Thursday, July 29, 2010

Benefits of a Virtual Appliance

A virtual appliance is a software solution that combines an operating system and an application in one easy to install, virtual package. Unlike a hardware appliance, a virtual appliance doesn't require shipping, rack space, high cost, or lots of maintenance. Compared to traditionally delivered software, it eliminates installation, configuration, and maintenance costs.

A virtual appliance provides compatibility, isolation, and hardware independence, just like a virtual machine. The difference is that a virtual machine is simply a software container made up of CPU, RAM, storage and networking resources, while a virtual appliance also contains an optimized, pre-installed, and pre-configured operating system and application.

The virtual appliance is quickly becoming the top choice for installation and deployment, and the list of applications available to install is growing. Available applications include WordPress, MediaWiki, Drupal, Joomla, LAMP Stack, MySQL, Ruby on Rails, and PostgreSQL. Many of these applications are available as free downloads from sites such as VMware and Turnkey Linux.

The Advantages of Going Virtual

Save time and money with improvements in application development, distribution, deployment, management, and utilization efficiency. Virtual appliances are built on an optimized operating system, such as JeOS (Just enough Operating System). This allows for a much smaller package, speeding up delivery and decreasing the appliance’s footprint.

Development and distribution become easier for the vendor; development for multiple operating systems or physical packaging or shipping is not required. This decreases time to market and reduces costs, benefitting the end user. Deployment is simple with virtual appliances. Applications and operating systems are pre-installed and are ready to run. Companies can easily deploy new and updated applications to remote offices. Software can be installed immediately, anywhere in the world, and is instantly available. Increased security is another advantage of using virtual appliances. A low-profile operating system presents a reduced attack surface, enhancing security without effort.

With virtual appliances, there is no need for additional in-house expertise for deployment and maintenance. Patches and upgrades are provided directly by the appliance provider. This eliminates incompatibility issues and related requirements for testing. Administrators, when running production-ready VMware virtual appliances, can use VMware vMotion, High Availability, vCenter Server, Distributed Resource Scheduler, and Consolidated Backup to streamline deployment and maintenance tasks even further.

Your Software Solution

Virtual appliances are pre-built, pre-configured, ready-to-run application solutions that offer the exact software you need and nothing more. They are packaged with an optimized operating system, and distributed and deployed using a downloadable image. Virtual appliances help a company deploy, install, and maintain many different software environments. With virtual appliances, companies save money and stay productive.

Virtual Appliances, VMware and Infinitely Virtual

Learn more about how your company can use virtual appliances to run the software you need by calling Infinitely Virtual at (866) 257-8455 or by requesting more information at

Friday, July 16, 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 Offers Virtual Hosting Customers the Right Features

The new Microsoft Office 2010 productivity suite, released in June, includes a broad selection of new and upgraded features. Primarily targeted at the business market, the updated version includes new ways to create, enhance, and co-author documents in PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and OneNote, connect with contacts and keep track of events in Outlook, and deliver presentations using the Web. Improvements to the core environment, such as the new Backstage View and additional file format support, round out the suite’s new features.

The important additions for virtual hosting customers are the revised user interface and improvements to Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Professional Plus users will benefit from improved SharePoint integration and additional Outlook features.

Become Social Media Savvy with Outlook and the Social Connector

Integration with social networks, including LinkedIn and SharePoint, are included in the new version of Outlook, with Facebook coming soon. The Outlook Social Connector imports social network data into your contact list, displaying the online activity of business associates and friends. If e-mail recipients or meeting attendees have recently blogged on a subject or posted a link that’s important to users on Facebook or SharePoint, users will be able to access that information right away. In addition, advanced e-mail management and calendar features make planning easier than ever.

Create and Collaborate with Word 2010

Word offers an array of improved editing and picture tools, including picture correction, background removal, picture layout options, and artistic effects.
Word 2010 also supports concurrent editing by multiple users for .docx files located on SharePoint Server 2010 or a cobalt-enabled server. Collaboration features include automatic highlighting of new material, color-coded author bar with initials, version support, and near real-time synchronization speeds.

PowerPoint Broadcast Slideshow, Co-authoring, Brings New Portability.

An Interesting new feature to PowerPoint is its remote slideshow capability. This enables users to present a slideshow over the Web or a network connection to virtual and live attendees simultaneously. Broadcast Slideshow allows users to present sales material one-on-one to a potential client, or offer an educational seminar to employees located remotely.

Simultaneous editing enables users to create presentations in collaboration with a team, or from a home or office without closing the document. Features include automatically highlighted new content; color-coded author bar with initials; version support; and faster synchronization, enabling changes to be displayed in near real-time.

New features in PowerPoint also include video and audio editing, new photo effects, and help and translation tools.

Excel Power Users Get Macro, HPC and Business Intelligence Support

Many of the improvements to Excel will apply to business intelligence users. The new Excel features are as follows. Sparklines: cell-sized, information-dense graphics used to increase reader comprehension by showing trends in a series of values. Slicers: visual controls that allow users to quickly and easily filter data in an interactive way, floating above the grid and acting as report filters, hooking to PivotTables, PivotCharts, or CUBE functions. PowerPivot: a data analysis add-in that allows users to quickly model and analyze large amounts of data.

Excel also offers additional macro support. This includes recording support for chart elements and the ability to complete migration of Excel macros to VBA, while retaining the ability to create, edit, and execute Excel 4 macros.

In addition, Excel can now solve computationally intensive problems using multiple computers by offloading the evaluation of certain user-defined functions to a compatible High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster.

OneNote Provides Improved Access to Your Information

OneNote, Microsoft Office’s notebook application, allows users to create notebook files at work, home, or on the road. OneNote changes include the ability to create Outlook tasks, add links to create wiki-style notebooks, support for math equations, translation support, the ability to dock the application, and an improved search.

OneNote can sync to Windows Live, providing instant access from any location. Using the new Web app, users can update notebooks using a limited version of OneNote from a Web browser. A compact version of OneNote is also available on a Windows Mobile-based smartphone.

Additionally, OneNote supports simultaneous editing, versioning, and collaboration features.

Flexibility and Usability Get a Lift from Additional File Formats

Microsoft Office 2010 includes new and updated file format support, containing Office Open XML (OOXML), ISO/IEC 29500:2008; support for ECMA-376, ISO/IEC 29500, and OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.1.

Web Apps Extend Functionality to Casual Users

The online companions to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote enable users to perform lightweight editing of Office documents when away from the desktop. Web apps preserve the look and feel of Office documents, but provide limited functionality. An appropriate device and supported browser are required. Some functions may require Office Mobile 2010.

Get Office Standard or Office Professional with Your Virtual Server

With a Virtual Terminal Server, Infinitely Virtual provides a choice of Microsoft Office 2010 Standard or Professional Plus. Both services offer Word, Excel, Publisher, OneNote, PowerPoint and Excel, and Outlook. Professional Plus users also get SharePoint Workspace, Communicator, Access, and InfoPath, in addition to full access to information management and policy capabilities, business and social networking, unified instant messaging, presence and voice, integrated enterprise content management, and managed e-mail folders.

Infinitely Virtual Offers Everything You’re Looking for in Virtual Hosting

To learn more about Virtual Terminal Server and Microsoft Office 2010 and how they can help keep your business connected to customers and co-workers, contact Infinitely Virtual at (866) 257-8455 or go to We can show you how Virtual Terminal Server and its options can increase your company’s productivity while saving you money.