Desktop Virtualisation Developments for the Minority!
Desktop Virtualisation Developments for the Minority in the Last Year!
When I think desktop virtualisation, I think of something that has been slowly maturing over the past five years. There are so many flavours i.e. with Windows 7, without Windows 7, application only, published desktops, streamed, online and offline desktops. It is easy to see how many organisations were and still are a little confused. There were two major developments in the past 12 months or so that have helped the case of virtualisation for the SME and for clients who previously considered out of scope for VDI:
1. The first is the introduction of VDI-in-a-Box by Citrix, which is as simple as you like, a desktop virtualisation product which works off the shelf. Unlike many other “in a box” products it actually works and is very simple to implement. It is designed for the SMB market but is robust as is based on Citrix technology components which have been proven over the past number of years in the enterprise market. This product is ideal for customers normally with VDI requirements for 200 desktops or less (although there is no hard and fast rule, and it does scale well beyond 200 if required and sometime used in educational environments for these purposes). The good thing about this product is that it provides all the functional features of an enterprise class VDI solution at a price point that makes sense for smaller environments. It is easy to prove that it is cheaper to purchase this server, thin client and associated software, rather than purchasing and deploying new desktops. You will gain all the additional benefits that one would associate with VDI such as thin client v PC lifecycle, power savings, access to work from anywhere, bring your own device, data security and user backup benefits etc.
If I have one word of caution on this it would be to factor in the cost of purchasing your Microsoft Office licensing into your cost benefit analysis for your virtual environment. An OEM version of Office is far cheaper than the Fully Purchased Product (FPP). Published desktops using XenApp may stand up better under scrutiny if this becomes a factor in your decision making.
2. The second thing is the introduction of Virtual Desktops for laptops through another Citrix product called XenClient, which has recently gone through a new release. It used to be the case that laptops were the special use cases, where you provided packaged applications that could be accessed locally, when a user was not online. Methods of checking out laptops did not really work or caused more problems than they were worth, but a lot of these challenges seem to be overcome in the latest release which is great news for our customers! A number of our clients need full desktop and applications when offline; around the country, or indeed, in Europe. Using this technology enables you to have a local copy of the corporate desktop securely running on a HyperVisor on your laptop fully encrypted. The laptop users don’t even know they are running a virtual desktop. The benefit is that when users come back online they get their updates and new apps in the background, without them even being aware it is going on. In addition, all laptop data can be backed up to the corporate network and everything is secure and encrypted as you would expect. Just simple, just beautiful VDI for the laptop in motion.