One of the fastest-growing areas of computing, virtualization provides a big payback that until recently was restricted only to big companies. Over the past year, though, small companies have rapidly embraced virtualization as technology advances made it easier to implement.
Virtualization is simple in concept. Traditionally, companies used one physical server to house one operating system and one business software application. This one-to-one matching meant that 90 percent of a server could go unused — a costly waste. Virtualization decouples the software from the hardware, allowing the workloads to be spread more efficiently among fewer physical servers. Storage and computing devices can be virtualized as well.
Here are five ways virtualization gives small and medium businesses (SMBs) an advantage:
Jonathan Hilland, CEO and president of Mindwave Research, was tired of paying $4,000 a month to a data center to house his company’s underutilized servers. The basic business of the 35-employee Mindwave is synthesizing — it consolidates insights from focus groups, interviews and online surveys. And so Hilland wanted to consolidate the company’s IT infrastructure as well.
Implementing a virtualization plan using Dell PowerEdge R710 servers with Intel® Xeon® processors Series 5500, Mindwave consolidated its 25 physical servers down to seven. With less equipment, the company was able to move its servers from the data center into their own 2,000-square-foot office. In addition to the savings in hardware and floor space, the company was able to slash its power and cooling costs by 50 percent partly because the servers are designed to conserve power, with features like fans that speed up and slow down according to the server’s internal temperature. The Intel processor automatically puts servers into the lowest available power state while maintaining performance.
Many small businesses think they’re too small for virtualization, but it can make economic sense for companies with as few as three or four servers. Indeed, a study by Principled Technologies, an IT consulting firm, found that virtualizing with one PowerEdge R710 with Intel® Xeon® processors can replace up to seven PowerEdge 2850 servers, resulting in a payback in less than 17 months.
Time and money are two of the scarcest resources at any small business. Virtualization can save both, preserving precious IT resources and freeing staff from putting out security fires so they can focus on more strategic activities like growing the business.
Hennecke, a 380-employee manufacturer of polyurethane processing equipment, runs its virtualization infrastructure from a single console, which automatically alerts IT whenever it needs to allocate additional resources to a server. “As a result, we save around 50 percent on routine maintenance, which means that we don’t have to do as much overtime and have more resources available for strategic tasks such as developing new applications and supporting end users,” says Peter Ruttka, the company’s network and server systems administrator.
With virtualization, IT staff can respond to business growth by provisioning virtual servers in minutes. For example, when Hennecke needed two new web servers for its sales and finance function, the IT team had the virtual machines ready with just a few clicks of a mouse.
New virtualization advances also help SMBs prepare for growth. For example, Intel® Virtualization Technology FlexMigration gives you the flexibility to virtualize different generations of Intel® Xeon® processor-based servers within the same virtualization pool, giving you the ability to migrate workloads to fewer servers at night to save energy. And if you’re building a data center from the ground up, next-generation virtualization with Intel® Trusted Execution Technology also provides hardware-based resistance to malicious software attacks before the virtual machine boots.
A key advantage SMBs have is their fleet-footedness in responding to changing business conditions. Virtualization enhances this natural agility by creating a flexible IT infrastructure that allows companies to leap on new opportunities immediately and scale back if necessary.
Such flexibility is crucial for Thinkwell Group, a company that designs “immersive entertainment experiences,” like the amusement areas of Snow Dubai, a 24-story indoor ski resort. To create fantastic projects like this, the company’s 70-employee workforce can swell threefold for a short period. Twenty new employees might join a project team for a few weeks to put the finishing touches on, say, the Ice Age Adventure dark ride for MGM’s European theme park, featuring more than 50 animatronic and static characters based on the movie.
Thinkwell relies on virtualization to provide the quick bursts of computing power that its up-and-down workforce needs to meet rigid deadlines. “We can scale to our temporary employment spikes and avoid significant capital expenditures,” says Thinkwell CEO Joe Zenas. “We don’t have to expand our server room every time we have a big project come in. We can get the server power we need by expanding with virtual machines.”
This allows Thinkwell to maintain a lean IT department — just three people — while having global capabilities. With virtualization, small companies have ready access to huge technology resources without paying for a lot of hardware that may not always be needed.
