Virtualization delivers real competitive advantages

Executives and entrepreneurs in every part of the world are watching with concern the economic events of recent months. Canadian businesses understand the market necessity and pressure to preserve product quality, increase operational efficiencies and improve customer satisfaction.

Technology has been a strategic enabler for companies of all sizes, driving innovation, productivity and cost-reduction. The channel is increasingly gaining expertise and experience in deploying virtualization solutions – key technologies that have important roles in producing positive and crucial business outcomes from increasing business agility to lowering costs to mitigating risks.

Virtualization allows businesses to increase the utilization of their IT assets, cut energy consumption, improve application and resource availability, and simplify systems management and support.

Solution providers have the opportunity to become important business partners by delivering such benefits and helping companies maintain their growth, profitability and competitiveness.

Virtual Clients

A client virtualization architecture can reduce maintenance and support costs, offer greater control over applications and data, and provide a higher level of security than traditional desktop PCs.

Computer processing, applications and data are securely located and centrally managed in the data centre, and then accessed remotely over the network. If a client device is lost or stolen, no business-critical or confidential data is vulnerable or exposed.

Also, the risks of data loss and corruption or system infection and downtime from malware are reduced. Virtualized client environments can include thin clients, blade PCs and workstations, and virtual desktops, based on the specific needs of the organization.

Thin clients provide secure, simple and reliable user access. They offer features that enhance security, ease manageability and lower the cost of ownership. Thin clients are ideal for users with core productivity and task-oriented responsibilities.

Blade PCs and workstations provide a full and personal desktop experience. They are ideal for knowledge workers and power users who must access numerous, specialized or graphics-intensive applications without affecting performance. IT staff, meanwhile, benefit from the centralized management, control and security of the data centre.

Virtual desktops also provide a complete desktop experience, but through a virtual machine that is isolated and protected in the data centre. They share data centre resources for optimal allocation based on user needs, and this allows IT staff to maximize the utilization of assets, lower costs, and increase security and reliability.

Client virtualization delivers a comprehensive range of benefits that improves the ability of Canadian businesses to strengthen customer relationships and service.

Customer data is protected and controlled more effectively in the data centre and so is less susceptible to loss, theft, corruption or improper examination.

Employees are more productive, as they are able to securely and immediately obtain the information and applications, whether they’re in a different department or facility, required to perform their jobs.

Also, mobile professionals are able to easily and remotely connect to networks and databases when and where needed.

Sensitive or competitive market information can be restricted and accessible to only authorized personnel, based on their user profiles, roles and responsibilities. With virtualized and centralized management of client devices, IT staff can more effectively block viruses, trojans and spam from infecting and spreading across individual computers on the network.

As Canadian companies begin to meet the challenges of an unprecedented, even surreal, economic environment, they will need to become even more disciplined and focused on bottom-line business outcomes.

They can look to their solution provider partners for alternative, non-traditional technologies such as client virtualization to support them in delivering high-quality products and services, improving efficiency and productivity, and building customer loyalty.

Rod Hardman is the solution business manager for thin clients and virtualization at Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Co.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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