The most important type of virtualization for business owners is called “Desktop Virtualization.” It allows employees’ desktop computers located in cubicles to run on operating systems that are installed on a machine located elsewhere -- either on a server in your office or a server in a cloud-based data center.
In either case, the file folders, software shortcuts, and recycle bins that your employees see on their monitor screens will actually reside on the server, appearing to them via your local office network or via the Internet.
The main reasons for manufacturers, financial services firms, and healthcare organizations -- any type of business, really -- to virtualize their desktop computers are threefold. First, it significantly reduces how much money you’ll invest in computers; second, it makes management of your IT much easier; and third, it allows your users to work more efficiently.
Whether the virtual desktops your employees connect to are hosted on an onsite server or a cloud-based server, you’ll enjoy a huge reduction in your hardware spend. It’s made possible by the fact that the machines your employees actually use to connect to their virtual desktops will be built using extremely basic specs.
These scaled-back machines are called “dumb terminals” or “thin clients” because they amount to not much more than keyboard, mouse, monitor, and a network connection. They are stripped-down versions of typical desktop PCs, relying on the server to which they’re connecting for most of their processing power.
Imagine a row of 50 cubicles in your office where the PC sitting in each one goes from costing you $700 to costing you $200.
Virtualization’s growth among mid-sized businesses is set to skyrocket in the next few years, largely because “desktop virtualization reduces complexity.” In other words, dumb terminals make things easier not only for accounting and procurement, but for your IT department, too. And that’s particularly true if you choose cloud-based virtual desktops.
When virtual desktops are hosted on a cloud-based server, your IT department benefits from the fact that dumb-terminal hardware is easier to manage and maintain, and the fact that installing, licensing, and updating software applications and operating systems is removed from the equation.
Cloud-based servers -- whether for email, Microsoft Office 365, or in this case virtual desktops -- will be managed and maintained by your provider, not by employees in your office. This will bring you benefits beyond simplicity, like stronger cybersecurity and the ability to add users and applications without any network downtime.
Your team will occasionally need to perform routine maintenance on the virtualization setup. Fortunately, the PCs that your employees will be using, and the onsite server where their virtual desktops will be hosted, are easier to support than a traditional server-client setup.
For your IT department, dumb terminals’ scaled-down specs mean fewer hardware components and a total absence of software to update and upgrade. Since the software is centralized on the server, your technicians can apply cybersecurity patches, for example, on just one machine, rather than going through 50 PCs one-by-one to do it. This can free up lots of time over the course of a month or year so they can work on more important projects.
For the rest of your workforce, virtual desktops provide the ability to access apps and data from anywhere, at anytime, on any computer. They also allow access to multiple desktops from a single dumb terminal or mobile device. So if a user’s QuickBooks is on Windows, but their multimedia apps and compliance software are on MacOS, they don’t need two computers. They’ll simply click over from one virtual desktop on the server to another and continue working.
If you’re a manufacturer, financial services firm, or healthcare organization considering switching to a virtual desktop environment, you might also consider the second type of virtualization knowns as “Server Virtualization” -- as The Hospital of Central Connecticut did, with stellar results. It provided them with savings, simplicity, and “efficiency in the way we deliver systems” to their employees.
For more information on how Charles IT’s virtual desktops service can reduce costs and increase productivity for your business, visit us in our Middletown office or call us at 860-344-9628.