Virtualization sharply reduces the cost and complexity of disaster recovery (DR), providing peace of mind that key applications and crucial data can be recovered quickly if the worst happens.
Consider HotSchedules, a company that provides tools that helps restaurant managers and employees check schedules, submit requests and exchange shifts using a Web interface, mobile device or toll-free phone service.
“Restaurant managers and their staffs have come to rely on our solutions on a daily basis,” says Ray Pawlikowski, HotSchedules’ president and CEO. “We need to be sure that systems are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
HotSchedules used Dell PowerEdge servers with Intel® Xeon® processors to consolidate its IT infrastructure from 50 physical servers to just three. The IT group replicates “snapshot” data (copies of data from a particular point in time) from its virtualized applications and databases and sends it to a secondary site. This helps to ensure customers have continued access to schedule information even in the event of a disaster.
With backup happening more frequently and in smaller portions, recovery time can be reduced from hours and days to minutes. Another benefit: HotSchedules can now commit to the stringent service level agreements necessary for attracting and retaining large-scale businesses.
High availability is another key benefit of a virtualized environment that leads to greater customer satisfaction. “Three times in the past month I have had to do maintenance on physical machines. I was able to do it with zero software downtime just by moving a virtual machine over to a host that was running live, and users were never aware of it,” says Jason Snook, vice president of IT for Mindwave. “In the past that was never a possibility.”
SMBs whose staff includes road warriors, contract employees and field personnel understand the costs and challenges of a highly mobile workforce. Software updates are a chore to manage across a diverse range of mobile devices. Lost laptops could put critical company data at risk.
Virtualization offers numerous benefits over other forms of remote computing. With software called client hypervisors, which is placed on a tablet or other mobile device, workers can access their desktops and use the same programs on the road as in the office. Meanwhile, IT can control the data and apply patches and other maintenance faster from a centrally managed console.
A major productivity plus: Hypervisor software running on a mobile device captures and stores work locally, which means an employee who loses connectivity can still access his data up to the point that connection was lost. This can be a boon for those who travel to areas with iffy wireless access.
And with more employees carrying crucial data on their mobile devices, virtualization also provides heightened security. Because hypervisor software “encases” data in a protective barrier, people without proper authorization would have difficulty gaining access to the customer files and other important information if a device is lost or stolen.
In turbulent economic times, SMBs need to be ready for anything — from embracing emerging technology that gives you an edge to jumping on new business opportunities. Virtualization allows your IT department to be as flexible and responsive as your business needs to be.
Recently, I was surprised, pleased, and sobered that a few online calculators estimated I could live to age 100. I’m currently age 70, so that would mean I’d be retired for 30 years!
While it was nice to think I still had 30 years to live, it was also a wake-up call that I should plan to live that long. Please bear in mind, I’m not really counting on living to age 100. However, since there’s a good chance it could happen, it’s the responsible thing to both plan and act as if I could live that long.
What does that really mean? The Stanford Center on Longevity expresses well the overall goal for living a long time—to be physically fit, mentally sharp, functionally independent, and financially secure throughout your life. Let me add that you’ll also want compelling reasons to live that long – “ya gotta wanna” to quote a few authors and singers. It’ll take time and effort to live long and live well, so you‘ll need to be motivated and inspired to stick with it.
For this post, let’s take a 30,000-foot view of the Live-to-100 Retirement Plan, addressing the goals summarized above.
As you continue aging, you’ll want to be sufficiently healthy to go about your daily activities and be able to do what gives you joy and fulfillment, all the way to age 100. Of course, it’s inevitable your abilities will change as you age, as will your daily activities. But for each age, you’ll want to be as healthy and vigorous as possible.
To achieve these goals, lots of research suggests adopting the following steps which you’ve probably heard before:
For many people, the challenge is to actually adopt and Excellerate on many of the above steps.
You’ll also want to build your team of health care professionals, since your medical issues will inevitably be more complex as you age. One important aspect of your plan is to develop a series of health metrics that will alert you if you’re possibly developing vulnerabilities to a serious medical condition, so that you can take proactive and protective actions. Examples include regular testing of your cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Americans fear Alzheimer’s disease more than cancer, stroke, and heart disease combined, according to a survey conducted by the Milken Institute. While there are no known cures or vaccines for Alzheimer’s, most forms of dementia, and mild cognitive impairment, there are lifestyle choices you can make that have the potential to delay, mitigate, or even prevent some forms of dementia and cognitive impairment.
