Powering productivity with desktop virtualization

Productivity can be defined by many things, including how efficient the organisation operates its core business processes; however, staff having access to their mission critical applications and working environment at any time on any device is an important enabler of productivity and new technologies in desktop virtualization are unlocking this potential.

Although not a new concept, desktop virtualisation is leveraging new technologies and bes practices that can be applied in industries like government and healthcare which demand higher levels of security than afforded by using native client devices.

The productivity benefits that come with virtualisation are clear. An entire environment can be tapped into on-demand without compromising security standards that IT requires especially as it relates to government records or healthcare records.

Getting VDI right

Virtual desktop infrastructure is the enabler of networked desktop virtualisation across the enterprise, but many organisations struggle with getting the required system and network capacity right to deliver desktops anywhere.

VDI strategy starts with an understanding of the scope of who will benefit most from desktop virtualisation and planning the infrastructure requirements accordingly.

VDI should form part of a wider private cloud strategy where the service is available to the business on-demand. The productivity improvements of this architecture are profound as business services – for example, call centers – can be scaled up and back as needed.

Desktop virtualization from the cloud

Taking the VDI concept and expanding over the Internet is cloud-based desktop virtualization, or Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS). This approach has the advantage of reducing the amount of infrastructure required to deliver the service, but, as with anything cloud-based, you give up some control over how the system is managed.

IT managers need to assess which approach to desktop virtualization is best suited for their particular industry and unique organizational needs and in many cases it will be a combination of both delivery models in a hybrid architecture.

A possible disadvantage of cloud-based desktop virtualisation is poor user experience resulting from network latency. This will become less of a concern as both fixed and mobile networks grow in capacity and speed.

Extending virtualization to mobile devices

An important use case for desktop virtualization is the ability to deploy applications on any client device, including across different operating systems and even different platforms, for example mobile phones and tablets.

Whether your virtualization architecture is on-premises, or delivered by a cloud service, there is a growing use case for using the technology with mobile devices. With the release of Windows 10 this year, Microsoft is standardising its user interface across a wide range of devices with different form-factors and being able to present a business application to any desktop or mobile device brings clear productivity benefits as business can continue on in any location.

From the CIO's perspective, desktop virtualization extended to any mobile device also has the potential to reduce development costs associated with porting applications to different devices. Virtualization has the added benefit of providing an isolated workspace that can be secured for business use and not be impacted by, or interfered with, the personal side of the device. Desktop virtualization is a path to greater productivity by enabling the rapid deployment of services and application availability with the potential for improved security. It's up to CIOs and business leaders to exploit the technology for greater employee productivity and overall business benefit.

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