Most companies’ telecoms could easily be improved so they’re cheaper, more efficient and more flexible, by using ‘virtual’ technology, according to Neil Johnson, Solutions Consultant at voice and data company, Maintel.
The mix of traditional telephony and new add-ons that currently exists in offices can create complex environments that are difficult to maintain says Johnson.
“Simplifying this environment will not only reduce cost and environmental impact but also free up resource to focus on developing the communications strategy going forward.”
Johnson argues that virtualisation – where an organisation can have its communications systems fully or partly hosted – is appropriate for organisations of all sizes.
“Not only can it save businesses time and money, it also meets today’s need for flexible working, convergence between fixed and mobile networks and security issues. For example, employees can use their smart phones as a wireless device at work and as a mobile when they’re away from the office.”
Johnson explains that businesses should not be put off by the term ‘virtualisation’.
“The confusion about virtualisation often comes from a belief that it must be hosted ‘in the cloud’ whereas it’s usually on solid hardware that’s in yours, or someone else’s, premises,” he says. “It’s basically achieved by using software to host single or multiple instances of your applications across a single or multiple cluster of servers.”
He explains that virtualisation enables applications handling calls, messaging, fixed / mobile phone options, audio and web conferencing and unified communications to be managed on far fewer servers which are able to share the workload.
This brings major cost and environmental benefits, with energy savings of up to 80 per cent. Server life is increased, maintenance reduced and there are savings on licensing, updates and technical support.
In a climate where world events have focussed corporate minds on disaster recovery, Johnson also explains that virtualisation can be used to replicate data at a data recovery centre some distance away, enabling business continuity if there’s a crisis.
“Overall, virtualisation is relevant in any business environment. No company can afford to ignore an option that simultaneously delivers efficiency improvements and cost savings.”