As the needs of today’s business become increasingly complex, so do the jobs of network and systems administrators.
When designing their organization’s IT architecture, IT staff must consider the need for security, redundancy and uptime, not to mention the impact of business process applications such as ERP and CRM on servers and phone systems.
It used to be the CIO and the IT team built their solutions around onsite IT infrastructures housed in secure data centres. However, in recent years, virtualization has offered a variety of new options that can improve both flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Indeed, today, virtualization has emerged as a favored approach for many companies. The adoption rate among large enterprises is more than 90%, according to CIO Insight.
One of the key advantages to virtualization is the flexibility it brings to meeting business needs. For example, when laying the groundwork for a communications platform for a company, virtualization enables companies to mix and match implementations across a distributed architecture.
With the ability to choose from several configuration options, CIOs can design an architecture that best fits their business priorities, optimizing resources, budgets and infrastructure while improving reliability and security. In fact, virtualization can result in 80% greater utilization of server resources and produce up to 50 percent savings in capital and operating costs.
Research shows that virtualization is not just for the Fortune 500s anymore. SMBs are rapidly adopting virtualization and achieving significant benefits in a number of areas.
Specifically, SMBs are seeing improvements in:
1. Time spent on routine IT administrative tasks
2. Backup and data protection
3. Application availability
4. Ability to respond to changing business needs
5. Business continuity preparedness
6. Company profitability and growth rate
Let’s look at three potential implementation scenarios:
Onsite with Access to Virtual Applications
In this scenario, the business wants to maintain onsite servers but have the flexibility to add services such as collaboration features, ERP or CRM easily and quickly. With virtualization, such capabilities can be incorporated and managed via a single Web-based interface. The communications platform is deployed virtually, but backed up by physical switches.
Organizations that have already invested in data centre virtualization but want to use physical switches to connect smaller branches or sites can deploy a mixed system: virtualized at headquarters, with phone switches in the field.
For companies that need a high degree of business continuity, especially across multiple locations, full virtualization may be the best approach.
This is the implementation preference of J-W Energy Company. The firm is able to ensure business continuity by implementing virtualization of its IP phone system. Not only was the company able to centrally manage data, thereby realizing substantial cost efficiencies, it also knew it had a reliable disaster recovery solution.
As CIOs consider how best to implement their communications strategy, they realize that they need to take a hard look at virtualization. Virtualization can provide organizations with greater flexibility to take the implementation approach that best fits their unique business situation.
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