Archive for the ‘Virtualizaton’ Category

Getting the most from your IT budget

May 21, 2010

[tweetmeme source=lansystems only_single=false]Especially during tough times, we look to trim our operating budgets.  Efficient use of our valuable resources is just smart business and there are many ways to manage costs without sacrificing performance.  Below are a few ideas that you can use immediately with a minimum of time and investment. 

  1. Recycle software licenses – It’s worth the effort to record all software purchases so you can easily transfer and upgrade licenses.  Start with an inventory of all existing software and then be sure to update as you add and replace licenses.  Often software licenses can be harvested as hardware is retired.  When purchasing, compare the cost of transferable to non-transferable licenses.  Be sure to keep the necessary documentation with your master list in a file.  To save paper, use electronic files.
  2. Optimize printing – Start with evaluating what you print and eliminate unnecessary or duplicate hardcopy.  In today’s office, most paperwork can be saved electronically eliminating the need for a printed copy.  When using electronic records, be sure that your system includes a common repository for all records and a rigorous backup strategy. Additionally, share network printers in workgroups.  Save on paper costs by using lighter weight paper for internal documents.  You can use paper tray selection through Print Properties.  Multifunction printers that print, copy, scan and fax might be a good investment.  Always evaluate printers that meet your needs by using the total cost per page (TCPP).
  3. Server virtualization – Use existing server hardware and add a “virtual” server to improve performance or add features. Virtualization allows you to house two or more “virtual” servers on the same hardware.  You can also consolidate servers into a virtual configuration.
  4. Application virtualization – Separate the application configuration layer from the OS in a desktop environment, reduce application conflicts, bring patch and upgrade management to a central location and accelerate the deployment of new applications and updates.
  5. Desktop virtualization – Rather than using your desktop PC to run applications, use your server to host all applications and data for the desktops.  This client-server model is advantageous in many ways.  You can deploy desktops quickly on a basic machine and may double the useful life of PCs since they need minimum resources. On existing systems, you may be able upgrade your entire system by adding a server without changing any desktop PCs.

For more IT solutions and computer support tips, visit: http://www.lansystems.com

Desktop Upgrades

March 20, 2010

[tweetmeme source=lansystems only_single=false]You’ve had your business desktops for a couple of years and they have gotten noticeably slower.  The staff wants new, fast and fancy PCs but you are just not sure if that is a good use of your resources.  You want everyone to be as efficient and productive as possible so it’s time to do a computer ROI analysis.

When discussing desktop upgrades, there are several strategies to use and many ways to mix-n-match them. You can upgrade your existing desktop to extend its life, you can move to a desktop virtualized environment, you can use online software services or you can use a combination of all.  Our overview gives some of the most common choices, but it is not exhaustive. There are many ways to solve this complex issue. 

1)   If you have desktops that the user accesses for programs and files, consider these ideas:

a) Upgrade memory

b) Move local disk storage to a server

c) Use external drives to expand data storage

d) Replace CRT monitors with LCD panels.  Consider dual monitors for users that use many application windows or do considerable cut-and-paste. Most users that use the dual monitor arrangement declare it makes them more productive and less likely to make mistakes.

e) Tune-up the PC.  Scan, clean and remove unneeded programs and files.  Sometimes reinstalling the operating system and applications can fix a host of problems, but it can be time consuming.

f)  If you are looking at upgrading the operating system or application software, consider going to desktop virtualization or purchasing a new desktop.  Often, these choices can be a more cost-effective solution.

g) If the desktop is not worth upgrading, consider donating to a non-profit that can make good use of the equipment. LAN Systems can assist, we have a program with a nominal fee to remove data and verify software licenses.

h) If you have to dispose of computers and electronics, please choose a responsible recycling program. LAN Systems has a free program to recycle.

2)   If you are considering desktop virtualization on your own server, you should know:

a) This strategy can significantly extend the life of the desktop

b) The user will get their desktop and applications from the central server not locally.  Most of the processing is done by the server, so the desktop only uses a small amount of resources.

c) Choosing the right desktop virtualization software is essential.  There are many different offerings with different feature sets.

d) Review application licensing to see what costs will be incurred in going virtual

e) Do a complete cost analysis to make sure you get your ROI

3)   Consider online software services (SAAS):

a) Evaluation costs over your ROI period

b) Consider hosted email, spam and virus protection

c) Look at other hosted software like email marketing, sales, contact management, and accounting to replace in-house software

If used wisely, your computer system can be one of your best competitive advantages.  Often minor changes or upgrades that are quite economical can give you the biggest returns.  For more technical tips, go to:  http://www.lansystems.com

If want to discuss these and other ideas, please email me at mary@lansystems.com.