Top of the list of these lifestyle choices is keeping physically fit with the steps outlined above, most importantly focusing on regular exercise. Building and enjoying a rich social life is also an important part of your Live-to-100 Retirement Plan.
You’ll want to address both the narrow view and broad view of longevity risk. The narrow view involves developing a portfolio of retirement income that lasts the rest of your life, no matter how long you live, one that will cover your living expenses throughout your long life. To do this, you’ll want to manage both sides of the common-sense formula for retirement security:
I > E, or income greater than living expenses
The broad view of longevity risk involves considering everything that can go wrong during a long retirement. It includes managing your health care expenses, preparing for a period of frailty near the end of your life, and planning for unexpected house and car repairs that are inevitable over the course of a few decades.
As a practical matter, functional independence is the ability to live without needing much help from others to carry out your daily activities. As such, the foundation for functional independence is physical fitness, mental acuity, and financial security, which we’ve already covered.
However, here are a few more ideas that can help. You’ll want to consciously build a “convoy of support” of relatives, friends, and paid helpers and professionals who can help you navigate the inevitable bumps along the road to age 100. Another important aspect is to carefully select the home and community that can support you in your later years, which may not be the same home and community that served you best during your working years.
Compelling reasons to live to 100
As you can see, it’s going to take a lot of work to carry out your Live-to-100 Retirement Plan. To help you stay on task, you’ll want to reflect on the reasons why you might want to make this effort. For me, it’s a combination of positive and negative motivations.
On the positive side, my wife and I have potentially many years to enjoy our bucket list, so we’re happily working on it! We also want to help our grandchildren grow up and launch their lives, and make a positive impact on our extended family, community, and the world at large.
On the negative side, we want to minimize the odds of incurring debilitating and painful illnesses, and we don’t want to be poor in our old age. We don’t want to be a burden on our families or society at large.
Admittedly the strategies outlined here can seem daunting and intimidating. And of course, there are a lot of details to consider. Fortunately, we don’t need to do everything at once—we can take some time to work on our longevity “to-do” list, step by step.
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A 457 plan is a tax-advantaged retirement savings plan offered to employees of many state and local governments and some nonprofit organizations. Like the better-known 401(k) plan in the private sector, the 457 plan allows employees to deposit a portion of their pre-tax earnings in an account, reducing their income taxes for the year while postponing the taxes due until the money is withdrawn after they retire.
A Roth version of the 457 plan, which allows after-tax contributions, may be allowed at the employer's discretion.
There are two main types of 457 plans:
As noted, the 457 plan comes in two flavors, the 457(b) and the 457(f).
The 457(b) plan is most often offered to civil servants, police personnel, and other employees of government agencies, public services, and nonprofit organizations such as hospitals, churches, and charitable organizations.
It is similar to a 401(k). Participants set aside a percentage of their salary into a retirement account. The employees choose how their money is invested from a list of options, mostly mutual funds and annuities.
The account grows in value without being taxed over the years. When the employee retires, taxes will be due on the amount withdrawn.
Employees are allowed to contribute up to 100% of their salary, provided it does not exceed the dollar limit set for the year.
If the 457 plan does not meet statutory requirements, the assets may be subject to different rules.
As of 2022, employees can contribute up to $20,500 per year to 457 plans. This limit increases to $22,500 for 2023.
In some cases, workers are allowed to contribute even more. For example, if an employer permits catch-up contributions, workers over the age of 50 may pay in an additional $6,500 a year, making their maximum contribution limit $27,000 ($20,500 + $6,500) in 2022. The catch-up contribution increases to $7,500 for tax year 2023, making the maximum contribution limit $30,000 ($22,500 + $7,500).
Also, 457(b) plans feature a "double limit catch-up" provision. This is designed to allow participants who are nearing retirement to compensate for years in which they did not contribute to the plan but were eligible to do so.
In this case, employees who are within three years of retirement age may contribute up to $41,000 in 2022 and up to $45,000 in 2023.
