By Andy Boyle, UK Sales Manager Systancia

Virtualisation is not a new technology, in fact, it has long been heralded delivering cost-saving and Green benefits to many large enterprises worldwide. Since virtualisation was first implemented by IBM, market leaders such as VMware have deployed with more than 170,000 customers around the globe, and now boast 100% of the Fortune 100 as customers. *

Generally, it is widely believed that innovative technologies such as [b]Virtualisation and Cloud Computing introduced to the market are reserved to benefit large enterprises,[/b] who remain the vanguard of the forward-thinkers and trail-blazers. This is largely because these goliaths have access to the financial means necessary to invest. Meanwhile, it is traditionally assumed that smaller businesses find that deploying emerging technologies is expensive and not that feasible at all.

But a closer look at our customer-base tells a different story, as it boasts a large number of SMBs in a wide variety of sectors. In fact, SMBs are more likely to be early adopters of new technologies, as highlighted in a recent survey by CompTIA, which found that 30% of SMBs are planning to implement SaaS solutions in 2010 in order to lower costs and maintain their competitive edge. This represents a 22% increase from last year, and 14% from the year before. Unlike large corporations with strict processes, SMBs can be more agile and instigate changes almost overnight.

Key considerations

For SMBs looking to deploy Desktop Virtualisation technology, factors such as cost savings and protecting business critical systems and data are key considerations. We believe that Desktop and Application Virtualisation is a solution which goes hand in hand with company growth, and is a technology in which the architecture can be designed to meet the needs of companies of all sizes, in all different sectors. To put it simply, the purpose of this technology is to install some or all of the applications such as Word, Excel or Internet Explorer, or even entire operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows Seven, on dedicated servers.

Beyond the obvious cost-saving benefit, which in most cases can be a deal-breaker for smaller businesses, Desktop and Application Virtualisation allows SMBs to reduce maintenance costs as well as overall operational and ownership costs of their desktops and application deployment and management. We have found that this can be as much as 40-70%, when compared to SMBs making use of traditional managed PC’s.

Desktop Virtualisation offers built-in redundancy systems allowing for high availability and simplified Disaster Recovery. This greatly eliminates the risk of outages, should there be any interruptions — such as accidents or natural disasters — which can be crippling to any business.

Security is always an important issue to consider, and by centralising application resources at the data centre, Desktop Virtualisation helps to provide secure access to a company's data. We feel that it is much simpler to control access to data when it is collected in one single location than when it is distributed around all of the company's sites. As access to the applications and desktops are via remote screens, it is easier for the administrator to allow or restrict the movement of data files across the network, through the administration console.

Last, but certainly not least, Desktop Virtualisation can achieve a significant reduction in overall power consumption. The replacement of traditional desktops by thin clients and the centralisation of servers, which optimises processor and memory use, play a major part in reducing the carbon footprint for this infrastructure.

Getting Started

The market has long dictated that Desktop and Application Virtualisation was only a solution for large enterprises, but actually we have found real-world usage which indicates that this technology is very relevant for SMBs. It has a proven track-record, and is a stable and cost-effective solution which offers many benefits, as indicated above. With great flexibility, SMBs are able to deploy an appropriate solution based upon the company’s individual needs.

*Source: Cnik IT and Consultancy Services