2012. That is the year in which our clients are predicting that their next-generation desktop will be up and running. However, no one company defines this new desktop the same way. Some believe that this desktop will be fully virtualized in a data center and accessible from any device, others see this desktop as only a set of applications delivered to a user when required, and others just look at this desktop as a more manageable, supportable, and lower cost environment than today.
Regardless of how you define your next generation desktop, there is one thing in common factor that will make this all possible – client virtualization. Client virtualization will be the underpinning of all of these new ways of approaching the desktop as it will decouple the desktop and applications from the underlying hardware. Applications will be delivered to users using application virtualization, and users will interact with their desktop using desktop virtualization. In the end, these virtualization technologies are allowing IT to scale their desktop environments to new heights, while at the same time providing greater flexibility, security, manageability, and support than has ever been possible.
When Forrester thinks about client virtualization, it splits into four categories:
- Hosted desktop virtualization: the technology that allows a desktop environment to be run in a data center and gives users the ability to connect to that “desktop” from any internet-enabled device in the world.
- Hosted application virtualization: the technology that allows an application to be run in a data center and gives users the ability to connect to that application from any internet-enabled device in the world.
- Local desktop virtualization: the technology that allows a desktop environment to be run on a user’s device (either directly on bare metal or as a guest on top of the host/native OS).
- Local application virtualization: the technology that isolates applications from other applications and the underlying OS to insure a conflict-free application environment.
According to “The Top 15 Technology Trends EA Should Watch” report by my colleague Alex Cullen, companies’ infrastructure strategy and associated architecture will shift over the next three years to provide “greater scalability and flexibility while reducing support costs.” Client virtualization will be a key technology in the IT service platform. Just think: in 2012, IT organizations will only focus on delivering the capabilities that truly enable the business – the applications and the productivity environment (AKA the “desktop”) – while dropping the tasks that bring no competitive advantage to the business. On the flip side, users will be thrilled by the opportunity to work from the device of their choosing (including a home PC, thin client, netbook, or even the latest and greatest Mac) in a secure fashion. The way I see it, win-win!
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