Client Virtualization in a Cloud Environment

Arguably computation models seen in client space are much more diverse than those in the server space proper. For servers, there are essentially two, the earlier model of static consolidation and the more recent dynamic model where virtual machines lightly bound to their physical hosts and can be moved around with relative ease. With virtualized clients there are also two main models, depending on whether the application execution takes place in servers in a data center or on the physical client. Beyond that we have identified at least seven distinct variants, each architected to address specific management, security and TCO needs and with usage models with specific business scenarios in mind. At least for server-based clients, their presence may be an indication of technology convergence between clients and server products in cloud space, a continuation of the trend that started when clients were used as presentation devices for traditional three-tier applications. This article examines some of the general issues and concerns regarding client virtualization.

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