Sage Accounts on a Virtual Desktop
10 proven reasons why VDI is an effective way to run Sage in the cloud
Sage Accounts is one of the most popular software packages for UK businesses. If yours is a new or expanding business and you’re thinking about how you’re going to share your Sage database with colleagues, then this article will explain why VDI may be an ideal solution. If you’re already running Sage on local IT infrastructure but perhaps it’s ready for an upgrade, then also read this article before committing more capital on replacement hardware.
A quick word on Virtual Desktops or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). There’s a strict “technical” definition for VDI, just as there is a technical definition for “Cloud”, but both are expressions that often get used to cover a multitude of platforms. These may include: Virtual Desktops, Hosted Desktops, VDI, Remote Desktops and Terminal Services amongst others. Most of this article refers to one of the most common platforms used by small and medium businesses running Sage in the cloud which is Hosted Remote Desktops or Hosted Desktops for short.
1 – Stability and performance
With a VDI type solution both the Sage client used by all of the users, and the database they share, sit on the same box; a virtual server hosted by a service provider. Problems with poor internet bandwidth or intermittent internet connection, whilst annoying, will not cause data corruptions.
2 – Data Security – backups
The single most effective measure to keeping data secure is backing it up. A hosted desktop provider will backup your Sage data at least daily. However, for supportability you must use the built in Sage backup utility to take backups of your data, and then let the hosting provider backup the backups.
3 – Data Security – protection
While the media is quick to highlight data breach cases it is still likely that Sage data held on virtual desktops will be more secure than on a server or PC in your office. Commercial data centres will usually have multiple tiers of security from 24 hour guards, CCTV, enterprise grade firewalls, and most won’t even allow the people managing the systems on site without a pre-arranged appointment and photo ID. Look for a provider who is ISO 27001 certified, and not just the data centre they use.
4 – Cost effective
Running your own IT infrastructure is expensive. It requires a large capital outlay, not just for the equipment and licences, but also the specialist skills to set it up. There are then the ongoing costs to support it. On premise IT is also inflexible, you don’t get any cash back for downsizing, nor for trading in your old server for a new one when you expand. A hosted virtual desktop service will just require a monthly subscription based on what you need at the time, with the flexibility to increase and decrease user numbers as needed.
5 – What about Sage Drive
Sage Drive is a clever solution that Sage have developed to enable multiple users to synchronise their Sage data without the need for local IT servers. However, it isn’t for everyone. There is a minimum of 4mbps download and 2mbps upload. Also poor or intermittent internet connections run the risk of corrupting the data. You wouldn’t want to sync when on the train for example. Hosted desktops and VDI solutions don’t have this problem.
6 – Running Sage on a Mac, running Sage on an iPad, running Sage on Android
Yes, yes, yes. There is a Microsoft Remote Desktop Client available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android so you can run Sage on anything either on a Remote (Virtual) Desktop, or as a RemoteApp – where the application appears as if it’s running on your desktop but in reality is running on the hosted remote server.
7 – VDI? Terminal Servers? Hosted Desktops? It all sounds very complicated, is it?
No, all the complicated part is looked after by the hosting provider. They will generally build everything, install everything, help you move any existing data over to the platform and support you while you get up and running. No IT skills required.
8 – Working remotely
When you’re running Sage on a Virtual Desktop hosted in the cloud everyone is working remotely, even the guys in the office. This means you can work as effectively from home, hotel, customer site or Wi-Fi enabled coffee shop as you can from the office. If you have multiple branches everyone gets the same experience.
9 – Integrating with other applications
There are many applications that integrate directly with Sage, and also others such as Microsoft Office which can be called on by Sage to perform certain tasks, such as “Exporting to Excel”. With a VDI solution you can run these applications alongside Sage and save documents and data directly to a shared drive on the virtual desktop.
10 – What about support?
The hosted VDI provider will support the infrastructure Sage is running on. Usually they will include Anti-Virus, Windows Updates, backups and be on hand to fix things when they go wrong. A good provider will also help you with your Sage updates or patches. You may still want to enlist Sage to support the application or there are many Sage specialists who will provide a support contract cheaper than Sage direct.
11 – What versions of Sage will run on a Virtual Desktop?
(I know we said 10 reasons, but thought this one was important to squeeze in).
You can run any version on a virtual desktop from Sage 50 Account, Sage 200, Sage Client Manager, Sage Manufacturing, whatever you need. More importantly you don’t need to run the latest version. If you are using an old version but want the advantages of cloud then you can install that on the virtual desktop, you’re not forced to upgrade.
Get help with running Sage on virtual desktops
Your Office Anywhere have been running Sage on virtual desktops for over 10 years, long before the term “Cloud” was even heard of. For more information or to try a demo account please call 01282 500318 or visit our contact page. Alternatively, if you want to find out more visit our Sage Accounts Hosting page.
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