Business Continuity for Key PCs using VM Ware

Posted by on Nov 6, 2012 in Featured Projects, Recent Projects | 0 comments

Central to most company’s cashflow is the availability of their chosen accountancy application. This software ensures accurate records are kept of all cashflow in and out of your company. This could be Quickbooks, Sage or any number of applications that you have to install and run on a local machine in your office.

If you don’t have access to this application, how do you raise invoices or record purchases? And for each day you don’t have access to this software your potentially losing a day being able to invoice and manage your funds.

Overview

You cannot escape from your company’s requirements to have specific software installed on your local machines. In an engineering environment this may be some software to manage the printing of RFID cards or perhaps such as in this case;  accountancy software. You may only have ONE license for, meaning it cannot be installed legally on multiple machines.

This is all fine and dandy while the machine is running, but if you have a failure to the now obsolete motherboard or lose the hard drive or the software corrupts, then what?

You can do what you can to limit your risk; back these up on a regular basis or ensure staff are backing up Sage Line 50 data to a separate location. But what happens when you can’t access those backups or the ones you have are too old or dare I say it damaged/incorrectly configured? You can’t exactly take the hard drive out of the broken machine and put it in another PC and turn it on, or can you? You need an affordable business continuity plan.

Challenge

This is exact the issue we were asked to resolve for one of our clients, and having experience with virtual machines, knew we had a viable solution that would work… in the real world; install a virtual machine. What this means to the lay person is the ability to run a virtual computer ON a single physical computer.

Affordable Business Continuity using a Virtual Machine

We analysed the business needs of our client and decided that the best method of providing business continuity was to create a fresh install of Windows 7 under VMWare. This machine would then be run by their accounts department and all transactions would be handled in this virtual machine.

To complete this we did the following:

  • Installed a virtual machine of Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
  • Installed Avast Antivirus
  • Installed All Windows Updates
  • Installed Microsoft Office 2010
  • Configured Microsoft Outlook as the Mail Client on the virtual machine
  • Installed Sage Line 50 2011
  • Restored their Sage data to the virtual machine
  • Configured the Sage Line 50 backup schedule and set the backups to store off the virtual machine (for contingency)
  • Provided training for their staff in how to use VMs

Benefits of Running a Virtual Machine

One of the key benefits of running Sage Line 50 on a virtual machine is the ability to change the physical computer that it runs on without experiencing any down time. The virtual machine folder can be copied across to another machine and once VMWare is installed on it, simply powered up. You are asked to confirm if you’ve moved this virtual machine, but then you are able to just fire it up and continue working.

To increase your resilience, you can also configure the virtual machine to schedule routine snapshots. This allows you to roll back to a previous safe state if you experience a serious issue with the virtual machine. Perfect for when those Windows Updates cause your machine to glitch!

If your company could benefit from a reliable platform in which to run it’s Sage Line 50 or other essential local software, why not give us a call and discuss your requirements?

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