The 457(b) plan has all of the advantages of a 401(k), although there are some differences.
If a traditional rather than a Roth plan is chosen, the contributions are deducted from an employee's paycheck on a pre-tax basis. That amount is subtracted from the employee's gross income, effectively lowering the person's taxes paid for that year. For example, if Alex earns $4,000 per month and contributes $700 to a 457(b) plan, Alex's taxable income for the month is $3,300.
Employees invest their contributions in their choice or choices from a selection of annuities and mutual funds.
All interest and earnings generated from year to year remain untaxed until the funds are withdrawn.
Withdrawals Without Penalty
There is one big difference between the 457(b) and other tax-advantaged retirement plans: no penalty for early withdrawals in some circumstances.
If an employee retires early or resigns from the job for any reason, the funds can be withdrawn without incurring a 10% penalty from the IRS. Early withdrawals from most retirement plans are subject to the penalty except for certain hardship reasons. (The penalty was waived for two years during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
A 457(b) account holder can take a penalty-free withdrawal without changing jobs, like a 401(k) account holder. The list of acceptable reasons, however, is limited to "unforeseeable emergencies."
Exceptions to the Rules
Early withdrawals from a 457(b) are subject to the 10% penalty if the account holder rolls the funds over from a 457 to any other tax-advantaged retirement account, such as a 401(k). This would happen if, for example, a government employee quit to take a job in the private sector.
In addition, anyone who takes money out of a retirement account early must keep in mind that any income taxes due on that money will be owed in the year that the withdrawal is taken.
One potential advantage of most tax-advantaged retirement savings plans is the employer match. An employer may choose to match some portion of an employee's contribution to the plan. An employer who matches the first 3% of the employee's contribution, for example, is presenting the employee with a 3% raise.
Employer Match Is Rare
Employers can match their employees' contributions to a 457(b) but, in practice, most don't.
If they do, the employer contribution counts toward the maximum contribution limit. This is not the case for 401(k) plans.
For instance, in 2022, if an employer contributes $10,000 to a 457(b) plan, the employee can add only $10,500 for the year until the $20,500 contribution limit is reached (except for those eligible to use the catch-up option).
Looser rules for early withdrawals without a penalty.
Early distributions allowed for participants who leave a job.
As with other retirement plans, no taxes are due until money is withdrawn.
Employer contributions count toward contribution limit the year they vest.
Employer contributions subject to vesting schedule. If the employee quits, non-vested funds are forfeited.
Limited investment choices compared to private sector plans.
The 403(b) plan, like the 457(b), is mostly available to public service employees. They are a particularly common benefit offered to public school teachers.
The 403(b) has its origins in the 1950s when it exclusively offered an annuity to participants. Participants still have the option of creating an annuity but they also can choose to invest in mutual funds.
In fact, the 403(b) has changed over the years until it closely resembles the private sector's 401(k) plan, although the investment choices offered to participants are relatively limited.
The annual contribution limits are identical to those of the 457(b) and 401(k) plans.
If you're a public employee, your employer may well offer a 457(b) or a 403(b).
Dan Stewart, CFA®
Revere Asset Management, Dallas, TX
457 plans are taxed as income similar to a 401(k) or 403(b) when distributions are taken. The only difference is there are no withdrawal penalties and that they are the only plans without early withdrawal penalties. But you also have the option of rolling the assets in an IRA rollover. This way, you can better control distributions and only take them when needed.
So if you take the entire amount as a lump sum, the entire amount is added to your income and may push you into a higher tax bracket.
With the rollover route, you could take out a little this year, and so on as needed, thus controlling your taxes better. And while it remains inside the IRA, it continues to grow tax-deferred and is protected from creditors.
The 457(b) plan is a version of the 401(k) plan that is designed for public and nonprofit workers. It helps employees save for retirement while deferring the tax bill until they retire and start withdrawing the money. (The Roth version, which is available only at the employer's discretion, takes the taxes upfront, so no taxes are usually due on withdrawals.)
The 457(f) plan is also known as a SERP for Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan. It is a retirement savings plan for only the highest-paid executives in the tax-exempt sector. They are mostly employed in hospitals, universities, and credit unions.
