Enterprise IT Watch Blog

Jan 21 2011   10:18AM GMT

Answers to your desktop virtualization questions

Melanie Yarbrough Profile: MelanieYarbrough

In the hubbub of new year’s predictions, Security Week expects virtualization to take a step forward in 2011 despite general security concerns:

Many companies have cited security concerns as the main blocker to virtualization and private cloud adoption. Paradoxically, virtual machines can be more secure than the physical servers they replace. Because virtual machines are purpose-built, virtualization security software can offer levels of dynamic and automated security that are unequalled in the physical security realm. As organizations become more familiar with hypervisor-based security and VM Introspection, the apprehension that may have stymied virtualization of critical workloads will be appeased.

Rather than having numerous endpoint devices that increase the possibility of a rogue user or machine, aspects of desktop virtualization such as zero clients allow for a major decrease in the threat of human error. As a result of the lessening of security fears surrounding the technology, IDC analysts predict revenue of $1.7 billion by 2011 in the desktop virtualization market. Gartner, similarly, predicts an increase in desktops virtualized from 500,000 to 49 million by 2013. Now that desktop virtualization is becoming more of an accepted technology, you should know your options by asking yourself some questions.


First off, the obvious. What is desktop virtualization?

Why desktop virtualization?

  • You don’t have to look far to see the benefits reaped by reducing complexity, including lowered costs.
  • Enhanced security capabilities, from remote wipe on thin clients to tighter control over data.
  • Remote access to information and the network with fewer concerns associated with remote users.

Where do you want your hypervisor?

  • In the data center: Centralized virtual desktops are delivered over the network.
  • In the client: Distributed virtual desktops reside within the local device.

What type of desktop virtualization will work best for you?

  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI): Run desktop OSes on a virtual machine hosted by a centralized server.
  • OS streaming: Mount a disk image of your OS from a server in the network. Though the software is physically running on the device, management happens centrally from the server.
  • Client hypervisor: Run the hypervisor either below (Type 1) or above (Type 2) the OS layer, separating the OS from the hardware, allowing for hardware-agnosticism. Can be used to run two different OSes on the same hardware.

The most important part of deciding what type of virtualization works for you and your enterprise is doing the research. Studying the nuances of desktop virtualization will ensure you don’t miss anything before diving into implementation. Have even more questions? Ask them in our community, where experts of all stripes can weigh in!

Melanie Yarbrough is the assistant community editor at ITKnowledgeExchange.com. Follow her on Twitter or send her an email at Melanie@ITKnowledgeExchange.com.

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  • MelanieYarbrough
    [...] Desktop virtualization is so much more than VDI, so get your questions answered before virtualizing. [...]
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