five steps that will help you find the perfect assistant.
Step 1: Think about tasks you don’t like You’re not a superhero, there is always something, maybe many things, that you don’t like doing. Over the course of a week jot down what you do each day and whether you like/dislike the task. Beyond that, if you think someone could do it better, jot that down as well. At the end of the week, look over the list and see if you have to do the tasks yourself, or if you can outsource them. The tasks you can outsource can be given to your VA.
Step 2: Look for a VA Once you can justify a VA, start looking for one. Reach out to your network and see if your colleagues have assistants, and if they can provide you with a recommendation. Beyond that, consulting with organizations like the ivaa.org can return some great VAs.
Step 3: Screen candidates This step is just like hiring a physical candidate. You need to go through your list of potential hires and ask them questions to ensure they are both a good fit and what you're looking for. Some things you could ask include:
Step 4: Baby steps Like learning to walk, you can’t start at a run, rather you have to take it slow. Start with a small project to test the waters as a way to vet the candidate. Be sure to let them know that this is a test, and not a final offer. This won’t be free, you should pay them at their normal rates.
Step 5: Onboard slowly, terminate quickly If the VA is a good fit, and the test project goes smoothly, you can start to wrap up. Generally, the onboarding process should be slower than a normal physical hiring as you have to invest more and vet them more carefully. If you find that down the line, the VA just isn’t working out, or keeps making the same mistakes, cut them loose. A VA isn’t like a normal employee, you shouldn’t have to invest thousands of dollars and man hours training them and as such, it isn’t as much of an investment.
If you’d like to learn more about virtualizing roles or services within your company, please contact us.
Virtualization of physical computer systems is a popular act that has many positive benefits. One of the most common forms of virtualization is desktop virtualization, being able to access your desktop from anywhere, on any machine. Desktop virtualization will continue to be popular well into the future, yet some managers are unsure about the security of virtual desktops.
In general, you can do nearly everything on a virtual desktop that you can do with a physical desktop. The majority of office oriented software now has versions that operate in the cloud, or give administrators the ability to install the program on one machine and license it out to other machines.
The largest difference between the two systems comes in the form of security. Virtual desktops are susceptible to the exact same security issues as their physical counterparts, but they also have a few extra potential problems which are unique to virtual machines. The biggest security issue with virtual desktops comes in the form of access. With physical machines, you can lock an office door which will usually prevent people from physically accessing the machine. With virtual machines you are not able to do this. Anyone with access and a password can get onto the machine.
While this may sound like a deterrence to the adoption of virtual desktops, users should be aware that vendors are aware of this issue and have adopted measures to ensure their products are safe. In fact, if implemented properly, virtual desktops are often safer.
To ensure safety of data and machines virtual desktops need to be implemented in a specific manner. For example, some solutions will create a new environment every time you need to access a different system. This is like starting with a blank slate, with unnecessary data being deleted when you log off. Users won’t be able to customize their workspace, but it can help stave off problems of errant downloading, or installation of unnecessary programs.
Other systems allow users to customize their workspace, but save the changes in a separate location when the user logs off. This keeps any changes made to the base system easy to keep track of, and it’s easier to spot security problems, while keeping them local.
If you’re looking into virtualizing your office’s desktops, we strongly recommend you work with an experienced IT partner who can help deploy a system that meets your needs, while remaining safe. We can help with virtualization, so why not give us a call?
The adoption of computers by small businesses gave them the opportunity and platform to expand their business beyond local boundaries. Arguably, it’s the small business that drives economies around the world. To succeed in industries often dominated by a small number of large corporate conglomerates, small businesses need every opportunity to increase their margins. One thing that can allow this is virtualization of technical systems.
In technical circles, the process of virtualization is the creation of a virtual copy of something actual like a server, network or storage device. Virtualization allows one device to run as more than one device. Running Windows on your Mac, or partitioning a physical hard drive into smaller sections that each act as a separate hard drive are examples of virtualization. In general, there are four types of virtualization:
Many companies realize the benefits of virtualizing their systems, and some have even started the process. In the current economies around the world, businesses are looking at ways to save money and streamline processes. A recent report on virtualization found that some organizations achieved investment returns of up to 269%. Read on to learn more.
What is Virtualization? Virtualization is the creation of a virtual computing environment, where one hardware system can run multiple virtual environments. Common types of virtualization include servers, storage devices, or networks. The benefits of virtualization include lower costs, improved IT management, and reduced energy consumption.
The Survey A report published by CDW-G focuses on government organizations in the United Sates. Many SME owners and managers like yourselves are probably asking, “How do study results involving the government help my business?” Well, if you look closer you can see that what the government organizations did can easily be replicated by SMEs, just on a smaller scale.
Results In recent years, many companies have had to tighten their belts due to economic difficulties. Government agencies are no exception. The results of the survey found that agencies and organizations realized investment returns as high as 134 to 269%. The survey found that if IT managers invest in Server Virtualization, Document Management, Storage Virtualization, and Cloud Computing in that order, the returns on Server Virtualization alone can help pay for, if not totally cover the cost of, the other three processes. CDW-G found that on average, the total cost of implementing all four separately is over USD 1.1million, but when implemented in order, the average cost was around USD 400,000.
While it is unlikely that SMEs will see a return on investments of this magnitude, it is highly likely that they will see increased returns if they follow this method of re-investing returns from Server Virtualization into the other three steps. In times of economic stress, this could be a huge boost to your bottom line.
Helpful Recommendations From the results, CDW-G offered some useful recommendations that all businesses can use:
Desktop Virtualization is a new way to simplify management, strengthen security, and ultimately gaining new efficiencies from your investment in IT. Read on to find out more.
There is growing interest in Desktop Virtualization with its promise of improved manageability, security and efficiency for the business. Simply put, Desktop Virtualization is new technology that separates the system software such as the operating system and applications from the underlying hardware.
Desktop virtualization allows the hardware, like a laptop or a server, to run multiple operating systems. Imagine having your Mac running Microsoft Windows and Office, or your Dell running OS X and GarageBand for example. To stretch the concept even further, operating systems and applications can be housed on remote machines – such as a server farm in Texas – which you access via the web. The applications are not resident on your computer at all.
Desktop virtualization shifts the burden of managing the system software from you or your in-house IT teams to someone else—people who can do a better job managing and updating your Windows and Office software than you can. If you have a fairly large organization managing a large number of machines, centralizing support allows the organization to gain from economies of scale—ie less people to manage more machines at less cost. Leveraging the computing power of server farms with faster machines also allows employees to get more value out of aging desktops and laptops.
Enabling anytime, anywhere access to applications and data, Desktop Virtualization connects your employees to the tools they need no matter where they are. As organizations support more and more remote employees, using desktop virtualization technology gives them access to their Windows desktop anywhere in the world, at any time, on any device.
Are you supporting remote workers or is your hardware slowing down your employees? Let's talk about Desktop Virtualization and how you can try it for your organization today.