As part of their top 10 picks for 2011, IDC is predicting that Client Virtualization will become a mainstream, strategic desktop choice for the enterprise. I have to say that I agree. If you think about the many hours (and therefore the large amount of money) wasted on desktop support alone, the concept of desktop virtualization becomes a no brainer for any medium to large enterprise. However, the concept of virtualization, while nothing new, extends far beyond that.
So what exactly is the hype about? Think about it – how many users in any given organization install software and then either never use it, or use it just the one time? If your business is anything like the various places I’ve worked at the answer is “Many!”.
Each instance of software you install needs to be both licensed, supported, and an end of year audit can land you some pretty hefty charges when your asset management software reports that you are way over your licensed number of users.
Virtualization of the end user desktop addresses this and many more issues. You simply put together a gold standard for each of your user groups and can then deal with exceptions on a case by case basis. Upgrades and security patches can be pushed quickly and effectively and security holes closed very fast without disturbing your user base.
So the question is, if this is so basic a concept, why is it only being predicted as catching on now?
The answer to this question is just as basic as the concept itself – monitoring!
If you are running all your desktop users off a central data center, what happens when you have a failure? Who is affected? How quickly can you find the root cause and get your users back up? what is the fine balance between availability and maintenance? Difficult questions, but questions that can be quite easily answered with todays software that tracks service management, SLAs and change. Really today it’s just a matter of finding the right software package, and engaging the VDI vendor you prefer and to IDC’s point, your desktop user base is virtualized.
So, I’m curious to see how 2011 pans out for desktop virtualization. My money is on the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and Business Service Management (BSM) vendors…