By: Markus Witcomb
Cloud Solutions / Desktop Virtualisation
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Think about how your business uses its computers and other digital devices. The chances are each desktop or notebook PC has its own operating system and installed applications, which all connect to a network.
Each time an operating system or application is upgraded, it can be time and resource consuming to complete all the updates across your business’ IT. Add with the plethora of smartphones and tablets entering the equation, the complexity of keeping your IT up-to-date becomes more than apparent.
Describing virtualisation, Symantec states:
Desktop, or endpoint, virtualisation enables a centralised server to deliver and manage individual desktops remotely. While users enjoy full access to their systems, IT staff can provision, manage, upgrade, and patch them virtually, instead of physically. This also means that users can access files and applications on a central server. Companies might also opt for a hybrid scenario where users can access some applications through a central virtualised server and others through their local computers.
Moving to a virtual desktop environment means that the desktops that your employees see on their computers is delivered and controlled centrally from your server room.
It’s the massive gains in control that moving to a virtual desktop offers to smaller enterprises in particular that make this technology so attractive. Using a virtual desktop offers a number of advantages that include:
The adoption of more cloud-based services that are themselves delivered virtually to any internet connected devices have shown small businesses the key benefits that virtualisation can bring to their companies.
Research carried out by VMware concluded:
Nine out of 10 IT departments spend at least half of their time doing routine administrative tasks, such as adding and managing new server workloads, adding new employees or developing and launching new applications.
SMBs who have implemented virtualisation reported productivity gains with 73 per cent seeing significant improvements in time spent on routine administrative tasks. Interestingly, IT decision-makers feel their departments are more responsive than business decision-makers do; 33 per cent of IT decision-makers say their IT department is very responsive, while only 18 per cent of business decision-makers say their IT department is very responsive to company needs.
For small business owners, virtualising the desktop system across their businesses will begin with a potential overhaul of their current servers. Many SMBs have embraced the server and benefited from the cost reductions and efficiency gains that this has bought to their enterprises. Adding virtual services to your servers is the next logical step.
Converting your existing physical server to support virtual desktops isn’t as complex as it once was. Companies such as Cisco, Microsoft and above all VMware have been evolving their support for virtual desktops for several years.
Some of the most mature tools available at the moment come from VMware. To get your business ready to embrace virtual desktops and start benefiting from the features this can bring, your business needs to make relatively simple changes to its server and desktop setup.
Designed specifically for small and midsize businesses with limited IT resources, VMware Go and VMware Go Pro enable customers to focus on their core business by simplifying and automating routine tasks. VMware Go is a free service that provides small businesses in particular a fast and cost effective route into virtualised desktops.
Embracing the virtual desktop is an effective way that all small businesses can improve their efficiency and future-proof their IT systems. Once your business has moved to a virtual environment, this then offers infinite expansion, as your business grows.
Moving away from traditionally installed operating systems and applications frees your business to become more agile and flexible. Most businesses now have a mix of operating systems, office applications, mobile devices and their apps, and a workforce that needs to use a myriad of applications on the move.
A virtual desktop can change to reflect the work being done – all managed from a central location.
As small business see the benefit that cloud-based services and platforms can offer, it makes sense to also look closely at how your installed desktops, servers and mobile devices can also benefit from virtualisation.
Ultimately, the virtual desktops your business can now create offer massive opportunities, not simply cost savings. Virtual desktops can deliver a whole new way of working to your business and all the efficiencies and economies of scale that brings.