The Case for Desktop Virtualization
The Workforce of Today: Experience, Mobility, Personalization
Users today demand the freedom of mobility. They no longer accept being chained to one particular computer in their office. 51% of workers use a laptop for work, and 39% use more than one workstation, according to Sep. 2011 Forrester report. On the executive level, an overwhelming 87% percent of employees have reported working from multiple locations.
In August 2011 survey, 36% of mobile workers complained about connectivity issues preventing them from working, and 39% mentioned travel connectivity problems.
More than half of mobile workers complained about degraded user experience of their desktops, due to degraded performance, application execution limitations, devices inaccessibility and latency issues caused by virtualization of their desktops.
So what do the users want? Here’s a partial list:
- High-performance environment, with user experience same as what they are accustomed to
- No technical limitations incurred by virtualization, such as inability to run applications which require peripherals, drivers, hardware access, or high performance
- Ability to fully personalize their desktops and self-serviced UIA (User Installed Applications)
- Having same environment across locations, at home and on a laptop
- Ability to work even offline or when connectivity is limited
- No need to care about backup or disaster recovery of their workspace
IT evolution to support users’ needs
Driven by the Cloud shift, IT is moving to fulfill the new demands and to respond to the fundamental shift in how IT is perceived by users. With that, especially in today’s tough times, IT is expected to become increasingly more efficient while handling workspace personalization, growing amounts of users and applications alongside with keeping the IT on-budget. Finally, IT is expected to adapt to the changes while remaining on budget, and without harming security and compliance.
IT organizations are developing a desktop strategy that fulfills these new requirements, with special emphasis on changing the way applications, personalization and entire workspaces are managed, delivered, and used.
Desktop virtualization thus becomes such a strategy, as natural continuation of successful server virtualization strategy on datacenter side.
The desktop virtualization landscape today is fragmented, with many different products covering overlapping areas, each with its advantages and drawbacks. IT stakeholders are investing considerable efforts in exploring, understanding and examining these solutions. In fact, only 33% of organizations have implemented to some extent any desktop virtualization in production mode. The rest are either starting pilot programs or just planning their next steps.
Alongside with ROI & TCO considerations, the main barriers for large scale desktop virtualization deployment are stated to be scalability to large deployments with a wide variety of user profiles, and applicability to knowledge workers and mobile workers – not just task workers, as it was before.
So what does IT want? Here is a partial list:
- Seamless transition process and minimal re-training and restructuring requirements
- Stateless, unmanaged end-points
- Ability to extend desktop virtualization to knowledge workers, mobile workers and high-performance workers
- Eliminating the need for end-point backup, and making Disaster Recovery instantaneous
- Compliance and security
- Clear TCO value