The Virtualization Practice

Desktop Virtualization

Desktop Virtualization covers VDI (centrally hosted desktops), Desktops as a Service (DaaS), desktop virtualization via client side hypervisors, and shared server technologies. Major areas of focus include when and where centralized desktop offerings are appropriate and not appropriate, ...
how management of remote desktops combined with management of mobile devices leads to a better managed and more productive end user computing environment, how to deliver the performance that end users require, and the impacts of using remote desktop technologies upon organizational security. Covered products and vendors include the VMware Horizon Suite, Horizon View, Horizon Mirage, VMware ThinApp, Citrix XenServer, Citrix XenApp, Citrix XenClient, and Microsoft Remote Data Services.

The countdown clock for the end of life of windows XP (the most successful operating system of all time) is running; enterprise IT is having to adjust to multiple disruptive trends that will stress it as never before, mobility, security, smart phones, tablets, BYOD, the cloud, even Apple has found a foothold in the enterprise. Budgets are tight, unemployment is high, mistakes cannot be afforded. This is the 2011 Year in Review for Desktop Virtualization.

Our very own Texiwill hosts a weekly Virtualization Security Round Table podcast. This round table provides an open forum to discuss all things related to Virtualization, Virtual Environment and cloud computing security. We’ve questioned before the benefits of a virtual desktop infrastructure with respect to security. Is VDI secure? Is VDI inherently more secure than “traditional desktops”? The article Virtual Desktop Security? Are They Secure? considered the VDI vendor claims that there are several big virtual desktop security

Thames Water have signed up to give a sizable part of its desktop infrastructure management to services built on Desktone’s VDI stack hosted and maintained by Molten Technologies. Thames Water is the UK’s largest water and sewerage company, serving one of the world’s largest conurbations. Is this a significant landmark for Desktop As-A-Service (DaaS) provision? The utility sector is very focused on costs, tends to be studiously following the curve rather than forging fast into uncharted waters. DaaS, for some, is still interesting concept, but has the perception of risk.

There has been quite a bit of hype on whether virtual desktops provide more security than traditional desktops. All the marketing literature I have read says that it does improve overall security, but I believe this marketing literature makes several assumptions that are just not true in most organizations, and really do not account for the myriad ways data can be accessed, by limiting our scope to just virtual desktops instead of the full desktop experience we are thereby limiting our thoughts on security. Are virtual desktops more secure?

With a little over 28 months left until Microsoft ends all support for Windows XP and with Internet Explorer 6, the time to consider their replacements is long overdue. While Microsoft and others have acted to deliver tools to assist with Windows 7 migration activities little effort has been made to address the challenge of IE 6. One of the others Quest has released an IE 6 rescue package. However, if anything, Microsoft’s only visible response has been to act stymie the actions of those withing to offer a solution.

What this also means is that for software companies focused on delivering applications and data to users, their solutions cannot be solely focused on virtualisation and the cloud: cannot be focused purely on thin and mobile. At the same time, IT departments need to be more business aware, because the business is increasingly IT aware. At the Synergy Barcelona 2011 event last week Citrix positioned themselves to deliver on just that.