A 457(f) is a supplement to a 457(b). Employers make additional contributions to the employee's account, beyond the usual limits. These are negotiated by contract and amount to a deferred salary adjustment.
If the executive resigns before an established vesting period, the 457(f) contribution disappears. The plan is intended as an executive retention strategy, commonly known as "golden handcuffs."
For all intents and purposes, a 457(b) is just as good as a 401(k) plan. If you're employer is a public agency or a nonprofit, it's probably your best option for retirement savings.
Assuming you opt for a traditional plan rather than a Roth plan, you'll be lowering your taxable income from year to year while plunking that money into a long-term investment account. The money won't be taxed until you retire and start taking withdrawals.
(If it's a Roth, you'll pay the taxes up front and usually will owe no taxes on the money you deposited or the profits it earns over the years.)
On the downside, your contributions will probably not be matched by your employer. But that's just reality in the nonprofit sector, not a rule of the plan.
One advantage of a 457(b) is that you can take early withdrawals without paying a tax penalty for any "unforeseeable emergency." This isn't a good idea, since you're plundering your retirement savings, but unforeseeable emergencies do happen. And, you'll owe income tax for that year on the amount you withdraw.
The required minimum distribution (RMD) you must take is determined by an IRS worksheet. An RMD is a minimum amount that must be withdrawn from certain retirement plans, like a 457(b), each year once you reach a certain age. If you were born between 1951 and 1959, the age is 73. If you were born in 1960 or after, the age is 75. This is an increase from the previous age of 72.
Span Plan Nontraditional Student Services offers a variety of services for all kinds of nontraditional students. Our current office hours are Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. To learn more, feel free to explore our website or contact us directly by calling, emailing, or visiting our office.
The Forward and Forever strategic plan is the work of a steering committee and five working groups.
Dennis Assanis, President (Chair)
Robin Morgan, Provost
John Long, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Charlie Riordan, Vice President, Research, Scholarship and Innovation
Mary Remmler, Vice President, Strategic Planning and Analysis
Beth Brand, Vice President and University Secretary
Chris Williams, Professor, Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, Chair of University of Delaware Sustainability Council
Debra Hess Norris, Trustee, Unidel Henry Francis du Pont Chair of Art Conservation
Rodney Morrison, Vice President, Enrollment Management
Levi Thompson, Dean, College of Engineering
Mia Carbone, President, Student Government Association, 2020-21
Samantha Bingaman, President, Graduate Student Government, 2020-21
Glenn Carter, Vice President, Communications and Marketing
John Pelesko, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
José-Luis Riera, Vice President, Student Life
Fatimah Conley, Vice President of Equity and Chief Diversity Officer
Michael Vaughan, Vice Provost for Equity
Lou Rossi, Dean, Graduate College
Bahira Trask, Chair, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences
Carlos Asarta, Professor, Economics, and James B. O’Neill Director of Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship
Kim Isett, Associate Dean of Research, Biden School of Public Policy and Administration
Sharon Pitt, Vice President, Information Technologies
Norman Wagner, Unidel Robert L. Pigford Chair in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
To create a project management plan, first put together a high overview of the basics of your project, including the project’s scope, schedule and budget. Next, build on those basics to write an executive summary. Then, add a project timeline, risk assessment, stakeholder chart, communication plan and resource management plan to your executive summary. Lastly, gather and incorporate stakeholders’ insights to perfect and create buy-in for your plan.
Your project’s baselines should first focus on the project’s scope, then the project’s schedule and, finally, its budget. The result should be a high overview that will inform the rest of your planning process. To complete this step, answer the following questions:
An executive summary should include a definition of your project, your project’s value proposition, including the problem your project addresses and its solution, milestones and their deliverables, scope limits―and the consequences for changing these limits―goals and financial breakdown. Use the answers to the questions posed in step one to put together your executive summary.
As the face of your project before stakeholders, your executive summary should be visually appealing and succinct. Columns and visuals should break it up to make it easy to read quickly. One great tool for creating an attractive and succinct summary is a Canva executive summary template. You can customize a template to match your brand and add your content, then either obtain your executive summary or share it in link form.
