When Virtualization Should Be Part of Your Communications Strategy
As the needs of today’s business become increasingly complex, so do the jobs of network and systems administrators. When designing their organization’s IT architecture, they must consider the need for security, redundancy and uptime, not to mention the impact of business process applications such as ERP and CRM on servers and phone systems.
It used to be the CIO and their team built their solutions around onsite IT infrastructures housed in secure data centers. But in recent years, virtualization has offered them a variety of new options that can improve both flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Indeed, today virtualization has emerged as a favored approach for many companies. The adoption rate among large enterprises is more than 90%, according to CIO Insight.
One of virtualization’s key advantages is the flexibility it brings to meeting business needs. For example, when laying the groundwork for a communications platform, a company it allows companies to “mix and match” implementations across a distributed architecture.
With the ability to choose from several configuration options, CIOs can design an architecture that the best fits their business priorities, optimizing resources, budgets and infrastructure while improving reliability and security. In fact, virtualization can result in 80% greater utilization of server resources and produce up to 50 percent savings in capital and operating costs.
Let’s look at three potential implementation scenarios.
Onsite with Access to Virtual Applications
In this scenario, the business wants to maintain onsite servers but have the flexibility to add services such as collaboration features, ERP or CRM easily and quickly. With virtualization, such capabilities can be incorporated and managed via a single Web-based interface. The communications platform is deployed virtually, but backed up by physical switches.
Businesses that have already invested in data center virtualization but want to use physical switches to connect smaller branches can deploy a mixed system: virtualized at headquarters, with phone switches in the field.
For companies that need a high degree of business continuity, especially across multiple locations, full virtualization may be the best approach.
This is the implementation preference of J-W Energy Company. The firm is able to ensure business continuity by implementing virtualization of its ShoreTel phone system. Not only was it able to centrally manage data and realize substantial cost efficiencies, it also knew it had a reliable disaster recovery solution.
“We had a flood in our headquarters, which caused us to shut down our data center for a period of time due to safety reasons,” recalls Joel Wolfe, the company’s vice president of Information Services. “With ShoreTel, failover to our alternate facility went flawlessly. We just went into the cloud environment and had our numbers pointed to the other facility. In 15 minutes we were fully functional.”
As CIOs consider how best to implement their communications strategy, they should take a hard look at virtualization. It can provide them with greater flexibility to take the implementation approach that best fits their unique business situation.