Virtualization: Increasing IT Efficiency and Cost Savings
Today’s economic environment creates a difficult balance for businesses of all sizes and industries. On one end of the scale, there is growing information, data, and technology needs. On the other side, there is a reduction of IT budgets. Technology departments are expected to manage the ever growing data needs with fewer resources. So how do you do more with less? Efficiency! Efficiency is not only one of today’s buzzwords in manufacturing, the environment, and business practices in general, it is also highly relevant for every IT professional. A recent report stated that data centers are Hot, Crowded, and Virtual. The trend extends beyond the data center into IT needs of all kinds of businesses. So how does an IT professional get from where they are to a more efficient IT environment?
Identify Business Goals (Outside of IT)
It’s common for a company to have recognized an IT need, developed the solution, and let it chug along productively for years. This solution then gets taken for granted and the problem is considered solved, yet new solutions are constantly evolving that render the former solution obsolete in terms of speed, efficiency, trackability, and adaptiveness. Support for aging IT systems then becomes a hindrance to actually getting work done. It is a competitive advantage to get ahead of the curve, and to stay ahead of it. You must recognize which parts of your IT infrastructure are core building blocks of your business, and optimize them in a future-proof way. Likewise, you must also recognize which parts are merely supportive, and minimize them. Whether you aim to increase innovation, improve the quality of your healthcare, or optimize your manufacturing systems, your technology should foster these goals. You should always support your business goals with technology.
What Do You Need to Achieve These Goals?
Now that you have identified your business goals, place those goals in the larger context. What do you need to accomplish these goals? Common needs include agility, storage, uptime, security, flexibility, scalability, and protection. As your organization grows, the importance of managing these needs is compounded. Ultimately, maintaining server productivity and efficiency will help you with your business goals and technology cost savings.
Integrate Your Goals and Needs with Technology and Virtualization
Now that you know where you want to be and what you need to get there, use technology to your advantage. 26% of companies with fewer than 250 employees and 48% of companies larger than 250 employees agreed they need to shift to cloud based solutions, according to 7th Sense Research, in a report from a survey commissioned by Microsoft. Why are they reaching to the cloud? Physical servers are more expensive and less flexible than virtual servers. While you still need a place to store a virtual server, the cost savings and adaptiveness of virtualization has driven companies into the cloud.
There are major cost savings and efficiencies gained from virtualization, and the cloud is one vehicle toward virtualization. Dell and Intel put out a great piece about reducing IT expenditures through virtualization. We agree that these pieces can help reduce costs and increase efficiencies.
Organizations do not want to bear the risk of the public cloud, but see the advantages of the private cloud. For example, Carnival Cruise Line underwent a major virtualization effort. Their virtualization led to performance at nearly 140% with only 40% of their original server footprint. Likewise, Salesforce.com transitioned to the cloud and doubled their performance at 10% of the original cost. Virtualization allows loads to be balanced so that an organization can fully use available capacity, which is a prime example of efficiency.
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