Already sold on VDI? Think about this [Citrix, Microsoft]

If you are already sold on VDI, you still face at least one more tough decision: which platform is best for you?

There are plenty of quality offerings out there, all with pros and cons. Depending on your current environment some solutions will work better than others. In this issue, we cover a mash-up in the virtual desktop game – the Microsoft-Citrix VDI combo – and see which organizations fit the profile.

WHAT’S INSIDE YOUR DATA CENTER?

Do you fit the profile for a virtualized desktop environment with Microsoft and Citrix? According to Softchoice Enterprise Architect Mark Wall much of it comes down to what kind of shop you have already.

There are several benefits to keeping it in the family and not exploring a new environment. Not least of which are the savings on training costs and the ease of adopting an already familiar technology.

“Microsoft Hyper-V gives you a common platform your Windows admins will be used to and find easy to manage,” says Wall. “If I already have people who know Windows environments inside out, I don’t want to go spend a boatload on training to get this done.” [Read more…]

Making the change: You have the specs for Windows 7…now what? [Microsoft]

After its much-anticipated release, Windows 7 was welcomed with a flurry of positive reviews suggesting none of the hesitation users felt toward adopting its predecessor, Windows Vista.

But as businesses start planning to refresh their aging operating systems, there are a few key considerations to make. All too often, we miss huge opportunities to cut costs and optimize efficiencies during the refresh process. Here’s a look at what you need to know to ensure a hassle-free Windows 7 deployment.

First of all, are you ready?
Chances are you’ve wondered if your existing environment can handle Windows 7. Good news is the odds are in your favor. Leading up to the release, Softchoice performed an analysis of over 450,000 corporate PCs. Of those, 88 per cent met the minimum hardware systems requirements to run Windows 7 and 65 per cent met the optimal requirements.

“Since so few organizations made the switch to Vista, over ninety per cent of PCs have remained on Windows XP – an operating system about to celebrate its 10th birthday – and close to five percent are running operating systems that Microsoft no longer supports,” says Dean Williams, services Development manager for softchoice, and the author of the study.

System requirements aside, the risks and costs of maintaining aging infrastructure mean it’s a good time to consider moving to more current technology. And with so many organizations already entitled to free upgrades through Microsoft’s Software Assurance, cost is not the barrier many might imagine. [Read more…]

The Right Idea for Your Cloud-Computing Needs [Microsoft]

With increasingly rich applications and a growing capability to store, manage and organize data, the power of the PC and mobile devices has grown exponentially. But these enhancements pose three critical challenges to IT departments: protecting the reliability of the IT infrastructure, developing solutions that add value to the business, and providing the end-user the flexibility and accessibility that is expected in the world we live in today.

Especially with today’s economy, the biggest challenge IT departments face is budget. Roughly 70% of IT budgets go to maintaining existing systems, leaving only 30% for development of new solutions.

Enter Software-plus-Services.

To tackle these challenges, cloud computing – or internet-based hosted services – is fast becoming a favored solution.

When it comes to cloud computing software applications, the Software-as-a-Service’ or SaaS model is when a provider licenses a hosted software application to customers for a service on demand. But there are limitations to the SaaS model, including limited feature functionality of the application, required internet connectivity, backup and synchronization of data and speed and accessibility of the application. So it is important to first make several key considerations when looking at cloud-based solutions, such as: [Read more…]