Benefits of Server Virtualization

Virtualization comes in different forms where each one would offer businesses a range of benefits. By far ‘Server Virtualization’ amongst SME’s is the most popular because it allows companies to consolidate existing physical servers using virtualization products such as VMWare and Windows Virtual Server.

Some of the Benefits of Server Virtualization includes:-

  • Reduce capital expenses – by decreasing the number of physical servers, you will reduce hardware maintenance costs, energy consumption and save space.
  • Maximizing use of existing resources – Virtualization makes server administration more efficient, agile and less time consuming.
  • By segregating applications into their own ‘virtual server’ it can prevent the applications from affecting another application when upgrades or changes needed to be made.
  • Faster data backup and recovery as image-based backup and recovery will be faster than tradition methods.

By just virtualizing your IT network servers if can offer a more robust and flexible IT network environment compared to a physical infrastructure. For consultation on virtualizing your IT environment please feel free to contact us

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Implementing Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: Steps You Might Consider

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is simply a different way users can access their desktop – remotely. By transforming tradition desktops into a cloud-like service it offers flexibility and scalability allowing employees to remote-in anywhere and on any device.

If you are thinking of implementing VDI at your workplace we have put together a few steps that you may want to consider.

  1. Choose the Right Virtualization Approach – A company can virtualize in different ways so, a decision needs to be made between whether to virtualize the entire desktop environment on a server. Or create remote access terminals where applications are hosted on a central server.
  2. Assess the Network before Development – Conduct an assessment of the network to check whether there will be adequate bandwidth to support the peak load of each virtual desktop user.
  3. Evaluate the Different Thin Clients – To implement VDI you will need to decide on a ‘Thin Client Terminal Management Software System’. It is advisable for businesses to look at how each department uses different applications in order to choose the most suitable option and to test which will provide the best interface and usability for the business needs.
  4. Develop a Desktop Virtualization Strategy – Servers are the heart of desktop virtualization so, check whether the current infrastructure has the sufficient capacity to deploy VDI. You will need to check whether the Critical CPU, memory, I/O resources are available to support the peak processing demands of users and make sure the datacentre SAN has enough storage to host all the virtual desktops you are planning to implement.
  5. Security – It is fundamental to have strong security measures controlled by IT administrators, they should implement access control and configure each user with the right access level and policies. When deploying VDI it is also important to have endpoint security in place to secure each endpoint.
  6. Choose a Data Backup solution – In order to backup your new Virtual Desktop Infrastructure a virtual or cloud backup solution will be required.  You can use products such as Veeam and Doubletake; each will offer great benefits but, you need to choose the one that is most suited to the business disaster recovery planning requirements.
  7. Plan, Communicate and Deploy – The length of time it takes to deploy VDI in a corporation depends on the size of the company. But, once a plan is in place it should be communicated to the employees stating the benefits of this change, the timescales and any expected downtime that may occur. This will help eliminate confusion, doubts and gain employees buy-in.
  8. Finally, Test your Backups – Always conduct backups regularly, consistently and check whether they were successful to ensure you will always have an up-to-date copy of your data in case of a disaster.

For more information on VDI and how you could benefit contact us today.

The Different Types of IT Network Virtualization

IT network virtualization has been around for many years and gaining in popularity amongst SMB’s,  with many currently planning or deploying virtualization projects. It has also been found that over 40% of medium sized businesses have already virtualized their servers.

Within the virtualization market there are 2 main competing brands VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V, where both have their benefits. But, prior to choosing the software vendor a business must decide on what type of virtualization to proceed with and the objectives of the IT project.

There are 3 main types of IT Network Virtualization:

Storage Virtualization

Storage devices on the network like hard drives are consolidated into one place and managed by a central portal. This will allow network administrators to monitor resource levels available on the IT network and making it easier to manage day to day.

Network Virtualization

This is where a traditional IT network is transformed to a virtual network by combining both hardware and software resources within the IT infrastructure. The network administrator would then be able to share resources amongst the users, like dividing bandwidth into different channels. They will also be able to see the complete network in a management portal, which would help streamline processes and save time.

