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Virtualisation Fears Holding Businesses Back

Article date: Wed, 07 Nov 2012 10:15 GMT

IT consultant at i-Virtuals, Ashoka Reddy

Many businesses are missing out on the benefits of virtualisation due to a lack of technical understanding, according to the UK's leading industry experts.

With many firms taking on several hundreds of clients on a daily basis, there's a growing need to ensure data is stored safely and effectively. Virtualisation can be the ideal solution for a firm's data storage, yet many companies remain unconvinced because they are still unsure as to how it actually works; as well as being unaware of the advantages virtualisation can bring to a business.

Web hosting provider UKFast held a round table discussion on concerns regarding virtualisation, inviting the UK's top IT professionals to share their insights - with managing director of UKFast, Jonathan Bowers, hosting the event.

"Their biggest concern is always some fear of the unknown - how does it work, or is it safe? In terms of how it works, they can easily go over it by use of diagrams and explanations which will then give them the conceptual idea. But for the security part, it can be difficult to make them understand that it's not something to fear," said enterprise solutions architect at UKFast, Tyson Dye.

"One of the biggest challenges is that most people's perceptions within an enterprise is the traditional model of building a big wall around your enterprise - with everything on the inside safe, and everything on the outside as bad," explained channel sales manager at Trend Micro, Stephen Porter. "What we want to do is provide a security mechanism where the client retains control and the ability to protect the data regardless of where it is; so that they retain the responsibility, they retain the control and therefore they feel empowered to let that data move."

He added: "The whole reason that we virtualise is to become dynamic and if that dynamism means that I move the data out to an external provider, or to another organisation, then I want to be able to retain control over it."

IT consultant at i-Virtuals, Ashoka Reddy, reinforced the opinion of control - highlighting the fears several organisations have over data ownership: "There's another concern I've noticed, mainly about data location when virtualising your business.

"By default, your data could be anywhere - in a data centre in China - and what we're finding is that clients want to know the physical reality of the virtual infrastructure as well. There's this growing need within virtualisation to have it physically placed - especially in the UK; we want our data centres closer to home."

However, despite the general consensus being the need for autonomy, pre-sales consultant at HP, Jerry Walsh, was quick to point out that companies not willing to adapt to new trends of technology could negatively impact their business: "We sort of say to people 'well, think of the upside of virtualisation', and just think of all the benefits that can give the business - the flexibility, the agility, the improved test cycles. You could exclude yourself from all those things and fundamentally, you're going to hurt your business if you don't embrace this technology."

Bowers concluded the discussion by stressing the importance of client relationships - and that by establishing clear, direct avenues of communication, the more likely customers are to be trusting of new ideas: "In business, the majority of connections are formed by word-of-mouth. Recommendation is the highest form of flattery for businesses, and whilst there's definitely a risk in adopting new technology, referring any emerging products and services after sufficient testing can be a worthwhile gamble - but only if you have the full trust of your client."

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