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Improving IT Compatibility, Application Provisioning and Management Through Virtualization Technologies

Quoting Virtual Strategy Magazine

It's a fair assumption that in the enterprise space, most organizations’ strategies now focus on using IT as more of a business asset than a mere service to the company. As such, many organizations are increasing IT spending in areas such as unified communications and collaboration, then extending beyond, into business process improvement. Two noticeable work trends emerge from this approach: the first being the need to consolidate platform IT in the workspace, and standardize on core productivity toolsets such as the Windows client operating system, currently Windows Vista, and the Office family of products from Microsoft. The second is to improve core business via IT application services, with more business focused tools such as SAP and Siebel for workforce and sales management.

To deliver on this business trend, more and more organizations are using virtualization technologies to combat issues raised by compliance needs, distribution and compatibility.

Within the financial services and pharmaceutical sectors especially, the need to meet compliance regulations set out by governments and official regulatory bodies, such as the US FDA, across the globe have driven IT departments to begin reviewing virtualization tools to monitor and manage licensing and software asset ownership. Tools such as Microsoft's SoftGrid can be implemented to track the usage and installed instances of software, no matter the vendor. This gives IT departments within organizations a great deal of reporting capability not only to meet compliance regulations in reporting on legitimate licensing levels, but also a great deal of granularity on business usage, allowing for smarter investments when licenses are renewed. Specifically, this allows both for potential cost savings in unused licenses, and business growth in tracking the usage of new tools and systems.

Virtualization is also being implemented to free up a great deal of an IT department’s time for major projects such as software migrations or major operating system changes. As a rule of thumb, an IT Department managing a migration in house within a medium sized enterprise can expect to spend a total of 6-8 months of project time in planning, design and ultimately delivery, in migration from one generation of an operating system (or major productivity tool such as MS Office or SAP). In addition to this large piece of project work, applications must be tested and reviewed for compatibility to ensure the business still functions post-migration. A typical application can often take several weeks of testing and packaging before it is distributed with a new operating system (OS), adding further time, cost and unnecessary burden onto the IT professionals within the organization. As an additional point, typically a company will follow a 3-4 year migration cycle between generations of operating system, meaning this whole exercise has to be repeated in house some years later making a five year IT business plan include a tremendous amount of labor cost simply in migration, testing and packaging work.

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Read the rest of the article, here.

Published Saturday, June 16, 2007 7:35 PM by David Marshall
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