In enterprise data centers around the world, the traditional reality of one application per server is changing. Pressures to cut costs and streamline operations have brought organizations face to face with the expense and difficulty of managing a constantly growing number of machines running different applications and operating systems, often with different database requirements. Data centers are running out of space for all of the servers acquired over the years, yet hardware is underutilized and disaster recovery is complicated. Energy costs are skyrocketing and server administration expenses keep rising.

Ironically, some of the best steps an organization can take to improve its operations can actually contribute to these problems. Automating core business processes with solutions like fax servers produces huge gains in efficiency and sustainability by helping organizations quit paper. But process automation also generates massive amounts of data to be stored, backed up and recovered -- which means more hardware and associated costs. And the need to power and maintain all the machines to handle that data presents a challenge to green business initiatives.



Taking Migration to IP a Step Further

This paradox may explain in part why sales of Internet-based fax server solutions are growing at a rate of over 50 percent, according to fax industry analyst Davidson Consulting, gaining predominance over conventional fax board-based solutions. Together with the emergence of virtualization software products like VMware, Hyper-V and Xen as valuable tools to run multiple applications and boost hardware utilization, Fax over IP (FoIP) provides the means for completely virtualized fax systems, and it addresses the expense of line charges and other costs associated with public switched telephone network (PSTN) infrastructures.

Virtualization coordinates access to a single piece of hardware, like a server computer, so that multiple guest applications (including fax server software) can share the hardware without interfering with each other. Fax server solutions can seamlessly be implemented in a virtual machine environment without hardware by integrating fax with Voice over IP (VoIP) networks.

Fax virtualization offers organizations significant benefits of increased efficiency and cost control in hardware utilization, data center resource management, energy cost control, simplified administration and disaster recovery. By reducing the number of servers an organization runs and manages, fax virtualization lowers capital expenditure and maintenance costs and minimizes energy use. With virtualized fax there is no need for downtime during hardware maintenance, and organizations benefit from maximum uptime and disaster recovery preparedness to help ensure business continuity.

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