Is your server room flowing with so many wires that it looks eerily similar to an abandoned hallway in the Death Star from Star Wars? You’re not alone. The amount of pressure businesses put on their networks as they continue to rely on it for all sorts of applications, tools and processes means that if it isn’t stretched to capacity, there will soon be another wire plugged in somewhere to get it to last longer.
Will your network survive the next couple of years, though? The popularity of video in the workplace is growing rapidly, meaning that networks will have to handle the huge amount of bandwidth usage that comes with it – as well as maintaining uptime for vital company tools. If the network is on its last leg, consider turning to virtualization to improve video content delivery, while at the same time cutting down on the amount of servers needed to run the network.
There are two ways in which virtualization helps clear up the clutter in the proverbial server storage closet. Both of them are based around the key idea of an enterprise content delivery network – provide higher efficiency by using software-defined technology to portion the server into automated, optimized sections.
- Ditch the wires: Using virtualization in tandem with your network clears up a lot of the wires that would be needed to maintain consistent uptime for different functions. In the case of videos for internal communication, the ECDN divvies up and isolates parts of the system to work on different processes – a chore that would take several servers on a legacy network. Optimizing what you have keeps the IT department from having to undertake confusing backend wiring configurations.
- Compartmentalize: Virtualization allows IT departments to host different operating systems on the same server, according to Business News Daily. This replaces the notion of having to buy two different servers for the network, solely to run multiple application instances. Trade two for one, and maximize hardware utilization by hosting diverse apps on the same server.
By using virtualization, a company is able to succinctly process the bandwidth necessary to watch videos in one section of the network, while reserving the other section for normal office functions – such as proprietary software or other tools. The ECDN single-handedly converts two servers into one and helps IT departments avoid spending their time working with wires.
What are the benefits?
Besides clearing up space and relying on fewer servers to run the network, there are numerous benefits that switching to an ECDN provide:
- Cut costs: What’s the point in doing something if it won’t save your business money? An ECDN helps you do it a few different ways. By automating the servers, there’s less of a need to spend time repairing them and there’s a decrease in the risk of having to buy a new one. Anthesis Group found that 30 percent of servers are comatose, which is wasting $30 billion of companies’ money. Cut the dead weight by getting the most out of fewer servers. Virtualization optimizes valuable bandwidth for the WAN so that employees experience consistent uptime. Failure to do so may result in decreases in performance, but that’s not an issue those who switch to ECDN’s have to deal with.
- Internal communications boost: Video is becoming the standard for internal communication, and some industry experts say it already is. Millennials make up the largest part of the workforce, and their industry composition is prompting new ways for companies to engage with employees. Intranet has become flashier with videos to show company announcements, standardized training and goals and initiatives. This added strain, coupled with the growing telecommuting segment of the population, and IT departments have downtime just waiting to happen. Videos suck up bandwidth at an enormous rate, but ECDNs allow videos to cache after just one view. Is there a video 200 people will watch? That’s when an ECDN comes in handy, as it only uses the same resources as one person watching the video.
- Better disaster recovery: No one likes to think of the unthinkable, but it can happen. One night everything is going well, and the next the whole network is down. ECDNs use the server as a host, but it’s not necessary to use the same one. This means the company can actually downgrade if a disaster occurs, rather than be forced to buy the same expensive equipment, and won’t have worry about sensitive information being lost.
- Use what you have: There’s no need to upgrade a legacy network to begin the switch to an ECDN. By virtualizing the hardware, applications are separated and run smoother, meaning there doesn’t need to be any enhancements to make it work. This saves time and money for a company.
These are just some of the benefits of virtualization – the truth is, there are some that are intangible as well. The flexibility virtualization provides, as well as the consistent uptime employees will be able to have, and the preparedness the IT department will feel as industries transition into a digitally dominated age all translate into risk versus reward calculations.
The bottom line, is that by virtualizing applications, IT departments can trim their network down to the bare bones, get rid of extra, unused servers and ultimately save money and reap other benefits because of it.