Helping SMBs benefit from virtualization

These virtualization machines presents a compelling market opportunity for VARs and application service providers (ASPs) who want to help SMBs benefit from a server-centric environment.

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Ask Harley Stagner your virtualization questions

An ASP may want to host the LivePCs, preconfigured with applications needed by the customer, on its Web servers and provide the customer with bare-metal host appliances that are used to run the LivePC engine. The customer could then stream the LivePCs to their host appliances and run them as if they were desktops. At this point, the customer would only be responsible for data storage, unless that is provided by the ASP as well. This arrangement offers several advantages over a traditional ASP model.

  • Even if the customer loses connectivity to the ASP, they will still be able to run LivePCs that have already been downloaded to the host appliances.
  • The startup costs for the ASP should be significantly less. Any given LivePC only needs to be stored once and backed up. This copy can be distributed to many clients, cutting down on storage costs.
  • Bandwidth required to support this ASP environment is much less because clients are not constantly connected to the ASP. The LivePCs are streamed to the clients and run locally on host appliances, reducing bandwidth costs.
  • Customer support costs could be drastically reduced because the ASP would handle operating system patches and new software installations in the background on the original LivePC. These changes would be streamed to the host appliances at the customer's site.

SMBs are starting to notice virtualization technology thanks to companies like Moka5. As a VAR or ASP, it might be a good move to partner with such a company early to capitalize on a possible emerging market. Large businesses are not the only ones considering the economic benefits of server-centric, managed IT solutions.

Virtualize your cake and eat it too

 Part 1: An alternative ASP model
 Part 2: VMware's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
 Part 3: Moka5's LivePC
 Part 4: Helping SMBs benefit from virtualization

About the author: Harley Stagner has been an IT professional for almost eight years. He has a wide range of knowledge in many areas of the IT field, including network design and administration, scripting and troubleshooting. Of particular interest to Harley is virtualization technology. He was the technical editor for Chris Wolf and Erick M. Halter's book Virtualization: From Desktop to the Enterprise and currently writes his own blog at www.harleystagner.com. Ask Harley your server virtualization questions today.

This was first published in November 2006

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