Server Virtualization

One of the most popular forms of virtualization – this is when virtual machines are created within physical servers but, the virtual machines will still appear to be in a separate space. Different tasks can then be assigned to different servers, allowing savings on processing power, cost and space while the administrator will still be able to diagnose and resolve issues quickly.

To find out how virtualization can help your business contact us today

Top 5 Advantages of Managed IT Services for Businesses

The reliance on IT systems has prompted a movement from traditional break-fix or reactive IT support to Managed IT services. ‘Reactive IT support’ or ‘Break-fix IT Support’ is when an issue arise within the network and the IT engineer is called. Whereas ‘Proactive’ or ‘Managed IT’ involves continuous monitoring and maintenance of an IT network so, an IT engineer can potentially resolve and prevent issues occurring with the system while the end-users remain productive and working.

Here are our Top 5 Benefits of a fully ‘Managed IT Service’:

1. Increase Productivity

By opting for a Managed IT service it can lower the risk and potential impact of IT failure on a business; because by continuously managing and monitoring an IT network the Managed Service Provider (MSP) can take a proactive approach and resolve certain issues prior to it affecting the end user. Also it can decrease the time from major network failure to issue resolution, as the MSP will have in-depth knowledge of the IT network already.

2. Reduce Overheads

Managed IT is a cost effective way for managing and dealing with an organisations business IT; as businesses would not require capital investment i.e. for in-house IT team but, only a monthly operational expense is required. With a managed IT service a business can leverage resources and expertise from the MSP for the length of the contract.

3. IT Expertise

By investing in a MSP for your company will have a team of IT experts with a wealth of experience and expertise to monitor and manage the business IT infrastructure. They will also be trained on the latest technology and be able to offer tailored recommendations based on the current condition of the IT network.

4. Reduce Network Downtime

By having regularly maintenance activities in place conducted by the MSP, it can help reduce the occurrence of unforeseen downtime or incidents and it will keep the business running smoothly. Also scheduled IT healthcheck reports generated by the MSP will also help with future IT resource planning.

5. Customisable SLA

Businesses can often customise a Managed IT Services package to suit the business needs and budgets. Service Level Agreements can be tailored to manage the whole IT infrastructure, certain devices or aspects of the network. The IT support included in the service can be the standard 9 to 5 or 24/7, there is a choice with managed IT.

A good Managed Service Provider can help nurture and grow your business by affectively managing your business IT. There are a number of benefits of Managed IT services that a business can gain from investing in it.

If you would like more information please feel free to contact us.

Continuous IT investment VS Break-Fix

Often we cannot tell there is something wrong with our IT systems until the screen freezes or it is not loading faster than slug – which raises the question is continuous maintenance worthwhile or an IT break-fix approach fine for businesses?

The break-fix philosophy is followed by many organisations and IT service providers: when issues occur within your network, contact with the technician is made. Depending on whether the technician called is in-house or outsourced, the amount of time it would take for the problem to be resolved can be anyone’s guess… So, sitting around… waiting.

Whereas, continuous infrastructure maintenance requires a routine assessment of hardware, software, network infrastructure and even daily practices of your users; it can highlight potential issues – that is lurking in your IT systems waiting to pounce, when you least expect it.

While the break-fix approach, can to be working one minute and left un-operational in the next but, capital is only required when something in the IT network is actually broken.

Continuous updates and assessments will require higher investment than break-fix but, it can increase efficiency and productivity; may even save money in the long run; for example, finding out you’re paying for more software licenses than you actually need.

With businesses becoming increasing reliant on their IT systems ‘Break-fix’ VS ‘continuous maintenance’ it should be a decision based on the business needs and assessing the pain points. For example, if communication is mainly by telephone rather than email, and the internet is down it may not cause many issues but, if the business is an e-commerce like Amazon… being offline will be the biggest pain of them all!!

So, pros and cons can be found with both – the most important question is which of these approaches to the business IT infrastructure is most suited to the business as a whole.