The Virtualization Practice

Author Archive for Andrew Wood

Andrew Wood
Andrew WoodAndrew is a Director of Gilwood CS Ltd, based in the North East of England, which specialises in delivering and optimising server and application virtualisation solutions. With 12 years of experience in developing architectures that deliver server based computing implementations from small-medium size business to global enterprise solutions, his role involves examining emerging technology trends, vendor strategies, development and integration issues, and management best practices.

The Nirvana Phone was intended to enable a user to use their small form factor device when on the move or in the office to access business applications and data by accessing a virtual desktop. Motorola’s ATRIX 4G is being hailed as a device that can enable any road warrior or knowledge worker more mobile and productive with an in-place virtualised desktop environment

DesktopVirtualization

Can you use Desktop Virtualization in your organization to improve IT delivery? Desktop Virtualization, as a concept, is straightforward – separate the desktop environment from the physical machine. This gives you benefits in terms of speed of delivery, how you can provide access to mobile and remote workers, how you can ensure security and compliance.

There is great outrage to Microsoft’s reluctance to play ball and support virtualization of IE. Without an alternative, the solutions offered by Microsoft are expensive, cumbersome and difficult to maintain. Virtualising the application may well allow different browser versions to co-exist – but the user-experience can be cumbersome with links to other applications not always launching the correct browser and users having to know which browser to choose. Unibrows offers an interesting alternative utilising isolation to support the deployment of different controls and centralisation to allow management and control and importantly wrapped up in what sounds like a very appealing cost.

Application Deployment solutions reduce the cost of delivering applications and help you manage license use? With the end of support for Windows XP happening in 2014 many businesses are moving towards Windows 7 – ideally this inevitable cost is kept low. Application Virtualization can be used on ‘traditional’ desktops and laptops. Application Virtualization can be used in client side-hypervisors. Application Virtualization extends and increases the efficiencies of desktop virtualization as well as enabling portability and improving compatibility of applications. Application Virtualization can free you, not only from the limitation of having to “install within each device”, but lead the way in offering an alternative to “install on only corporate devices”. Application Virtualization can be a tool to reduce the complexity and time needed to move from Windows XP to Windows 7, and from future application updates. Indeed, for many companies, Application Virutalization is an option that can be used now by utilising existing license agreements, or for less cost than converting the application to run as a web-based service.

Is virtualizing Citrix XenApp a waste of time and effort? In spite of the hardware abstraction allowing easier image management and OS upgrades; in spite of options for higher availability and faster recovery, even fail-over; in spite of enabling silo consolidation; in spite of enabling managing user capacity on servers – especially for x32 environments, but also x64; … what could virtualization of your Presentation Virtualization environment possibly do for you?

Desktop Virtualization is not an easy undertaking. There – I’ve said it. “But,” you may say, “I take a copy of the desktops I have, I run them on servers in the data-centre. Once that’s done, I don’t need to update those desktop devices; I can update the virtualized workspace instead far more quickly. The desktops are running on server hardware so they will be more reliable. Eventually, someone may well offer to host these workspaces on some infrastructure out in The Cloud”.

“Really, how hard can it be?”

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