Is your company one that tries the hot, new technology just after it is released (early adopter)? Or is your organization one that waits for months, sometimes years, before implementing the technology (late adopter)? Regardless of which end of the spectrum you fall (most small to medium-sized businesses are somewhere in the middle), hot or emerging technologies capture your attention because they are constantly discussed in publications, in web seminars, in conferences and many other venues.
Here are some technologies that are piquing the interest of small and medium businesses and being adopted as they mature in their feature set and lifecycle.Server Virtualization
and its associated technology is based on the premise that an average server is typically being utilized 5-15%. A best practice by network administrators is to distribute applications onto separate servers so the server won’t experience utilization spikes, possibly disrupt services or become a single point of failure. This practice led to “server sprawl” because network administrators started buying one server for every application. Virtualization allows administrators to store several under-utilized servers on a single piece of hardware and also store an entire server as a set of files. These files contain the operating system, application and data. The files can then be moved from one physical server to the next as the hardware utilization rate changes.
Generally organizations consider virtualization for two main reasons – consolidation and high availability. Consolidating reduces the server sprawl and its associated costs and resources: the electricity bill, hardware maintenance, warranties, technical support, air conditioning/cooling systems, real estate or physical space.
Organizations that want to achieve high availability because they have a very low tolerance for downtime use virtualization to achieve this goal. Virtualization can allow servers to be safely moved from one physical server to another with no impact to end users. Virtualizing a production environment better prepares companies for a disaster as the virtual servers can be safely moved from one physical server to the next under certain circumstances. SaaS or Software as a Service
is more of a model or methodology where software applications are used or accessed via the web versus installing the application on each user's machine and running the software "locally". These products are built specifically for one-to-many usage over the Internet. The advantages include no maintenance or updates by the IT department, no management of hardware, instant updates delivered by the software company, and pay-as- you go licensing model. Some of the most popular or well known SaaS products include Salesforce.com, Google Apps, QuickBooks or TuboTax Online, and WebEx.
The disadvantages to these services are that it may cost more in the long run, you have less control over the application or little customization capabilities and the vendor's longevity or viability is more of a concern. SaaS products are generally considered part of Cloud Computing, where anything can be made into a service (storage, backup, infrastructure, voice) that leverages the Internet or “cloud” as it is sometimes called or depicted.
For assistance with implementation of any emerging technology, contact MIG to help you evaluate the advantages and disadvantages and to determine if your business will benefit from these new technologies.