Internews Center for Innovation & Learning

Internews Center for Innovation & Learning
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Virtual Windows

Saving money is important to all sorts of organizations of all sizes. No department is immune to the pressure of declining budgets and tight purses but all are asked to do more with what little they have and this is especially true for any kind of project that requires technology.

Let's look at some scenarios:

Khadiga is managing a project that involves evaluating some new software, let's look at the options:

Using her work computer

One of her options is installing all the software to be evaluated on her work computer for testing. What if the installed software interferes with existing software? What if the installation gets messed up and the computer locks up? Do you have a dedicated IT guy who will be able to help you? What happens if you don't?

Using a spare computer

Another option is to get a spare computer and install the evaluation software there. The biggest problem is that many people don't have a spare computer just to test software and asking your manager to buy a computer just to test some software is not going to make you any friends.

Using a virtual machine

The best option might be to use a virtual machine. A virtual machine or "VM" is a program that creates a space where an operating system, like Windows, thinks it is running inside a computer. Quite simply this means that Khadiga can have a whole new computer running inside her computer. This means she can install a new copy of Windows, install and run programs to test them, and when she i done she can shut everything down and her existing system will not be harmed.

So what's the catch?

Using a virtual machine means we are saving on paying for a new computer, but what about paying for Microsoft Windows? So far using Windows meant paying for the very expensive full license. This license, which runs over 300 USD for "Windows 7 Ultimate" can be too much to ask for many organizations. This might change for the upcoming Windows 8. For the first time you will be able to test out Windows without having to pay the high costs of a spare computer or a full Windows license, which can be hugely expensive but purchasing a "Personal Use License for System Builder" which, according to Thom Holwerda of OSNews "… finally officially and legally brings OEM licenses to individual consumers. It can also be used for virtual machines." The last part is the interesting part in our scenario because combining Microsoft Windows 8 with a Personal Use License and a virtualization tool like VirtualBox to create a new virtual machine allows Khadiga to see how new software works from the comfort of her existing computer without having to worry about her organizational information getting deleted during a bad install.

Do you have more questions about how your organization can save money and resources? Please suggest a topic by contacting the center.