7 things you need to know about Desktop Virtualization

If we believe the marketing war stories, desktop virtualization is ready for mass adoption by organizations. But what is desktop virtualization about? Before your project takes off you have to consider these 7 points:
1. Desktop virtualization is about separating the desktop (operating system, applications and user settings) from the physical machine. Desktop virtualization and VDI are not the same. VDI is just a flavor of desktop virtualization. Where the term VDI is used for Hosted (Virtual) Machine scenarios, Desktop virtualization has a broader range of use. Remote Desktop Services (RDS) is also in the category of desktop virtualization.

2. Focus on the end-user experience. To get user acceptance you need to provide a “better” solution than the traditional desktop. You can’t tell your end-user you’re switching to desktop virtualization just because of better management options; a user doesn’t care about desktop management. User acceptance is the key to success for your project, get some key users involved. A Workspace Management solution could help you to get a quicker adoption of the desktop virtualization solution AppSense User Environment Management or RES PowerFuse. Workspace Management will enable roaming of user settings and personalization of the workspace. This goes beyond virtual profiles.

3. Desktop virtualization is one step, but application virtualization needs to be part of your migration as well. If you’re not already having an application virtualization layer in place, keep in mind some challenges in your project: 7 things you need to know about application virtualization.

4. Select the right desktop virtualization product based on your requirements; there are some differences between the available solutions. It’s not about which product has a better user density (don’t let your considerations be influenced by the marketing war between VMware and Citrix) but which product is a best fit for your organizational needs. When you found your product, start with a Proof of Concept first.

5. You still need endpoint devices; do not assume you can use any type of thin client for that. There is still some intelligence or processor power needed on the endpoint device to get a certain user experience. You also will have mobile users, how are you going to manage your laptops? Maybe you’re considering the Bring-Your-Own-Computer concept.

6. Good understanding of Microsoft Virtualization Licensing is needed. Doesn’t matter which desktop virtualization solution you choose, Microsoft designed Windows Virtual Enterprise Centralized Desktop (VECD) to enable organizations to license virtual copies of Windows client operating systems in virtual environments. This is a good read to get a better understanding.

7. Do not assume you will always have a quick Return-On-Investment with desktop virtualization. Special attention is needed for storage requirements and network requirements.

Desktop virtualization can bring your IT experience to the next level, but there are some pitfalls. Be prepared, hire some desktop virtualization experts to assist you on this and get together to design, build and test the environment.