Virtualized Linux Gaining Traction In Educational, Industrial Environments

When most people think of multiplexes they think of popcorn and screens offering a range of choices. Today, the multiplexing concept – less the popcorn – is gaining traction in university computer labs as desktop virtualization lets students access either Windows or Linux from the same thin client endpoint. The OS environments and related applications are paired with each student’s courses with endpoints that deliver an improved computing experience with faster access, fewer viruses, and less downtime due to maintenance.

Dell offers a useful and valuable solution architecture that delivers not only virtualized Linux desktops but a management suite that consolidates monitoring and management into a single console. And for organizations looking to virtualize Linux desktops on either a dedicated or “multiplexed” basis, Dell Wyse vWorkspace connection broker software allows users to access virtual desktops or applications to work remotely or collaborate with colleagues around the world while maintaining a high level of security.

vWorkspace is currently one of the only enterprise desktop virtualization applications providing basic support for both x64 and x86 Linux distributions such as CentOS, Red Hat Linux, and Ubuntu. Using vWorkspace, administrators can perform provisioning, brokering and power management functions on Linux virtual desktops, based on XRDP connectivity (an open-source RDP stack for Linux.) On the hardware side our Dell Wyse 3000, 5000, and 7000 series thin client endpoints deliver rich graphics capabilities and security against malware while streamlining endpoint deployment and management.

Moving to vWorkspace-based infrastructure also allows IT departments to save money by pushing out a full Linux machine running FreeRDS and providing full access to Linux desktops. Our solution, which uses a caching system in Linux environments, enables a number of attractive benefits including RDSH/VDI virtual channels such as clipboard, sound, drive, media, redirection, and with FreeRDS v.2, “single sign-on” (SSO). Another benefit is our solution’s branded “Instant Provisioning” which can deliver as many as 500 VDI desktops in 12 minutes, while other vendors’ solutions may still require anywhere from 90-120 minutes.

But it’s not just colleges and universities that are interested in multiplexing endpoints to maximize their utility. This approach is of interest to organizations considering VDI that have individuals or work groups using Linux desktops for coding or design. Still other businesses are using applications that are Linux-specific. For example, a leading Fortune 50 energy firm is using a remote graphics protocol and Linux desktops for its development and planning purposes. Other industries that rely on complex, calculation-heavy applications also have an interest in virtualized Linux desktops.

This approach allows them to leverage Linux-based applications to process huge data sets and perform 3D modeling related to geological calculations. Many companies in the financial services sector and other data-focused industries are using Linux or some type of UNIX environment to run aspects of their ever larger databases. Finally, interest in virtualized Linux desktops is growing as a result of data security concerns, acceptance of open source paradigms, and ongoing efforts to reduce IT infrastructure costs.

Specific use cases in today’s increasingly flexible and mobile environments have also made virtualized Linux desktops attractive to enterprise IT departments. The use of Linux distributions in the government, military, aerospace, search engine, and geophysical sector has also provided CIO’s with a new a level of comfort with open source operating systems. Datacenter managers and compliance departments within traditional enterprises are exploring the possibilities. Dell is providing secure, cost-effective, and flexible thin clients and VDI solutions to businesses whose users want to alternate between virtualized Linux and Windows environments.

About the Author: Reed Martin