Beach reads: Top 10 virtual desktop management tips and news

While you're enjoying the wind in your hair and the sand between your toes, check out the top VDI tips and news from the year so far.

Instead of settling into that beach chair with a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey, why not pull up virtual desktop management tips on your smartphone or tablet?

In the news this year so far, the consumerization of IT has brought special attention to the crossover between desktop virtualization and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives. Numerous acquisitions also made waves in the VDI market this summer. 

On the technical side, hot topics include cloud-hosted desktops and Citrix's VDI-in-a-Box for small environments. Plus, Microsoft VDI licensing makes it onto our list of challenges that sting worse than a jellyfish.

As summer continues, sit back and relax with the top 10 VDI tips and news stories. If vacation isn't in the cards, you'll just have to settle for reading our list at home or in the office on that desktop that isn't dead -- yet.

VDI market news: Plenty of fish in the sea


Citrix acquires XenClient competitor Virtual Computer
Major VDI vendors VMware, Citrix and Dell circled like sharks around smaller companies this year. Citrix bought Virtual Computer to add its NxTop client hypervisor to XenDesktop. The acquisition means the upcoming XenClient version will integrate with NxTop. Meanwhile, Virtual Computer customers and partners wondered how the deal will affect them.

Microsoft clarifies cloud-hosted desktop licensing, stings OnLive
OnLive burned Microsoft this spring when it defied the company's Desktop as a Service licensing rules. Once Microsoft clarified its hosted desktop policies, however, OnLive eventually complied. DaaS providers still want the vendor to offer a Service Provider License Agreement for Desktop as a Service.

VMware shops using View 5 for BYOD realize VDI challenges
Desktop virtualization can help IT deliver applications to mobile devices more securely, but using VMware View to do so brings some challenges. IT managers struggle to enforce BYOD policies, and View 5 doesn't have good-enough profile management technology yet.

Still, being able to access virtual desktops from anywhere is a huge perk, and VDI with BYOD can simplify device management.

Microsoft updates roaming profiles for the desktop virtualization age
Microsoft gave customers what they wanted with a new roaming user profile tool. The profile management software helps managers provide a consistent user experience across different devices. Some users were surprised that Microsoft built the tool in-house rather than acquiring third-party technology.

Dell and HP churn out VDI hardware as thin client war heats up
In a thin client battle that rivals beach volleyball intensity, HP introduced a new low-power zero client and Dell updated its Desktop Virtualization Solutions product. Dell's Wyse acquisition also made a splash in the VDI market.

Hot tips: Hosted desktops, Microsoft VDI licensing


Cloud app vs. Web app: What's the difference?
Confusion around application terminology has grown as the mobile age moves forward, so we dive into the differences between a cloud app and a Web app. It's a tricky distinction: Web apps can help you access cloud services, but they can be standalone apps, too. Plus, many cloud apps have a Web interface, but you wouldn't call them Web apps.

Weighing cloud-hosted virtual desktops vs. VDI
The relationship between cloud services and VDI gets even more complex when you host virtual desktops in the cloud. People tend to distrust the public cloud, but the benefits of hosted desktops include simpler remote access, fewer in-house hardware and administration tasks, and faster provisioning.

VDI software for SMBs: Citrix VDI-in-a-Box vs. XenDesktop
Citrix's new VDI software offering for small business is an enticing choice if you want to deploy a few virtual desktops and manage them easily -- all for a lower price than XenDesktop. But VDI-in-a-Box doesn't offer many of the add-ons you'll get with Citrix XenDesktop, such as a XenApp license.

What Windows 8 on ARM means for tablets and desktops
The news that Windows 8 will support ARM processors brings up some important questions when it comes to tablets and PCs. The Metro interface might be the key to Windows RT success, but Metro limits the applications you can run.

Desktop virtualization project pitfalls: Microsoft VDI licensing and more
If your desktop virtualization project is treading water, these tips for avoiding common pitfalls might be a rescue boat on the horizon. Remember that server virtualization is not the same as VDI, and get to know Microsoft VDI licensing rules before you deploy.

Since that's such a widespread pain point, we couldn't resist giving you a bonus to our top 10 list. So for more fun in the sun, check out this Microsoft virtual desktop licensing guide to learn the latest policy changes.

This was first published in July 2012

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