Will one single type of desktop accommodate the needs of this complex workforce? Simply put, it can’t. These workers require a multitude of desktop experiences. That means either a plethora of desktop products, or a single framework that can be configured and extended to support a variety of workplace scenarios.
A powerful technology that affords flexibility and manageability, and can enable these new workforce scenarios to come to life, is virtualization. Most IT managers are aware of the power of virtualization technology, specifically as it applies to servers and consolidation. However, many may not be aware of how virtualization can be applied to the desktop.
There are four areas of virtualization that enable flexibility at the desktop level:
1. User-state virtualization separates an end user’s data and settings from a specific desktop machine. This enables IT to store those user elements centrally and at the same time make them accessible to other PCs in the organization. It enables a user to employ a variety of PCs (or mobile devices) as if each were that person’s unique PC.
2. Microsoft® Application Virtualization (App-V) turns an application into a self-functioning entity. It allows IT administrators to store an application centrally and stream it to a desktop based on user access privileges. It isolates applications from each other, allowing them to run in concert even if they require the same resources from the OS.
3. Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) decouples the location of the user interface from where the application is executing. This allows the execution of a desktop environment at one place (a server) and presentation of that environment or user interface at a different location (a desktop or mobile computer).
4. Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) centralizes virtual PCs inside the datacenter while allowing users to remotely access their desktops. Being server-based, it requires hardware and storage that can be costly. Before you start evaluating VDI, rationalize your VDI deployment, outline your VDI scenarios and explore the licensing implications.
Microsoft has incorporated powerful virtualization technology as a key element in its strategic blueprint, the Windows Optimized Desktop.