How Desktop Virtualization Can Lower Costs and Raise Productivity
The PC desktop has inherent drawbacks in the areas of manageability,
security, and resources that the virtual desktop impressively addresses.
Desktop virtualization is quickly gaining traction. It's no wonder given the
high cost of maintaining PCs and the popularity of client-server technology.
Costs can vary, but one study by a leading industry research group states that
the total cost of ownership for a desktop PC is about $5,400 per PC, per year.
This figure actually increases as the PC depreciates. Because of the rise in the
cost of managing and securing PCs, many companies have searched for
alternatives. This often leads them to desktop virtualization and lower-cost
hardware options like thin clients.
Desktop virtualization is defined as a computing environment in which some or
all components of the system, including operating system and applications,
reside in a protected environment, isolated from the underlying hardware and
software platforms. The virtualization layer controls interactions between the
virtual environment and the rest of the system. Essentially, servers host
desktop environments specific to each user and stream applications and operating
systems to the desktop.
There are many companies that have implemented this technology paired with
the use of thin clients to increase security, improve manageability, and free
Trends in Desktop Virtualization
One of the driving forces behind desktop virtualization is the introduction of
Vista. Many IT executives are concerned that Vista will require them to upgrade
their current devices. With virtualization, companies can run this new OS on
servers supporting thin client desktops. Microsoft has created Windows Vista
Enterprise Centralized Desktops, which is Windows Vista licensing for deployment
in a centralized, virtualized setting.
There’s also the surge in at-home workers, a trend that has increased the
need for virtualization on the desktop. With employees working from home, IT has
lost some control over security. It’s obvious that IT needs to be concerned with
security of their entire infrastructure with the increase in data security
breaches and the resulting new laws and regulations. Desktop virtualization
allows end users to have the ability to access their desktops from anywhere at
anytime, and IT has the luxury of knowing that their environment is secure.
The Skinny on Thin Clients
Consultants have been saying for a long time that thin clients are the future.
Today, thin client technology finally has caught up with the vision. A few years
ago, most companies had two or three models of thin clients, but today there are
many models to choose from with varying CPU speeds, memory capacities, storage
capacities, and operating systems. Besides being more secure and easier to
deploy, manage, and maintain (than their PC counterparts) thin clients boast a
longer life expectancy because they have no moving parts, small footprint on the
desktop, lower power consumption, and server-centralized data storage. See "Choosing
the Right Thin Client for your System i". for more on thin clients.
Benefits of Desktop Virtualization
In a survey of 100 IT managers conducted by Goldman Sachs (Desktop
Virtualization), the number-one motivation for adopting desktop virtualization
is increased manageability (36 percent of respondents). Some 32 percent of
respondents said they are motivated by the benefits in the area of security.
Other benefits include increased flexibility, hardware independence, reductions
in downtime and costs, and more.
By managing desktops centrally, IT benefits from no longer having to physically
maintain every unit and therefore frees up valuable resources, including time.
Security can be centrally controlled helping to eliminate possible security
Desktops can be created within minutes by simply copying and moving files.
This is especially helpful after a system failure. Desktops are easily deployed,
and users can go back to work quickly because they are not tied to any
Centralized management allows maintenance to be transparent to the user.
Maintenance can be performed during regular work hours without affecting users'
productivity during the work day. Companies gain better control over each
individual desktop and allow for upgrades, patches, installation, and more to be
completed without user intervention.
The trend toward working at home has increased exponentially over the years due
to changes in technology. More and more companies are saving money by allowing
employees to work from their homes or by outsourcing work offshore. Control over
the security of off-site facilities is often overlooked leading to huge
organizational issues. With desktop virtualization, everything is being
protected and managed from one location, which allows IT to regain control over
Since virtual machines are isolated from one another, issues on one machine,
like a virus for example, affect only that machine. IT Managers can now be sure
that all desktops are protected from viruses. They can perform virus updates on
all machines without having to go to each individual one, and they don't have to
rely on users to implement updates.
Desktop virtualization allows for a more flexible choice of hardware
providing the option of less expensive, but more secure, thin clients. Besides
the security benefit of having all data reside on the server, thin clients offer
a more resilient environment against viruses. Shutting down a thin client brings
it back to its original state thereby eliminating any potential threat.
Complete Desktop Experience
Thin clients are easy to manage and deploy, more reliable than their PC
counterparts, and more secure, but it’s no secret that end users are reluctant
to embrace a thin client implementation. The main reason for this is because
users don’t want to lose their perceived personal privacy. Users may feel as
though they have lost control of their work environments. Desktop virtualization
eliminates this concern by providing users with a complete desktop experience.
When logging into a virtual environment, each user sees her personal desktop
just as she would with a PC. Her preferred wallpaper, photos, color scheme, and
more display each time. Even better, she can obtain this same desktop from
anywhere, regardless of hardware.
Users can benefit from a portable desktop. It allows them to connect from
anywhere using a wide range of devices. There’s also the benefit of being able
to access multiple desktop environments from a single client. This allows
programmers and developers with the ability to easily test code on multiple
operating systems or applications reducing development time and resources.
Desktop virtualization allows the use of any hardware and for streaming
applications and OS's from the server. This can result in companies saving money
by installing thin clients instead of fully configured PCs.
Resource Poolingg Compatibility
Resource pooling allows multiple user desktops to run as separate virtual
machines while sharing underlying physical hardware resources such as CPU,
memory, networking and storage. Some virtualization products reduce the demand
for memory and bandwidth by providing streaming for just the amount of software
that is needed.
Virtualization is a good fit for companies that want to move to thin clients but
use applications that will not run in a multi-user environment like Terminal
Server. All applications that normally run in a PC environment can run in a
virtualized environment without any changes.
Contact us at 866-865-5250 or info@10ZiG.com for a free 30-day trial or for more information.