Desktop virtualization is an alternative PC delivery model in which applications, operating systems, user data, profiles, and/or entire end-user environments are encapsulated and delivered to or executed on a remote endpoint device. The various desktop virtualization delivery models allow for centralized management, hosting, and/or execution, as well as syncing capabilities that enable local execution on an endpoint device.
When ESG asked its survey respondents about current usage of and plans for desktop virtualization, one-third reported that their organization currently uses at least one of these solutions, with an additional 23% saying they have plans to deploy the technology within the next 12 months. A mere 11% of organizations reported having no desktop virtualization plans or interest at this time.
While desktop virtualization usage is on the rise there lies plentiful complexity in choosing different delivery models and in implementation. The economic benefits that trigger an investment and any risks that could potentially impact end-user experience or productivity require that IT decision makers have a high confidence in their decisions and long term strategy. The bottom line is that IT remains uncertain on which road to take and lacks clarity in combing through the rising number of solutions in the market.
A few starting points include:
- Start with your existing relationships tied to the endpoint. Research what the operating system and management companies are doing. Since Microsoft currently has a strong foothold on the endpoint, understand how Microsoft is geared up and how they match your delivery and management strategy. Things to look for: Intune & Azure Active Directory
- Be ready to separate applications from desktops when possible. Decoupling the application from the desktop OS, and ideally the user data, enables IT to manage and maintain the applications better and helps to deliver the applications across multiple devices. Citrix has been in this market for years and it's minimally worth exploring its latest XenDesktop and XenApp solutions.
- Consider the concept of a control plane or broker of services. Think about how a portal into applications, desktops, and user data could help manage, deploy, and secure existing and future applications. VMware Horizon Suite is a good example of providing fidelity between endpoints and consumption models for applications and desktops.
As the diversity of applications continues to rise along with mobile device usage, it is important IT organizations plan through upgrade and migration strategies and leverage these events to explore and invest in desktop virtualization technology solutions.