Virtualization: A tale of two technologies

Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other IT managers straddle two worlds – not because they want to, but because they have to.

First, there is the world of the data center. Its servers and other hardware components, and the business applications that run on them, are the backbone of the organization. They turn the reams of data that companies generate and collect into the information they need to understand and operate the business.

Then, there is the world of telephony. Here, voice applications ensure that the people whose performance determines how well the organization does, how effectively it competes, and whether it succeeds or fails, communicate with one another in myriad ways to ensure that information is understood and acted on. Even in today’s high-tech world, voice communication is the beating heart of the business.

Two worlds to manage

Managing those worlds is not easy. It means having two of everything. Two budgets. Two groups of personnel with different sets of specialized skills. And two technology infrastructures to buy, deploy, and support. It has to be that way though, because data applications and voice applications have very different needs when it comes to the hardware they run on and the ways in which they can be managed.  At least, they did until now.

When two become one

The result is revolutionary. It’s exciting. And it offers substantial benefits to organizations in the form of capital and operational cost savings, lower cost of ownership for hardware infrastructures, reduced risk associated with operational continuity and disaster recovery, and new opportunities for innovation. It’s something that everyone wants. It has the power to change business. And it’s here now: Virtualization.

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What voice virtualization means for business

Those benefits are considerable. Reducing the overall number of physical servers in a data center has the obvious benefits of capital cost savings. And server consolidation also leads to immediate operational savings, because less real estate is needed to house hardware, and less energy is needed to power and cool the fewer servers that do the job. IT managers used to laboring over two plans for business continuity and disaster recovery – one for data, the other for voice – can now encompass their entire IT infrastructure with a single plan. And they can have a common set of service level agreements (SLAs), processes, and tools for their single infrastructure.

A single standard for managing servers and applications in the data center provides increased efficiencies in a range of other IT areas, too, including provisioning for test, development, and production environments. As well as lowering the total cost of ownership of the IT infrastructure, virtualizing voice along with all of an organization’s other business applications greatly improves IT’s ability to respond to business changes, so they are better prepared to respond to the ever-shifting demands that the business places on both data and voice resources.

In short, CIOs can now fundamentally change the way they think about their IT infrastructures and their resources. Instead of managing individual boxes, they can manage overall IT services. Instead of devoting most of their budgets to maintenance, they can focus on innovation. Resources and personnel that have traditionally been devoted to maintaining two infrastructures can now be focused on developing new applications and services that build competitive advantage for the organization. And, for the business people who depend on data and voice applications, it means a better quality of service at considerably less cost.

All of the benefits of the data center and VoIP telephony can be realized with less capital spending, lower operational and maintenance costs, reduced power consumption, and easier and more dependable business continuity and disaster recovery. What used to exist in two different worlds can now, for the first time, be united in one.

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