It’s well known that more and more businesses are adopting cloud computing technologies as cost effective and efficient way to reduce costs, increase mobility and productivity across the organisation without the need to continually upgrade or purchase expensive new hardware.
Many small businesses have re-evaluated what the company network is and are using an ever increasing number of technology innovations to build their IT networks.
Virtualisation has therefore become an important part of the IT strategy for many companies looking to maximise their resources and increase business efficiency, flexibility and mobility in and out of the office. One of the common forms of virtualisation is Operating System virtualisation; this is when an operating system like windows 7 or server OS for example is hosted by either a physical host or virtual server. IT services can then be delivered to existing PCs or to other devices such as a thin client or mobile device.
Thin clients are really effective in an office environment for implementing a virtualisation strategy, such as a Hosted Desktop environment for example, as they are a lot easier to set up and configure, cost less and require less maintenance than traditional PCs. A thin client is a computing device which has no local hard drive and relies on a server to access an operating system or services on. They are typically much smaller than a traditional PC and some even connect to the rear of a monitor. They can be configured to connect directly to a server which provides the computing resources it needs to access desktop environments and applications.
These applications run on the server and leverage the work load of the operating systems for the thin clients. Using platforms such as VMWare or Microsoft’s hypervisor Hyper-V, the server can be configured to intelligently manage its resources across a huge range of different clients dynamically. Resource pools, that determine the CPU speed and allocated RAM for specific clients, can all be managed from a central server.
If a user needs more computing power, the server can dedicate the required resources to that specific device within a network. If a user is using more graphically intense programmes, the server will automatically dedicate relevant resources to this user and then retract it back into the resource pool when it is not needed. This process is fully automated from the server to deliver the best experience for the end user.
The thin clients can also be pre-configured to boot automatically to the hosted desktop login. This means end users are not fixed to a single workstation but can simply logon anywhere they sit and be delivered the same desktop, applications and data associated with their profile.
Using this type of virtualisation mean that you can adopt it now using the PCs and other devices you have, and when a PC reaches the end of its life, it can be replaced with a cheaper thin client which can be shipped already pre-configured to boot into the hosted desktop environment. This saves businesses money on buying new hardware and software licenses which often dies along with the machine to get users operational again. It also saves time, as all of the software is hosted in the cloud which means there is no time lost loading office suites, anti-virus programs and other applications used, they can connect the computer up and get access to their desktop within minutes.
This type of visualised network can either be developed in-house where their expertise allows, or you can partner with a hosting provider who will be highly experienced in delivering this type of solution as a service for a monthly subscription. The hardware and data is typically centralised in a secure ISO-27001 certified datacentre, making it easier to manage business IT systems without compromising security and privacy.
Operating System and server virtualisation can be highly beneficial for businesses to develop in-house business IT system’s where they have the money and skills. However these solutions are now readily available with expert backup from hosting providers. So businesses can rely on the cloud to deliver a secure and reliable computing experience that can deliver a better experience to its end users for a simple monthly subscription. Above all though, virtualisation is a viable choice now for all businesses regardless of size.