Dell Virtualization has been one of the most useful innovations in technology since the turn of the century. PC networks became essential to business prosperity in the 90s, and virtual machines and programs represent the next step to a centrally-maintained, efficient office computer system. Rather than dealing with a bunch of networked machines, each with its own unique problems and hang-ups, this next step allows offices to utilize computing resources from a centralized server hub.
There are a number of options and methods for implementing this solution in your office. Depending on your business’ size, scope and model, you may wish to choose one or more of these in your short-term and long-term plan for business computing solutions.
The first decision you need to make is whether you will buy your servers and virtualize elements of your office network from your own server infrastructure or whether you will effectively “rent out” computing power from a virtualized computing service. The service will give you a stream of computing capacity which you may use however you wish.
The following options are ownership-based models.
- Storage Sharing – This involves using your server create a “virtual” hard disk for each computer in your office. This may be useful if you want to keep all your data in one place or if your employees work with more data than their desktop computers can store. It is also the simplest form of virtual machine.
- Programs – You may install a necessary program on your server machine and then let employees run that program through the network to their workstation. This is useful if you want a single location to update and troubleshoot the program. This also allows you to skirt the licensing requirements for some programs, as you only install it on physical hardware once.
- Operating Systems – The next step up from virtual programs, a virtual operating system is like running several instances of Windows directly from the server. It requires a powerful server to be the operating system for everyone in your office, with plenty of RAM. On the plus side, this means that the computers at employees’ workstations do not have to be that expensive, even if they are running complex software.
- Virtual Machines – A virtual machine solution is the ultimate in virtualized server technology. It consists of partitioning a server’s processing power and sending each slice of computing power to each worker in your office. This allows the workers themselves to have little more than monitors, keyboards and cursor tools. All of the functionality of a computer “tower” is replaced by a super-powerful server. The downside is that you have to have the money to buy said super-powerful server.
The following options are service-based models. They are used by businesses seeking to rent their computing solution rather than own it. Many startup companies choose this model because it allows them to get started with minimal initial network costs. They may wish to change to an ownership-based virtual model as they grow and expand their business.
- Software as a Service – This service corresponds to the “Programs” option described above, except you rent the license and ability to run a particular program or set of programs from a virtual computing service.
- Platform as a Service – This service corresponds to the “Operating Systems” option described above, except the operating system or platform comes from a service-based model.
- Infrastructure as a Service – This service corresponds to the “Virtual Machines” option described above, except you rent the processing power and memory from an outside company.
Whichever option you think is right for your company’s computer network needs, know that server virtualization is definitely the wave of the future. It is a more efficient, more centralized and more controlled way of doing business. Consider a virtual computing solution today!