Virtualization has been a hot topic for a couple of years now, which is a lifetime in the IT world, but most of the buzz has been focused on servers. Desktop virtualization extends many of the benefits to users and also has tremendous potential to ease the issues faced by many administrators. Users get profiles and desktops that can follow them from device to device on dozens of different hardware platforms as well as the ability to connect to their desktop from anywhere in the world. Administrators get better security, centralized management of desktop images, and more flexibility in the hardware deployed for users.
Desktop Virtualization Is Inevitable (News.com)
There are a number of players in the desktop virtualization space, but the one with the biggest technology lead has to be Citrix, who has had desktop virtualization as its primary business for years and is now shipping its latest offering, XenDesktop. VMWare is using its early lead in server virtualization to make some headway in a market that will only benefit from having some strong competition. There are also several newcomers to the market, including at least one using Microsoft's Terminal Services as the desktop-delivery technology. HP is making its presence known in a different part of the market, offering a mobile thin client that works with XenDesktop and is certified for the VMWare desktop offering.
HP, Citrix Expand Desktop Virtualization (Government Computer News)
Ericom Poses as Desktop Virtualization "Alternative to Citrix" (Information Week)
I have been thinking about using some virtual desktops for about a year now. Virtualizing the desktop presents some compelling options, not the least of which is the ability to easily include desktops in the backup strategy. However, the ability to reduce the hardware on the user's desktop to a small, solid-state thin client is probably the biggest one for me. At that point, managing the desktop can be done entirely in the data center. Technicians can then spend their time fixing problems rather than arranging a time with the user, making a trip to their desk, and diagnosing troublesome hardware. Of course, thin clients do not make sense for some users, like those who need laptops, but virtual desktops can be displayed on a laptop just as well as on a thin client. Do you have virtual desktops in place or on the planning board?