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Is virtualization right for my small office?

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Last Modified: 2012-05-09
I own a small commercial HVAC company with 40 employees, 8 working in the office on 9 machines.  I do all the IT work myself, and for the last 10 years it has worked well for me.  As my business has gained traction and become more successful I have less time avalible for maintinance, upgrades and dealing with hardware failure.  I recently tried to outsource the work but found the response times were not good enough and the financial expense was too high.  If an employees machine fails, I need to get that employee back up in minutes, not hours or days.  So I'm left looking for a software/hardware solution to minimize IT work and maximize uptime. I've found some but they all seem to be aimed at much larger (100+ seat) offices.  What's the best solution for the little guy?  Is a Virtual Desktop package like VMware View 4 the way to go?

A break down of the machines in my office:
5 - XP (32bit) Basic Desktops
1 - XP (64bit) Workstaton
1 - XP (64bit) AutoCAD Workstation
1 - SCO Unix Workstation - This runs our  plasma table (upgrading to Linux soon)
1 - XP (64bit) File Server - Hosts all critical files, Retrospect backup, webserver (intranet only)

All machines are backed up nightly, and critical files are backed up and uploaded offsite.

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