Virtualization has its limits, but its benefits are a driving factor and the technology is rapidly catching up with the user scenarios playing out today. Developing a virtual desktop environment isn't an easy feat, but there are many reasons why it's worth the effort. The top four reasons to invest in virtual desktops now are the desktop support cost reduction possibilities, application and data security improvements, software licensing management options and system stability and reliability.
Reduction of desktop support costs
The provisioning of PCs is much simpler in a virtualized environment. With traditional desktops, administrators must test applications against multiple desktop configurations. With virtual desktops, IT can test applications against only one environment prior to deployment and still eliminate most follow-up support issues.
There are high cost and resource demands that come with managing a wide variety of client form factors, multiple generations of operating systems and hundreds of applications. I've even seen some well-managed PC environments require constant maintenance and support to repair problems and retain compliance with corporate policy. Desktop virtualization will allow for large, global companies with thousands of PCs to better manage their desktops because of the reduced dependence on specific hardware and operating system configurations.
Application and data security improvements
The traditional PC environment must be patched and updated consistently. There is a need to mitigate viruses and worms and cut the exposure of critical data and applications to malicious behavior from internal and external sources. Security risks increase as more mobile devices enter the workforce. End-users reach the Internet through public and unsecured home Wi-Fi networks. Thousands of laptops are stolen every year, which put confidential corporate data at risk.
Because virtualized environments give us in IT greater control over system and application provisioning and access, it is easier to secure access rights, and in many cases, data. Desktop virtualization helps by making it easier to decouple applications from data, which also makes it easier to de-provision access to applications.
Software licensing management
How many applications in the enterprise do you run today that you have no way of tracking? If you deliver all corporate applications through a virtualized environment, it is easier to track software usage and licenses.
System stability and reliability
Virtual environments can help prevent application conflicts and they are easier to repair when there are problems. There are ways to sandbox applications and prevent these conflicts, such as application streaming from Citrix Systems Inc., App-V from Microsoft and ThinApp from VMware. Plus, you can quickly and easily restore a PC to a working state with a simple reboot, thereby reducing the costs associated with reimaging and redeploying that hardware asset.
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR:|
Michael Keen is a Senior Solutions Architect with Alliance Technologies in Des Moines, Iowa. He has over eleven years of experience in large-scale application delivery and virtualization projects and has architected and implemented some of the largest Citrix infrastructures in the country using four design principles of standardization, simplification, integration, and modularity. He also brings extensive experience in converging business and IT using Enterprise Architecture and IT governance.