To begin, sign up for Canva for free, then use the search box titled “What will you design?” for “executive summary” and press “enter.” Click the appropriate template for your purposes and brand, then use the tools on the left-hand side of the enlarged template to customize its colors, text and images. Add pages by clicking the plus sign at the top right-hand corner of the template and proceed to add text and customizations to complete your summary.
The best way to plot your project’s timeline is with a Gantt chart. A Gantt chart is a visual representation of what activities you plan to begin and complete and when. These activities are usually small chunks or milestones of your completed project. They also formulate the scope of your project, helping to reduce scope creep later on. Gantt charts are often the easiest to use to plot your timeline.
It is important to note expected dependencies on your Gantt chart. A dependency happens when one activity on a timeline must be completed before team members can go on to the next one. For example, a prototype needs to be completed before a focus group analysis of the prototype can take place. Thus, these two activities are dependent. Also note independent activities that can be completed even as other activities are underway, thereby saving time.
Pro tip: An easy way to note dependencies and independent activities is via color-coding. Arrows drawn on your Gantt chart can also help to pinpoint dependencies.
While Canva does offer Gantt charts to plot your project’s timeline, there are also platforms that specialize in producing Gantt chart software. Not only can this software help you put together your Gantt chart, but it can then help you stay on track with its timeline and avoid scope creep once your project begins via task descriptions and automations. If paying for such a service isn’t in your project’s budget, you can also create a Gantt chart in Excel or Google Sheets.
With your project activities recorded on your timeline, define who will be responsible for each activity. Your plan serves as a guiding star to all stakeholders involved in your project, so it’s best to record responsible parties in an intuitive chart. Create a project team chart to show who will be involved in completing the project and for which activities each is responsible. For collaboration ease, also note who each person is accountable to and their contact information.
Canva offers organizational or team chart templates you can use to customize for the needs of your project. Search “organizational chart” using the search bar in your Canva account. Click the chart that best suits your project and brand needs. Then, use the design menu to upload pictures of your team members, customize colors and replace template text to offer the data your stakeholders need for easy collaboration during the life of your project.
Your risk assessment should begin with a list of obstacles that could impact your team’s ability to complete the project on time negatively at all and with the desired quality. It should then create a plan for each risk by addressing what might trigger the risk, steps that lend to risk prevention and how to mitigate a risk should it happen. Finally, it should assign stakeholders to manage risk triggers, prevention and mitigation. Some teams use a SWOT analysis to help identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in this stage.
To dive into each risk, answer the following questions:
As you assigned responsible parties for each project activity, you likely selected people who had expertise in the areas in which their assigned activities fall. For example, if you assigned the graphic design of a marketing project to a team member, that person is likely a graphic designer. Their expertise is invaluable in assessing graphic design risks and their prevention and mitigation steps. Lean on your team for this expertise, and then implement their suggestions.
Two key subplans you should include in your project management plan are a resource and communications management plan. Your resource sub plan should list what resources are needed to complete your project and their availability. Your communications plan should include how your team will communicate one-on-one and team-wide.
A resource subplan can be completed in project management software. You can create columns for estimated expenses and other needed resources broken down by milestones, such as raw products and talent. Other customizable resource reports are available within the software and automatically kept up to date. Wrike, for example, offers customizable reports where you can track resource availability and export reports to include in your plan.
While it may seem inconsequential compared to your risk assessment and resource plan, poor communication is the primary reason most projects experience scope gaps and project failure, according to a PMI study. Poor communication can, therefore, derail all your other planning efforts.
As such, your communications management plan should be detailed and address what, when and how information will be shared during your project. Details should focus on what needs to be communicated and at what intervals during the project execution, stakeholders’ communication preferences, a communication schedule for virtual meetings or phone calls that occur at planned intervals, who will review tasks, to whom task completions should be reported and what platforms or tools should be used for communication purposes.
Pro tip: For best results, look at the communication tools available in your project management software. Alternatively, consider what communication-tool integrations it offers. For example, most project management software offer integrations with Slack. Using available tools within your software will allow ease of collaboration and the communication visibility your team needs to stay on the same page and on track.
