vmware workstation your first step in virtualization

how to buy vmware workstationSo finally we have covered the benefits of virtualization but mostly at an enterprise level that may not be suitable for everyone. 

Let’s think that you just need to run more than one computer as a personal lab, you don’t need to move all the way to an enterprise grade virtualization deployment, you need Vmware workstation.

Vmware workstation allows the user to run more than one operative system in the same computer at the same time without having to turn on and off your computer every time you need to use a different operative system.

From a green it perspective the product avoids the need to have several computers running at the same time with ends up saving on the electricity bill  at the end of the month and  of course leaving less electronic waste on the streets when the end of life of the computers arrive.

Vmware workstation is pretty cheap when you look at the benefits it provides. Without any discount you can pay for the product about 250 US dollars but when you compare the cost of buying another computer and the monthly cost of the energy you can easily figure the math.

It allows you to run more than 30 different operative systems including windows, Linux and some versions of Novell.  So it’s perfect to run a lab with a variety of needs.

The latest version of the product can run very big virtual machines with servers characteristics. So you can even simulate a server environment on your laptop or desktop.

It also allows the user to run a personal cloud on the on the computer with vmware cloud foundry which is a tiny version of vmware’s platform as a service. With these you can develop your cloud applications on your desktop and then upload it to their service.

So if you run into the need of having a small lab or need to develop locally vmware workstation is a great product. For more information on how to buy vmware workstation click here.

If you have any doubt about if vmware workstation is right for you please visit 10 things you should know before buying vmware workstation.

Replace travel with video conferencing

With modern technologies there is almost no need to travel in order to take day-to-day meetings. Audio and video conferencing software and hardware allows companies to avoid unnecessary travel to perform this kind of activities.
 
Avoiding unnecessary travel a high impact on the environment is reduced in conjunction with the improvement of the workforce results.
 
First of all you don’t need to travel or commute to take the meeting in the first place. Almost no emissions of CO2 are in place if you don’t take a flight or drive through the city for hours in order to take a one-hour meeting.
 
Video conferencing solutions:
 
oovoo: audio and video conferencing
skype: audio and video conferencing
webex: audio and video conferencing
 
Companies of all sizes are adopting video conferencing solutions every day for different uses but, from my point of view, there are some meetings that need to be taken face to face and those cannot be replaced by a video call so it’s up to you to analyze which meetings can be taken over the internet and which should not.
 
Standing from a Green IT point of view, reducing travel will reduce organization impact on the environment and will save some money on travel and accommodation with improved productivity.   

This post belongs to Identify methods to reduce workforce environmental impact.

 
 
  

Remote interviews

A normal recruiting process usually takes 4+ interviews depending on the company standards. Taking advantage on remote interviewing can save a lot of time and improve employee’s productivity.

Since candidates do not need to travel for the interview whether by a public transportation service or by his/her own car CO2 emissions are considerable reduced minimizing the company impact on the environment.

Employee or team performance can be improved by taking more interviews on the same time frame. Personally I have taking a few dozens of screening/interviews using Skype both on voice and video mode and the results for a first contact with a candidate works great.

From my point of view this technique can be applied only on the first sets of interviews leaving at least one or two to be in person.

Tools that can be used to to perform remote interviews:

oovoo: audio and video conferencing
skype: audio and video conferencing
webex: audio and video conferencing

This post belongs to Identify methods to reduce workforce environmental impact.

Working remotely but securely

Providing end users access to the company network remotely is the first step to design a telecommuting project at the corporate level. Evaluating different options with pros and cons of each one is required. Here are some points to analyse.

Traditional secure ways to access the corporate networks

VPN

Virtual private networks are used to establish communications channels between an end user computer or from a complete site to the corporate networks.

There are different types of VPN services that can be implemented. Some are listed here:

  • PPTP Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol creates a plain and unencrypted channel between source and destination.
  • IPSec IPSec encrypts IP packets by encapsulating them inside an IPSec packet. IPSec packets are then de-encapsulated at the end of the tunnel where are routed to the destination.
  • L2TP Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol which is a standards-based replacement, and a compromise taking the good features from each, for two proprietary VPN protocols: Cisco’s L2F and Microsoft’s PPTP.

Choosing the right VPN system depends on the security level required by the company and the budget available.

Remote Desktop

Originally the Remote Desktop service, protocol, was introduced by Microsoft on Windows NT terminal server edition to allow users to connect to a server where applications were installed. On Windows 2000 Remote administration was added allowing up to two administrators to connect remotely to perform management tasks.

Remote Desktop was included both on servers and workstation editions and up to today remains available on windows XP and Windows 7.

It’s not the most efficient protocol to gain access a remote computer but the benefit is that there are Remote Desktop Clients for Linux, Mac OS, IOS, Android and Windows.

Using Remote Desktop to access a remote computer to all users will require a VPN connection in most cases. The VPN service will provide the communication channel and Remote Desktop will be the protocol used on top of the channel to access the remote computer.

Remote third party software

If for any reason Remote Desktop Protocol cannot be used or the desktops that users use to access the remote location are not running Microsoft Windows other options are available.

VNC: VNC has been around for more than 10 years. It’s Free and allows remote access to and from different operative systems like Windows, Linux and MAC.

LogmeIN: Remote access app with a free and a pro ($12.95/month) version with file transfer, remote printing, and more.

GoToMyPC: Extremely popular remote access program for ~$25/month.

Some services does not need a VPN service in place in order to access corporate computers remotely providing access directly through their servers and then establishing a secure channel.
Personally I prefer to be able to control who access the corporate premises remotely. Having a VPN service will allow me that kind of control while using third party software, in some cases, does not.

For other options visit 40+ ways to access your computer remotely

The objectives of the exam have some years now a new modern option has not been included bur worth to mention.

Today VDI technologies like vmware horizon view allows users to access their Remote Desktop, or virtual desktop, using modern protocols that guarantee faster access, rich user experience and high levels of security.

VMWare view eliminates the need of having a VPN concentrator. It provides a secure https tunnel using a security server placed on the DMZ zone of the corporate network. In order to take security to the next level a two-way authentication can be in place like using a username and password and a electronic token.

This post belongs toIdentify methods to reduce workforce environmental impacts.

Telecommuting – Working from home

One of the simplest way companies can green their workforce is by allowing personnel to work from home. Let’s analyse it from a Green IT perspective.

Avoiding commute to work at least some days during the week has some advantages for the employees and the company:
  • Less cars on the street: this is simple, if your employees are not using their cars to commute from home to the office it’ going to be a reduction of cars on the street. Even if the personel does not use their own car but public service transportation it’ going to be better for the community.
  • Commute time saving: without needing to commute everyday employees now have more time to do personal activities they love improving their lives and the relationship with the company.
  • Savings for the company: less people at the workplace will end reducing operative costs of the company. An easy list of the benefits is less energy consumed for the heating/air conditioning system, less powered on computers. Not related to Green IT are cleaning the facilities, less coffee consumed an so on.
How Green is telecommuting is not that clear upfront. The reduction of energy consumption for the company might not be enough because employees still consuming energy at home in order to work remotely. In fact energy consumption will be more in some cases considering that the remote user will use their computer at home and access a powered on computer on the corporate network.
What is clear is that reducing the amount of cars on the streets moving employees back and forth will produce a CO2 emission reduction.

The idea of telecommuting has been around for a few years now since Internet simplified remote access to corporate networks. IT departments has been working to improve secure Te remote access services with some successes and some failures depending on how you look at it.