Why Desktop Virtualization

At one of the virtualization conferences where I presented a breakout session, I was asked to join a couple of other speakers for a panel discussion. To my big surprise, the conversation got sort of confusing when the question “What are the benefits of desktop virtualization?” came up. I thought that by now everyone in the market knows when desktop virtualization or desktop remoting are beneficial – and when not. This was obviously not the case. In addition to that, some of the speakers and many attendees didn’t know about the variety of goals that may lead to desktop conversion projects.

At one of the virtualization conferences where I presented a breakout session, I was asked to join a couple of other speakers for a panel discussion. To my big surprise, the conversation got sort of confusing when the question “What are the benefits of desktop virtualization?” came up. I thought that by now everyone in the market knows when desktop virtualization or desktop remoting are beneficial – and when not. This was obviously not the case. In addition to that, some of the speakers and many attendees didn’t know about the variety of goals that may lead to desktop conversion projects.

Benny’s Selection of Goals

  • Reduce total costs: Typically, this requires standardizing user desktops, automating software deployment and using remote desktop sessions to maximize user density per physical server.
  • Reduce costs to manage applications: In a centralized desktop environment, it’s easier to optimize the application lifecycle management. This includes packaging, deployment, remediation, inventory, etc.
  • Enhance agility: Rapidly adapting to changing requirements can be done with all centrally managed desktop virtualization and desktop remoting solutions. But if you add application virtualization and enterprise software deployment (ESD) to the mix, even physical Windows clients can be turned into very agile platforms.
  • Support ability to work from home: Both desktop virtualization and desktop remoting allow such a scenario quite easily.
  • Faster provisioning: Delivering new desktops in less time is an ideal goal for personal virtual desktops based on a golden image.
  • Hotdesking: Moving from one PC to the next with apps/data or desktops following the users is also a good use case for personal virtual desktops.
  • Enable rapid onboarding: Pooled virtual desktops and remote desktops can be used to bring on new business users to existing desktop setups and applications quickly.
  • Shorten downtime: When a user needs to be re-imaged, this works most quickly with pooled virtual desktops.
  • Consolidate datacenter: Desktop virtualization will not help you with this by definition. When introducing desktop virtualization or desktop remoting, you will most probably increase the number of servers and the overall complexity of your datacenter.
  • Effectively manage branch infrastructure: Desktop virtualization and desktop remoting help to move file, print and directory services from branch offices into regional data centers.
  • Fulfill offline and mobility requirements: Without application virtualization or streaming, this goal cannot be reached by desktop virtualization and desktop remoting.
  • Reduce network bandwidth: In most cases, neither desktop virtualization nor desktop remoting will help you to reduce network bandwidth.
  • Simplify clients: All desktop virtualization and desktop remoting solutions allow using simplified clients. But this also requires replacing all clients or you end up with additional management complexity.
  • Increase independence of hardware: Due to the underlying hypervisor, desktop virtualization can help you to reach this goal on the server side. On the client side both desktop virtualization and desktop remoting allow you to bring on any type of hardware easily.
  • Support multiple application technologies: It is easy to silo applications and mix application delivery methods when combining desktop virtualization, desktop remoting and application virtualization.
  • Overcome limitations of legacy applications: Remote desktop silos or dedicated personal virtual desktops allow to run legacy applications that are not compatible with the latest Windows versions.
  • Deploy graphic-intensive applications: Desktop virtualization requires remoting protocols for delivering graphical objects to the client. To reach a graphics performance that comes close to a physical client, high network bandwidth and host side graphics hardware is required for dedicated personal virtual desktops.
  • Support heavyweight CPU applications: Like with GPU-hungry applications, dedicated personal virtual desktops are the right choice here.
  • Reach higher level of application and data security: This is not something you get by simply introducing desktop virtualization or desktop remoting. You will have to invest some additional work to get more security.
  • Facilitate compliance with regulations: Easier to reach in a strictly centralized desktop infrastructure if compared to applications installed on physical clients.
  • Reduce energy consumption: It’s a myth that you save energy just by introducing desktop virtualization or desktop remoting. Always take the additional energy consumption of datacenter and network resources into account.
  • Support mergers and acquisitions: Desktop virtualization and desktop remoting are indeed helpful for mergers and acquisitions. Migrating users from one desktop to another is easier in strictly centralized environments when compared to physical clients.
  • Allow connection to new backend systems: This can be done quite easily after introducing pooled virtual desktops or remote desktops.
  • Rapid desktop disaster recovery: Rapidly recover hundreds of desktop environments at a DR site can be done most efficiently when using pooled virtual desktops.
  • Support OS migrations: Desktop virtualization helps the OS migration process by transferring user data and settings or allow multiple OS’s to run in parallel.
  • Manage disconnected endpoints: Desktop virtualization and desktop remoting can be used to manage user desktops while the endpoints are disconnected. This includes software deployment, patching and backup.

When selecting the right solution, aspects like user density, application performance, user-mode isolation, kernel-mode isolation and application compatibility must be taken into account. Software vendor support and availability of skilled staff should also not be ignored. In more complex environments, support of multiple time zones, multiple languages, multiple monitors and a range of printers may be additional requirements.

Happy planning 😉

No comments yet. You should be kind and add one!

The comments are closed.