Virtual desktop technology is a promising technology for separating work from play on user systems that permit both types of applications.
business workloads run on the same hardware that also supports personal-use
applications, IT needs to intervene to protect the business.
method of separation that I've been exploring lately is the use of desktop
virtual machines and centrally managed virtual desktop infrastructure. Virtual
desktop products are one of the best ways to keep work and play separated on
common hardware. So why does it seem that VDI has an uphill battle when it
comes to implementation?
one thing is clear, users have generally developed configuration-complexity
habits. And despite the marketing hype, complexity is the enemy of VDI. It's
also, by the way, the enemy of productivity. Because most Windows users run
with administrator rights, their desktop and laptop systems quickly become a
customized den of family photos, music play lists, idiosyncratic games, screen-savers
and any manner of borderline-legit copyrighted content. This mess is usually
encased in a grim veneer of "you touch this and you'll draw back a stump."
VDI to complexity madness to an end. The best way to start is by providing
stellar support for the company-provided virtual desktop and completely cut off
support for the personal-use desktop applications that may be running on the
same hardware. If your organization encourages a BYOM (bring your own machine)
policy, make it clear that only the work side of the system is going to be
supported by IT.
great next step is to simplify the work side of the equation. Ruthlessly
determine what applications are required for user job performance. Make it an
IT mission to be the best at providing and supporting these required
applications. Be quick, efficient and inexpensive. And once that's done,
simplify some more. I think that VDI is among the most promising technologies
to deliver on this milestone.
cutting users loose from IT support and simplifying the business desktop, look
at your license use. Make it a mantra never to "pay twice, run once." Doubling
desktop operating system license fees is a great way to suck the life out of a
virtualization project. So, for example, don't pay for a license to run a PC
operating system on the hardware and then pay again for a license to run that
same operating system on the virtual machine on which the business workload is
running. One of the chief reasons is embodied in my next rule.
double IT support work to get the same level of user productivity. In other
words, think very carefully about a desktop virtualization plan that requires
the same patch/password/update process on the physical user systems that you
have today and that then adds a patch/password/update process on the virtual
desktops that will be supported on the user system. Thin- or zero-client
devices or bare-metal hypervisor technologies are compelling alternatives that drastically reduce device-support costs while
serving as a base from a successful VDI implementation. (See eWEEK Labs' NxTop review
any of this to work, IT must convince executives to lead. Executives should
lead by example and publicly give up all the exception-based loopholes that
enable them to surf whatever site they wish for as long as they wish.
Executives should adopt a corporate standard desktop background and eschew
vacation pictures as desktop backgrounds. And executives should put a public
premium on simplified (meaning the presence of only essential applications)
workplace desktops. And executives should back an IT strategy that drives a
burning line between work and play on user systems where both types of
workloads cohabitate, likely a strategy that uses virtual machines.