As Apple’s popularity continues to grow, there will also be an increased chance that any given company might have to manage multiple operating systems within their network. And when diversity increases, so does complexity and maintenance.
- A typical organization today might have the following:
- Windows laptops for travelling employees
- Mac systems for marketing and graphic design
- Robust, secure IBM iSeries servers to process transactions and manage inventory
- NAS boxes, File Servers or Web Servers running Linux
From an operational standpoint, this is great since each function is hosted on a machine that’s well-designed for its intended purpose. But from an IT perspective, it can cause a lot of problems.
Let’s take data protection as an example.
In a Windows-only environment, you would only have to back up one set of computers every day using a single process. But now, you need to create a separate backup process for each system, so your daily backups could end up taking 4 times longer.
And there’s another danger. When it comes time to recover your company-wide systems in an emergency, the recovery process will also be 4 times more complicated, with 4 times the chances that a mistake could occur.
This gets even more complex as other databases and enterprise systems get added to the mix. (SharePoint, Lotus Notes, Oracle, etc...)
If your company is dealing with many diversified operating systems within the same network, you can simplify your IT management through 2 simple steps.
Step 1: Consolidate Expertise
The general tendency within organizations is to allow employees to create “knowledge silos”. One person might be a MAC expert, the other an IBM expert, and a third would be a Windows expert.
Instead, you should train your employees to be specialists across all systems... within certain fields. Using the data protection example, you would have one employee who is well trained in backup and recovery for each of the 4 operating systems listed above.
This way, when it comes time to recover the data, you don’t have to round up and coordinate a team of 4 people. Just a single person can do the job.
Step 2: Automate
Once you’ve consolidated all of the backup knowledge to a single employee, they’ll be better equipped to back up all 4 systems more effectively by eliminating wasteful processes and duplicate work. (This is much more difficult when expertise is “siloed”)
Automation also eliminates much of the human error that can occur when minor details get overlooked. This becomes more important as your systems continue to diversify.
By dealing with a single expert - and automating your backup process – your company can continue to ensure optimal data safety as its IT infrastructure grows in complexity. And this 2-step approach can also be applied to just about any functional area of IT.
About the Author: Patrick Jobin’s company has been offering online backup software for IBM iSeries, Linux, Mac and more.
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