Virtual computing files are easy to back up, as on this flash drive.

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Virtual Computing Advantages

The benefits of virtual computing vary depending on the user. The main benefits cited by providers and users are explained in this section.

You can achieve faster system speeds due to freeing up the system, memory and storage. Virtual computing provides increased efficiency by allocating a computer's processes to a virtual environment, making the computer available for other processes and applications.

Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center uses virtual computing to give medical and administrative staff online access to the software of their choice from whichever computer they're near, including patients' bedsides. The medical center provides on-demand access to 40 medical and business applications from more than 1,000 terminals, using a solution from Citrix Systems.

The medical center has saved $1.3 million on maintenance, upgrades and help desk calls, according to Benjamin Bordonaro, director of information technology. At the same time, having immediate access to patients' records in their rooms allows nurses to record medications as they're given and doctors to chart orders on the spot during rounds. [source: Citrix]

It's also flexible. You have the ability to use software when you need it without having to install, configure and store it on the computer. In addition, technical support is available electronically or by telephone at any time.

Automated troubleshooting, diagnosing and repairing of hardware and software are available as needed. Virtual computing programs automatically review your computer's speed and efficiency and reallocate processes or repair programs as needed.

You have the flexibility to change platforms and servers at will. Virtual computing users can run more than one operating system on one PC at the same time. For instance, through virtual computing, you can run Windows on a Mac computer. Effectively, your computer has the capability of becoming many computers.

There's a reduction in cooling and power costs, as well. Virtual computing eliminates the need to operate multiple computers and servers, which saves energy.

Virtual files are easy to back up. Entire virtual machines can be stored on one or two small files, making copying an easy and fast process.