When we last met on these pages, I spoke of the evolution from the Mainframe data center to distributed processing within departmental clusters, and then back again to the centralized datacenter. Now I’d like to take you into the current evolution of the Hosted Virtual Desktop. A work in progress, if you will.

Demands to increase access (productivity) for road warriors and the capability for office based workers to continue working from home after hours, mandated access to a user’s applications and data regardless of where they were. Internet companies and internet based applications proliferated into mainstream application productivity (SAAS, instant messenger, and of course E-mail). Regulatory Compliance (SOX, HIPPA, etc) became a mantra for organizations. Security (PCIDSS, Penetrations tests, etc.) had to be tightened. Bandwidth needs increased as data increased, secure wireless access had to be offered to users, and the need for core infrastructure grew dramatically. Storage demands increased. Organizations realized that Data Backup and Disaster Recovery are a mission critical path. Even the “Greening” of the datacenter came into play. Complexity grew and departmental administrators were simply not prepared to handle the intricacies of today’s computing needs or to keep up with user demands. Therefore, managing the desktop and productivity applications had to move back into the datacenter where IT professionals could control the environment.

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Next was the rise of the Hypervisor. Costs for server hardware were growing. Total cost of Ownership became the IT concern overshadowing Return on Investment as criteria for hardware and software purchases. VMware came out with an ability to run multiple virtual servers on a single piece of server iron (Citrix and Microsoft now offer competitive hypervisors and are making significant inroads into the server hypervisor space). This dramatically improved the per user TCO as the costs for licenses and applications skyrocketed. The hypervisor also reduced the server real estate demands in the datacenter. More users were able to be handled on fewer pieces of server hardware. Now, the centrally controlled glass house datacenter was firmly back in place, albeit looking very different than it used to.

The next piece of IT management puzzle was for control over the desktop. Citrix, a 15 year old company that provided best of breed remote access, through development and acquisition, now offers a full service product line to Virtualize the desktop, enabling centralized IT to manage user’s desktop and application environments. VMware and Microsoft also offer their desktop Virtualization solution flavors as well. The circle was complete. IT has regained control over the entire computing. What was old is new again.

Next time, we’ll dig deeper in the Hosted Virtual Desktop as the Productivity Enabler that companies have been looking for, and IPM’s ability to provide the HVD solution.

by Howard Kalman,  (hkalman@ipm.com)

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