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The VDI Chronicles – Desktop Virtualization

An occasional series documenting the significant milestones of desktop virtualization

In the beginning was the PC and, while it was always a difficult platform to manage, let’s not forget what was good about it. PCs put computing in the hands of users and gave them great flexibility in how they worked and what they could do. It is certain that we would not have got to the interactive immersive environments we now take for granted if we had stuck to mini and mainframe computers. For a start the PC spurred the massive software industry we know today by creating a market for every kind of application.

But there is no getting away from the fact that PC’s are a challenge to manage in large numbers. At the root of the problem is the fact they were originally intended to be bought by individuals and used as personal devices. Consequently management has always been an afterthought and has lead to us implementing a range of band-aid solutions to get control. We have tried patch management, PC lifecycle management, network admission control , software asset management and a host of other initiatives which have improved matters but we still have a problem.

Meanwhile, off on a parallel track, organizations were implementing server based computing with terminal services based on work from Citrix and Microsoft to make Windows into a multi-session operating system. They were delivering very attractive savings on the cost to manage the platform but at the expense of user flexibility – to keep terminal services stable you needed to restrict what the users could do. Consequently it became a great platform for the users that did not need much flexibility and for special case applications but did not change how the majority of corporate users accessed computers.

And that is how the situation stayed up until the changes of the last few years.

TO BE CONTINUED...

More Stories By Martin Ingram

Martin Ingram is vice president of strategy for AppSense, where he's responsible for understanding where the entire desktop computing market is going and deciding where AppSense should direct its products. He is recognized within the industry as an expert on application delivery. Martin has been with AppSense since 2005, previously having built companies around compliance and security including Kalypton, MIMEsweeper, Baltimore Technologies, Tektronix and Avid. He holds an electrical engineering degree from Sheffield University.

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