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Virtual Desktops and Cloud Computing

Virtualization enables the cloud to provide virtualized servers to clients via the cloud

One of the major components of a cloud computing environment is, without a doubt, virtualization. Virtualization enables the cloud to provide virtualized servers to clients via the cloud, without having to rely on specific, individualized physical servers.

The cloud offers a number of advantages, of course, not the least of which is higher availability and increased efficiency. The challenge is providing access to necessary applications via divergent devices in geographically divergent locations, while maintaining high data integrity and synchronicity.

Part of the challenge of using cloud computing to provide flexible access is that users prefer fat applications for many tasks. Google Docs might be very useful and able to replace MS Office in some instances, but it’s not likely it will truly overtake the fat applications market share.

So, what do organizations who are dedicated to providing cloud computing solutions to divergent users do? One thing they’ve done is to turn to desktop virtualization tools and run them via the cloud.

Virtual desktops solve one of the biggest IT problems: the effective management and securing of corporate desktops. Managing a company’s set of virtual desktops is much less unwieldy than managing physical desktops, especially when those desktops are distributed around the world.

Virtual desktops also allow support personnel to update software all at once, rather than having to make updates on a machine-by-machine basis.

One of the most common virtual desktop solutions available is a VDI or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. The benefits of VDI include efficient management and reduced costs. Some users complain of the lack of offline capabilities of this kind of system, however.

The real problem with the concept of VDI is that it takes something that’s not designed for the cloud – your fat applications and your fat desktop – and superimposes it on the cloud. This is inefficient, at best. It also puts users in some situations of launching VDI on top of VDI, depending on the particular environment. This is especially inefficient in that those multiple VDIs all are running the same OS – now in separate instances.

What the future holds for virtual desktops and cloud computing remains to be seen. It’s likely that, as the cloud matures, VDI will likely go the way of the dodo. However, whether there is an efficient way to use the cloud to run desktops without unnecessary redundancies is the question that developers and designers are likely to face in the immediate future.

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Unitiv, Inc., is a professional provider of enterprise IT solutions. Unitiv delivers its services from its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, and its regional office in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Unitiv provides a strategic approach to its service delivery, focusing on three core components: People, Products, and Processes. The People to advise and support customers. The Products to design and build solutions. The Processes to govern and manage post-implementation operations.

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