Desktop virtualization is inevitable

Everyone in the IT industry is doing back flips over server virtualization, begging the obvious question: What about the desktop?

Everyone in the IT industry is doing back flips over server virtualization, begging the obvious question: What about the desktop?

There is already a lot of tire kicking going on. According to ESG Research, 8 percent of large organizations have already deployed desktop virtualization , 9 percent are piloting desktop virtualization, and 32 percent are currently evaluating desktop virtualization.

Yup, the industry is about to go ga-ga over virtualization again. Desktop virtualization makes a ton of sense because of:

1. Complexity
Since the introduction of the IBM PC in the 1980s, we've yet to figure out how to manage thousands of distributed PCs, let alone mobile laptops. Desktop virtualization could make this a heck of a lot easier when administrators manage desktop images in a data center rather than chase physical devices around the globe.

Desktop virtualization could be a win-win. IT gets operational simplicity and security while users get freedom of choice.

2. Security
Unless you work at some nouveau fascist organization, you can't go locking down endpoints or imposing draconian security rules on users. Desktop virtualization could solve this quandary. How? Users would have one virtual desktop image with certain policies and privileges for work and another for personal use. Want to take a look at the latest Beyonce video on YouTube from your office? No problem. Switch over to your personal desktop and go ahead.

3. Mobility
Pretty soon, I'm going to want the same desktop image on different PCs and other devices. Desktop virtualization is the best bet to deliver on this promise.

At the risk of sounding like an IT marketing cliche, desktop virtualization could be a win-win. IT gets operational simplicity and security while users get freedom of choice. With virtualization in place, users can bring in their familiar Macs and do their jobs without a hitch. Sure, the burden goes to the data center and the network, but aren't we headed in that direction anyway?

Jon Oltsik is a senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group.
 

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