All Hail Desktop Virtualization. Really?

clip_image002True, desktop virtualization can deliver the holy grail of enterprise IT access: any-place/any-time/any-device – without putting your data at risk. But that doesn’t mean it’s right for every application. Just try to run a flight simulator or 3D animation on a virtual desktop to see why.1

The point is, you have to create a targeted strategy before you can decide if desktop virtualization is right you. And your analysis should start with your end users, not your products, vendors or devices.

How Many Desktop Virtualization Users Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?
None. The IT guy changes the light bulb in the data center.

In the desktop virtualization model, the users’ desktops, also called digital identities, are managed, maintained and protected in a secure data center. But the users – your workforce — can go anywhere and still get access to their personal set of productivity resources.

This happy meeting of workforce flexibility and data security can blossom into massive employee engagement and open a world of new business opportunities, but you have to focus on what your users need, first, to get those benefits:

  • Know your users.  
    Balance user requirements with the number of desktop images you choose to support. Don’t shoe-horn your knowledge workers, call-center teams, sales reps, etc. into a one-size approach that doesn’t fit anyone.
  • Know your IT.
    Don’t force your workforce to drink from a fire hose with a paper straw. Configure your network, storage and server infrastructure to meet the demands of desktop virtualization; otherwise user productivity could slow to a trickle during peak usage periods.
  • Invest wisely.
    Think big picture. Cutting corners today could come back to haunt you later. If you elect to virtualize the “thick” PCs you currently own – instead of investing in thin-client end points – that decision could limit your device independence, data security and energy savings throughout the life time of the solution.

How Many Desktop Virtualization Users Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?
None. They can go elsewhere to find a light bulb that works because their desktops follow them everywhere. And with client hosted virtualization (CHV) they don’t even need a persistent network connection.

Sure, desktop virtualization won’t vacuum your rugs or solve all of your client productivity problems, but you can use it to handle complex IT challenges, such as enterprise IT consumerization and mobile data security.  Stay tuned for more next week with, “Not a Cent on Hardware or a Minute on Maintenance” or “How I Got My Groove Back with vDaaS.”

1 Desktop virtualization, unlike physical PCs, depends on the network to deliver the entire desktop experience in one package (the user’s profile, operating system, applications, and data). Problem is, most networks aren’t powerful enough to deliver multi-dimensional graphics to virtual desktops and distance adds complexity.

About the Author: Ann Newman