Desktop Virtualization 101

A guest post for Handshake 2.0 by Lizetta Staplefoote, Rackspace Hosting:

What is Desktop Virtualization?

A traditional desktop holds user data and applications locally. The user has to be at that desktop machine to access the applications and documents saved on it.

Desktop VirtualizationIn a virtual desktop environment, a company's information technology (IT) department creates a common baseline of user profiles for company-wide apps that multiple users securely access from a central server instead of an individual machine. 

Why It’s Gaining Momentum

Gartner predicts the hosted desktop market will grow from a half a million units in 2009 to 49 million units in 2013.  By 2015, the market is expected to grow five-fold! Here are a few reasons why businesses are turning to desktop virtualization:

Data Security: Holding user desktop data in a centralized, locked-down data center mitigates the risks involved when a mobile device or laptop is lost or stolen. Without proper access to the server, unauthorized eyes can’t browse files or access proprietary information. Additionally, IT can better control which members of the organization can see certain data and use applications.

Device Management: IT saves time by pushing new applications, updates, and troubleshooting issues from the central server, reducing desk-side visits and physical device interaction. Employees can securely access systems from a laptop, another desktop, smartphone, or tablet encouraging remote workforces and the rising Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to work shift sparked by smartphone and tablet popularity.

Resource Efficiency: In the virtualized desktop environment, IT can spread processing, performance, and storage workloads across a pool of machines. For example, with 20 desktops holding unused storage, virtualization allows you to combine that storage in the data center and use it across the pool more efficiently.

Despite the big benefits, deploying virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) isn’t always simple with application dependencies, software licensing, and bandwidth requirements. The cost and expertise required may be out of reach for some organizations. Instead of building it out on their own, some opt for hosted desktop virtualization to ramp up quickly and avoid the infrastructure work and investment.

For more detailed information on desktop virtualization, Rackspace Hosting offers Versed in Virtual Desktop, a white paper available for free download.

Lizetta Staplefoote is a senior copyrighter for Rackspace Hosting.

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  1. Nice informative blog, thanks for sharing.

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