When you think of application or desktop virtualization, you likely think about “The Big Three”: Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop, VMware Horizon View, and Microsoft Remote Desktop Services. Without a doubt, these three vendors comprise the majority of the mindshare and market share.
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There has long been a debate about testing products within a virtual environment. Not just on how, but the why as well as the what to test. There are limits in some EULA’s as well on the reporting of such testing. This was the subject of the 7/25 Virtualization Security Podcast (#112 – Virtualization Security Roundtable) held Live from NSS Labs in Austin, TX. Where we delved into the issues of testing within a virtual environment. While the discussion was about security products, it is fairly straight forward to apply the concepts to other products within the virtual environment.
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Data Protection and patch management of virtual desktops, while not a sexy topic, is one that should happen on a regular basis within any organization implementing or working to implement virtual desktops. Recently, we have been testing virtual desktop software and there is a huge difference between patching and protecting data in a small number of instances and 1000s of instances. There are scale considerations as well as ease of use for file level and system recovery as well as issues with patching virtual desktops (not to mention other security issues).