It seems like the computer business is trying to come full circle in recent years, with the recent virtual desktop offerings hearkening back to the mainframe days. Back then, all the processing was done on a massive computer that took up an entire room or floor and the users accessed the machine through terminals that barely had the power to display the data streams generated by the mainframes. These days, even though we have more processing power on our desks than NASA used to put men on the moon, there are companies out there who want us to give up that power in favor of "dumb terminals" that access virtual desktops running on very powerful computers back in a server room.
Virtual PCs Free Workers from Hardware (Information Week)
It isn't just Citrix, Microsoft, and VMWare in this game, smaller players are cropping up to take advantage of what analysts believe will be a multibillion dollar industry in coming years. One of the biggest factors in a successful desktop virtualization rollout is definitely the partners a firm chooses to assist with its project. One new wrinkle in the market is Symantec's offering that combines resources from several locations to virtualize a desktop completely over the Internet, eliminating reliance on a single server or farm, which could increase reliability and allow a user to connect to their desktop, data, and applications from anywhere in the world.
Symantec Unveils Virtual Desktop (eWeek)
Days like today reduce my enthusiasm for virtual desktop technology a bit. We had a campus-wide network issue that affected users' ability to access their network data and ability to log in. This turned out to be a relatively minor problem because our users have the processing power they need on their desktops to get most of their work done even if there is limited access to servers or the Internet. If we had relied on those servers to provide the desktops to the users, the problem would have been far more damaging and costly.