• Brian Madden's Corner

    A collection of industry expert and blogger Brian Madden's columns, tips and videos on desktop virtualization from

  • VMware View guide

    In this special report on VMware View, you'll learn about the pros and cons of this virtual desktop infrastructure product, how to install it and tools for managing a View environment. Also, read news following the evolution of this product and the major issues the server virtualization innovator has had in delivering virtualization to desktops.

  • Client Hypervisor Guide

    There are a number of ways to virtualize desktops, and one technology that's finally gaining maturity is client hypervisors. This type of desktop virtualization provides the benefits of VDI without the back end infrastructure costs and complexity.

    A client hypervisor resides on a laptop, PC or other client device and runs virtual machines on a desktop host. This is useful for isolating OSes from hardware to make the OS hardware-agnostic. This desktop virtualization technology also runs different versions of operating systems on the same machine to parse out corporate and personal computing environments.

    This guide covers the types of client hypervisors on the market today from vendors including Citrix Systems Inc., Virtual Computer and VMware and Microsoft's plans to deliver a client hypervisor as part of Windows 8.

  • Guide to low-cost desktop virtualization

    Virtual desktop infrastructure hasn't taken the desktop world by storm because the infrastructure requirements make large-scale VDI projects more expensive to deploy than traditional PCs.

    Desktop virtualization vendors are working to lower the cost of server-hosted virtual desktops, but there are ways to virtualize desktops today without incurring astronomical infrastructure and licensing costs.

    This guide covers desktop virtualization technologies that provide flexibility and security at a much lower price tag. Learn about ways to cut costs when using server-hosted VDI products such as Citrix XenDesktop and VMware View.

  • Cloud-hosted desktops and applications guide

    Cloud-hosted VDI provides companies a way to deliver virtual desktops to remote employees on any device without incurring the infrastructure costs of an on-premises virtual desktop infrastructure. But cloud isn't appropriate for all types of desktops and applications.

    In this guide, learn about cloud-hosted virtual desktops versus VDI, using hosted applications and the integration of cloud-based technologies with enterprise desktops. Also, read how vendors are merging the cloud and on-premises desktop worlds.

  • Guide to calculating ROI from VDI

    Virtual desktop infrastructure can decrease hardware costs, increase end user productivity and mobility, and provide more flexibility for applications and operating systems. But to decide whether implementing virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) will be worth the price tag, you need to determine the potential return on investment (ROI).

    Numerous factors go into calculating VDI ROI, including the cost of virtualizing workloads, purchasing or repurposing hardware, adding storage or network resources, and training IT employees and end users. Implementing virtual desktops isn't necessarily a money-saving opportunity, but figuring out the possible ROI -- and when you might achieve it -- will help you plan your deployment.

    This guide to calculating ROI from VDI provides resources on VDI costs, ways to deploy virtual desktops in the most cost-effective way for your organization and the important factors that go into ROI calculation.

  • VDI assessment guide

    Before you dive straight into the desktop virtualization pool, dip your toes in and make sure it's right for your organization.

    Start with a VDI assessment. Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) doesn't make sense for all organizations, and your virtualization and management teams need to be up to the task. Even if everyone's ready to take the plunge, you still need to determine who will benefit from virtual desktops and figure out what resources and technology you'll need.

    Your VDI assessment may indicate that you won't save money with a virtual desktop environment. The real benefits of implementing VDI technology will be simpler desktop management, less hardware and increased mobility and flexibility for end users.

    Deciding whether to implement virtual desktops can be a challenge, but it will be smooth sailing if you know your goals and needs ahead of time. This VDI assessment guide can help you determine if virtual desktops are right for your organization.

  • Citrix Synergy 2012 conference coverage

    Citrix Synergy 2012 painted a picture of a changing workforce and the future of desktop computing: movement away from device management and toward mobile app management using virtual desktops and the cloud.

    Citrix Systems Inc.'s annual conference in San Francisco emphasized mobile app management offerings such as CloudGateway 2 and Citrix Receiver, with Citrix desktop virtualization products such as XenDesktop and XenApp getting a little less face time. Those products will fit into Project Avalon, however, which provides Windows app and desktop delivery from the cloud -- a step toward greater flexibility for virtual desktop admins.

    Other vendors also stepped into the spotlight. Citrix announced its acquisition of Virtual Computer, and Dell and Hewlett-Packard announced new VDI client hardware.

    Check out all the news from before, during and after the show below. And if you missed out, read Brian Madden's live blog of the Citrix Synergy 2012 keynote.

  • VDI pilot project guide

    Once you've decided VDI is right for your organization, it's time to get a project plan under way.

    As you begin a VDI pilot project, check out all the product options and consider costs, management style, deployment options and more. You need the right product to suit your needs. Most importantly, you need a VDI project plan that will benefit the end users.

