[IMGCAP(1)]Is all of the recent talk about virtualization just hype?  We don’t think so. 

Here are five fundamental ways CPA firms — and all businesses for that matter — could reap benefits from leveraging virtualization for their next network refresh:

Better utilization of investment. If you think about how much computing power a hardware server has and how much you actually use, a lot is wasted. I usually poll the audience when I present on virtualization, and people typically estimate that they are utilizing 10 percent or less of the actual power of their servers. Server virtualization allows you to capture the lost utilization.

DR/Portability. When running virtual, your “server” is now just a file on a disk. The hardware becomes just processor and RAM to run the virtual server. If you replicate the virtual servers, you can bring up your production environment anywhere — not a copy of your production environment, but your actual production environment.

Hardware life cycle. With virtualization, your hardware refresh lifecycle is much easier to implement. Since your server workload is separate from the physical hardware, you can refresh your hardware without the headache of migrating an operating system and applications to a new piece of hardware.

Change control. With server virtualization, you can snapshot a server at a point in time before making changes. If the changes have a negative impact on the environment, you can quickly and easily roll back to the snapshot.

Price. Most major vendors have free offerings for server virtualization. VMware’s ESXi, Microsoft’s Hyper-V Server, and Citrix’s XenServer are all free.

And that is just the beginning of what virtualization can do for your firm. 

Jason Conger is the director of technology at Xcentric, which specializes in cloud computing and IT consulting for CPA firms. He is a member of the Citrix Technology Professional Program, which recognizes individuals for their outstanding contributions to Citrix solutions, and offers 13 years of experience in the technology delivery. He can be reached at jconger@xcentric.com.

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