The team you have chosen to own the activities on your project timeline are uniquely capable of doing so. As such, they are likely to have recommendations you might not think about to make your project more successful. Moreover, if their insights are incorporated into the plan, they are more likely to enthusiastically follow it. So, get your team together and go over the details of your plan. Learn from them and incorporate their insights.
In addition, present your plan to the end-user or client for whom you are executing the project. Make sure they agree to the project scope and its deliverables. Make their preferred changes now so you don’t have to make them later. Discuss what will happen if they change their minds later―extra fees, for example―so that scope creep does not impact your project’s successful execution, on-time completion or quality final deliverable negatively.
Application virtualization refers to several techniques that make running applications protected, flexible and easy to manage.
Modern operating systems keep programs isolated from each other. If one program crashes, the remaining programs generally keep running. However, bugs in the operating system or apps can cause the entire system to come to a screeching halt or, at the least, impede ongoing operations, which is why virtualization became desirable. Following are several application virtualization methods. See virtualization, network virtualization and storage virtualization.
The oldest network architecture, all applications and data are stored in a centralized mainframe or server cluster. The user's PC functions like an input/output terminal to the central machine. See thin client.
Rather than installing all applications in every user's machine, applications are delivered to each user as needed. This enables apps to be updated centrally and also provides a way to measure each person's genuine usage. See application streaming.
An interpreted programming language enables the same program to run on different hardware, with Java being the major example (see Java Virtual Machine). The applications are said to be "virtualized" because they run on any platform that has a runtime engine for that language.
This approach treats servers in the datacenter as a pool of operating system resources and assigns those resources to applications based on demand in real time. The pioneer in this area is Data Synapse Inc. (see FabricServer). The applications are said to be "virtualized" because they can run in any server.
When it comes to retirement planning,is key. By spreading your investments across different asset classes, you can minimize risk and maximize returns. But while most people focus on stocks, bonds and mutual funds, there's another investment worth considering for your retirement strategy: gold.
, in particular, are specifically designed for retirement investing, with attractive tax benefits not offered by other gold investments. By , you can enjoy these benefits and gain exposure to as an investment.
Learn how you can incorporate a gold IRA into your retirement plan with a free information kit.
Here's why a gold IRA can be a valuable part of yourplan.
There are many. Arguably one of the biggest advantages of opting for a gold IRA is the tax benefits it provides.
Depending on theyou choose, you can enjoy tax benefits either now or in the future. A traditional gold IRA allows you to contribute pre-tax dollars, and your money is taxed when you withdraw it. A Roth gold IRA taxes your contributions when you make them, and your withdrawals are tax-free.
By considering your current and future financial needs, you can select the IRA type that will allow you to keep the most money in your pocket.
High-growth assets likecan be extremely unpredictable. When the markets dip, investors with a lot of money in these assets can lose significant amounts of money.
Gold, on the other hand, is not correlated to the stock market. In fact, when stocks are down, gold usually performs well, which can helpyou may experience in other investments. By keeping about of your portfolio in gold, you can safeguard your retirement savings from risk while allocating room to higher-risk, higher-reward assets.
Inflation can rapidly erode the value of your retirement savings. Gold is a provenbecause, unlike paper currency, it can't be devalued by overproduction. It's an asset, currency and material and is used in everything from jewelry to electronics, so it's always in demand. And when investors seek to preserve their purchasing power from inflation, the increased demand drives prices up, making gold investments more valuable.
If you're concerned about the long-term impact of inflation on your retirement savings, a gold IRA can offer some protection and peace of mind.
Request your free investors kit today to find out if a gold IRA is right for you.
Gold has historically performed well in times ofand geopolitical uncertainty, delivering steady, reliable returns as other investments falter. In fact, central banks hold gold specifically because they trust its stability and .
In a world where there's always worrisome news of some type, gold can help your portfolio weather the storms that will inevitably arise between now and your retirement date.
Adding gold to yourplan is a wise move for many reasons. It delivers unique tax benefits, protects your money from market volatility and inflation and provides a safe haven from economic ups and downs. These things are crucial when it comes to an investment as important as your retirement.
Of course, as with any investment, you should do your own research and speak with a financial advisor to determine the best way to incorporate a gold IRA into your portfolio. Done right, you can reap the full rewards of this valuable retirement account.