    Planning your first virtual desktop implementation can be overwhelming, and you'll probably hit a few snags, but you can learn from those who have gone before you. This VDI pilot project guide will help you navigate vendors and software options and ensure that you don't fall into any of the common pitfalls. See how other pilots have succeeded and why some have failed.

  • Beginner's guide to VDI project planning

    An IT admin's first desktop virtualization project can be challenging, but all it takes is a little preparation. For starters, decide whether VDI is right for your organization, calculate the potential ROI and assess your goals.

    Desktop virtualization projects come in many shapes and sizes. Good old virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) might be up your alley, or it could be cloud-hosted desktops or client virtualization.

    Of course, what everyone wants to know is: How much will this cost me? As part of your VDI planning, consider the initial and long-term costs, and learn how to design a low-cost desktop virtualization project. Plus, wrap your head around Microsoft's not-so-simple VDI licensing rules.

    This VDI planning guide takes you from the assessment stage to cost calculation to the final steps of implementing your first desktop virtualization project.

  • The complete guide to VDI storage management

    Storage load affects virtual desktop performance more than any other factor, making VDI storage management a critical task.

    To get the best end-user experience from your virtual desktops, you need to choose the right storage system. First, decide whether you want to use the existing array or buy all new storage. There are lots of vendors and capacity planning tools to consider. You should also take into account IOPS requirements, costs and virtual machine (VM) provisioning needs.

    Once you've got the right storage in place, keep tabs on the ups and downs of your virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Virtual desktop loads are more inconsistent than physical ones, depending on user activity, and storage bottlenecks are common.

    In this guide, learn best practices for selecting, configuring and allocating VDI storage to get the strongest performance out of your environment.

  • BriForum 2012 conference coverage

    As the lines blur between desktop virtualization and consumerization, IT needs to rethink its delivery of desktops, applications and services to end users.

    That was the theme at BriForum 2012 in Chicago, where the bring your own device (BYOD) trend and enterprise mobility shared the spotlight with traditional topics such as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and remote application delivery. Dozens of expert speakers shared their insights on everything from BYOD readiness and mobile information management to Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2012 and WAN optimization.

    If you missed out or just want to relive the fun, check out our complete coverage of BriForum 2012. See you next year!

    Interested in learning more about other TechTarget events? Find out more about our Consumerization of IT Seminar with Brian Madden, coming to multiple U.S. cities in 2013.

  • How VDI fits into the new desktop management

    With remote workers and virtual PCs in the mix, desktop management just isn't the same anymore.

    In many organizations, the endpoints that IT now has to manage include remote and virtual desktops, as well as mobile devices. Desktop virtualization brings major challenges when it comes to monitoring, security, customization and the end-user experience.

    At the same time, IT pros can use virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and Remote Desktop Services (RDS) to deliver applications to those endpoints in a simpler, more efficient way. But virtual desktop management is a whole new ballgame, and IT needs to remember that these technologies require different techniques for backup, disaster recovery and more.

    Desktop virtualization plays a big role in the changing face of endpoint management, so it's time to consider how this trend fits into your organization. This guide covers all you need to know about managing your remote and virtual desktops in the virtual, mobile age.

  • VDI disaster recovery guide

    Just like traditional desktops, the time will probably come when you'll have to recover your virtual desktops.

    Disaster recovery for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) requires many of the same measures you'd take for conventional PCs: backup methods and careful planning. In fact, VDI can make it even easier to recover data because information isn't stored on the end-user devices.

    Still, there are some additional considerations for VDI disaster recovery. Do you have enough network bandwidth to deal with the recovery migration? Which applications do your users absolutely need access to post-disaster?

    This guide covers virtual desktop recovery techniques, planning measures and tips for backing up your desktops.

  • Oracle VM VirtualBox guide

    Oracle Corp.'s open source platform, VirtualBox, lends a hand to IT pros setting up host-based virtual environments. Whether it's for server or desktop virtualization, VirtualBox provides an outlet for OS testing, virtual machine creation and more.

    Oracle VM VirtualBox offers basic virtualization functions, but it also provides more advanced capabilities including remote access and the ability to run an OS from a USB drive. The latest version, 4.2, brings automatic virtual machine (VM) start, more network resource controls and improved support for Windows 8 guests.

    Our Oracle VM VirtualBox guide steers you to resources that help you understand this software from top to bottom.

  • VDI network management guide

    Desktop administrators may love the benefits of VDI, but data center network managers might not be so ecstatic.

    Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) adds a significant load to your network, and throughput could suffer. You want to make sure you have enough bandwidth to accommodate virtual desktop connections, while at the same time ensuring low latency.

    Sound a little tricky? It sure is.

