by Paul Rudo on 05/05/11 at 11:06 am
Let’s imagine it is 1980, you have just arrived at your office and all is quiet. There are no PC fans letting you know they are alive and well, your closets have paper and pencils in the them, and your air conditioner hasn’t been left on overnight to keep the server(s) cool. With no PC or laptop to boot up your head is free of all thoughts except the plans you have for your business that day. This is how it used to be and this is what Virtualization can bring you.
In a survey recently taken by the Chamber of Commerce, the number one worry of all small business owners as they arrive for work each day is… Has my server crashed?
In 1980 computers were a thing that only the Fortune 500 could enjoy, they were locked away in rooms open only to the few that knew how to keep them running, providing only a terminal and keyboard (known as a dumb terminal) for its user, who cared and worried not about whether it worked.
When it didn’t they sat and waited until it did. There choice of screen was green with a blinking cursor, no mouse. Managers had no control over them, hoping they would get through the day without too much down time.
And you know what? They did.
Let’s fast forward to 2011. Companies are providing servers that are locked away in data centers open only to the few that know how to keep them running, providing a terminal, keyboard, and mouse for its user.
If this sounds like we have gone in a complete circle, it is because we have.
But, the dumb terminal of today is a far cry from its predecessor, as are the computers. In 1980 you would be hard pressed to get a computer that serviced 500 users into 40 X 40 foot room.
Today those same 500 users can work from a single computer; known as “Host Machine” that is about 26 inches long, four inches high and 19 inches wide. Inside this “Host Machine” will be 20, 30 and more “Virtual Servers” providing everything from email, to word processing, to accounting (and a myriad of other) software applications to meet the business owners need.
They can manage remote USB connections, scan files to anywhere, print to anywhere, and they do it at the speed of light.
Virtualization is not new, in fact this author was working on it over twenty years ago and some industries were virtualizing hardware thirty years ago and more. What is new is the ability to provide it to a single user anywhere on the face of the earth at any time. What made it all possible was money and the Internet. Like every thing else in the business world, risk, is the single largest aspect of a business that has to be managed carefully.
Once the cost of buying the hardware required to run Virtual Machines became cheap enough to buy the redundancy necessary to mitigate the risk, the “Cloud” as the world likes to call it became a viable option for all.
Users of the ‘Cloud” arrive to their office each morning to the same sound as their counter parts of 30 years ago, they have a Thin-Client device on their desktop that is as quiet as mouse that you can leave on forever, with no servers to keep cool their air conditioning turned itself off the night before, the closet is full of paper and pencils, on the top shelf is a modem, a switch, and a router that connects them to their applications, email, word processing and files.
If they are a doctor and had an emergency call while at dinner with their family the night before they pulled out their hand held device and handled the entire emergency without leaving the dinner table. If they are a marketing manager who had forgotten to send a proposal to the home office before leaving work, they logged into their office while watching the game, and printed it out on the printer next to the boss’s office.
So one would ask, why is the small business owner taking a such a long time to adopt the technology?
Well the answer is very simple. While they worry about the server crashing, they worry more about control. Remember the “risk” factor. When you control everything, you believe you are also controlling your risk. And, they might be right. It was only when we had a similar event to Amazon, did we fully understand the faith our customers place in us.
Their business was down and they had no way of determining when it would be back up. At least when the server is in the office and crashed they believe they have control. Of course they do not. But image, you have a car accident and your child is injured and the ambulance folks are working to make them better, you are their you are in control, right? Wrong.
But now remove yourself from the car, put yourself in the office and your wife is on the phone describing what is happening. What is the first thing you think about doing? That’s right, jump in your car so you can get their and take control of the situation, right. Wrong. But we get the idea.
Once the business owner get’s passed the need to have ultimate control it doesn’t take them long to see the financial benefits, the reduced risk factors, the increased up-time, the flexibility of the desktop anywhere, and on and on and on. In five years Microsoft has predicted the death of the “fix-it” IT company.
This author predicted the death of the PC three years before the “Cloud” term was coined. Thin-client technology is such a cost saving, production improving technology, that like the PC before it, it will be embraced by all.
The challenge will be… What is the next medium. I mean, there are no more circles, are there?
This is a guest article from of Jon Bowling, President of Thin-Nology