With the UK economy back in growth and forecasts looking increasingly positive, many businesses will now be turning to their own growth plans. Increasing physically to accommodate more business opportunities and expand into new areas is crucial to these plans, in order for businesses to succeed in competitive markets when everybody has been waiting for a turnaround in economic stability.
It is here that IT presents both opportunities and threats. As the majority of private UK businesses (99.9%) are classed as small to medium enterprises (SMEs), employing between just 10 and 250 people, smaller sized firms have often coped with an in-house IT team and self-hosting. However, in a climate of change and almost universal over reliance on technology, expansion can weaken this set-up significantly. Without the right solution, growth plans are weakened too.
Having a robust IT infrastructure can be perceived to be costly – particularly if run in-house – but facilitating stakeholders with IT is crucial for modern day businesses. Speed, agility and organisation, which are reliant on such robust systems, can become the elements that give a business an edge over competitors. Purchasing additional server space ‘just in case’ is a common solution, but it isn’t cost effective and results in wasted server spend. There is a far more scalable, flexible and intrinsically ROI based solution – VMware virtualisation.
One of the basic premises of VMware is rooted in using IT more efficiently. As a tool it is ideal for expanding businesses, allowing them to reduce costs, improve processes and reduce system recovery time across all IT deliverables. But VMware isn’t just a business tool; it works alongside companies and supports them in their day-to-day activities as well as their long-term capacity plans.
The ability to quickly scale all aspects of a business is essential. Should expansion happen more quickly than expected, smooth yet rapid scalability is essential. This is where virtualisation comes into its own. Using VMware – exampled here – offers a variety of elements which enable a high degree of ‘virtual’ IT scalability on an almost instant basis. PEER 1 can vertically scale up a virtual infrastructure if an increase in business activity demands additional memory or processor power. And when the need for more virtual machines occurs, they can quickly set them up and provision them. In both cases this can occur without taking the existing hosts offline, avoiding any disruption to your business.
Through streamlined virtual memory management, duplications can be eliminated by finding pages that are identical across multiple virtual machines and consolidating them, so they are stored only once and then shared across multiple environments/systems. This results in the ability to control the number of virtual machines required for any purpose and creates more memory on existing hardware. Typically this can save anywhere from 5% to 30% of the servers total memory. Such intelligent memory management means businesses use their servers in the most cost effective way, with no space unused or used unnecessarily.
Many businesses find their growth creates unexpected peaks in service. This can cause serious problems if there isn’t sufficient server space available to cope with demand. However, with virtualisation there are automatic solutions. If all virtual machines on a host spike at the same time and require all of their memory allocation, VMware’s Distributed Resources Scheduler (DRS) can automatically redress the balance by performing live migrations of virtual machines to other hosts in the cluster. This real-time process has no noticeable effect on the end-user experience and no loss of data or transactions.
Virtualisation through VMware is a solid choice as a business tool in challenging yet extremely promising times for businesses stymied through a period of financial hardship. To reduce TCO whilst building the very best ROI from IT, requires true agility and scalability. Here, VMware can help any shape or size of business grow as a company, with little or no disruption to day-to-day operations.