    It's also challenging to deliver graphics-heavy applications over the network. You'll need acceleration technology to get the best performance from wide area networks (WANs). Overcome these challenges with the resources in this VDI network management guide.

  • Virtual desktop security guide

    With the variety of endpoints in corporate environments today, security is more important than ever. Plus, users are becoming increasingly independent, making it difficult for IT to manage passwords, application settings and network access.

    Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can make your desktops either more secure or less so. Storing data on VDI servers in the data center is more secure than storing it locally on the user's endpoint, and administrators have greater control over desktop and app distribution. At the same time, allowing users to access virtual desktops remotely puts your network at risk.

    To deal with those extra vulnerabilities, you need solid virtual desktop security measures. Learn how to protect the network, implement single sign-on, secure backup files and more with this guide.

  • Guide to VDI performance monitoring

    To keep virtual desktops in line, you need VDI performance monitoring tools.

    Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can run into any number of problems, from those related to network connectivity to application performance to user satisfaction. Luckily, monitoring your environment helps identify issues, alert admins, suggest solutions and even prevent VDI problems in the first place. Just remember, there are some different components to consider when monitoring virtual desktops as opposed to traditional PCs.

    This VDI monitoring guide offers resources to help you gather performance data, set alerts and choose the best monitoring tools for your environment.

  • Ultimate guide to VDI best practices

    When it comes to virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), there's a lot to think about. You have to manage the network, store user data and monitor performance -- not to mention recover desktops if they fail.

    As you deploy virtual desktops, make sure you're securing them properly, backing up their data and maintaining a solid network connection. Once your environment is in place, it's critical to monitor performance to ensure a quality end-user experience. Finally, have a disaster recovery plan ready in case of virtual desktop hiccups.

    It's hard to know how to go about accomplishing all those tasks, but these VDI best practices are here to help. Check out each guide for tips on security, storage, network management and more.

  • Virtual desktop admin's Windows Server 2012 guide

    Windows Server 2012 brings some exciting updates for desktop virtualization administrators. Here’s what's new and how to install this version.

    Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services (RDS) makes it easier to create virtual desktop collections and comes with a new stateless pooling mechanism. Plus, the RemoteFX remote display protocol technology adds adaptive graphics and multi-touch features.

    Once you wrap your head around the changes, you can determine whether it's time to upgrade. Learn how to install Windows Server 2012 RDS, improve high availability and take advantage of RemoteFX improvements in this guide.

  • Guide to choosing and managing VDI thin clients

    Thin clients make the VDI world go round. A thin client is a slimmed-down endpoint device that doesn't do any of the computing processing on the device itself; it relies on a network connection to the data center, where the virtual desktop is hosted.

    There is a lot to consider when it comes to thin clients: What features do you need? How will you manage them? Do you need thin client devices in the first place? They are a great way to provide slim, manageable endpoints for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) users, but there are other options for VDI hardware, too.

    In this guide, learn about the benefits of VDI thin clients, how to choose the right ones for your environment and how these endpoints compare to thick and zero clients.

  • Will VDI ever be mainstream?

    With the influx of mobile devices in the enterprise and the growth of cloud computing, VDI has an uncertain future.

    Despite the benefits of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and the technology's maturity, the "year of VDI" that many observers perennially expected still hasn't arrived. Plenty of companies have virtualized at least some of their PCs, but some organizations doing VDI find that storage requirements, cost and deployment complexity hinder their projects.

    To get a clearer picture of where VDI technology is headed, we asked five desktop virtualization experts whether VDI will ever be mainstream. Each offered a fresh perspective, but they agreed that other technology will outrun VDI and that -- at least today -- it's being deployed more than you might think.

  • Citrix Synergy 2013 conference coverage

    As the worlds of desktop, mobile and cloud computing grow closer together, IT administrators will gather at Citrix Synergy 2013 to get up to speed.

    The event comes as Citrix Systems builds out beyond its traditional desktop and application virtualization business. Over the past year, Citrix has expanded its enterprise mobility management portfolio by adding MDX technology to CloudGateway and acquiring mobile device management vendor Zenprise. The company also put more mobile device support behind XenApp and XenDesktop.

    Synergy attendees also expect to hear updates on Excalibur, a unified XenApp and XenDesktop management interface, and how Citrix plans to support Windows Server 2012 in its desktop and app virtualization platforms. The conference's virtualization track offers sessions on Citrix's HDX remote display protocol, the Merlin release of Project Avalon, which offers Windows desktops and apps as a cloud service, and its updated client hypervisor XenClient 4.5. Mobility sessions cover everything from ShareFile tips to BYOD security.

    The Citrix Synergy 2013 conference takes place May 22-24 in Anaheim, Calif. If the show isn't on your travel agenda, check out all the news and insights here.