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.

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?”

The Virtualization Security Podcast on 10/21 was the third in a series of Virtual Desktop Security discussions we are having. The special guest panelist was Chris Mayers of one of the Chief Security Architects for Citrix, the makers of XenServer, XenClient, and the FlexCast solutions. FlexCast provides an all encompassing method to provide virtual desktop and applications that include the following mechanisms:

Let us look at each of these mechanisms in a bit of detail then discuss how they work to provide Security and how to secure them.

While at VMworld 2010 in San Francisco this year, I got to meet up and talk with Robert from Atlantis Computing. Our conversation was about VDI and he was quite proud of the capabilities that Atlantis ILIO brings to the table in the VDI space. The conversation went well and got me interested in investigating a little further on the technology. Atlantis ILIO or “VDI Booster” as they like to call it, is a solution to address the complexity and high costs of VDI Deployment and management. ILIO has been architected to support most of the main VDI players like VMware View, Citrix XenDesktop, Microsoft Hosted Virtual Desktop (HVD),and Quest Software vWorkplace to name a few.

On the heels of receiving United States patent approval for its RES Virtual Desktop Extender (VDX) technology, RES Software have announced that it will also be offering VDX as a standalone product. A feature within RES Workspace Manager (formerly RES PowerFuse), VDX serves as a fundamental component in the successful deployment of virtual desktops. It enables local applications that typically do not run smoothly, or at all, in virtual environments to run seamlessly within a virtual session. However, while VDX’s functionality allows wider access to hosted desktops, organisations need to ensure that the management and maintenance of that legacy environment isn’t overlooked to the point where it impacts user experience and the organisation’s security.

VMware rethinks it plans for a mobile hypervisor

In a surprising about-face VMware has stepped back from its previously announced plans to release a type I hypervisor in support of its bid to address the mobile hypervisor market. Instead at VMworld 2010 in San Francisco during Session DV7701 “Embracing Employee-Owned Mobile Phones – The Why and How”, Stephen Deasy (Director, R&D, VMware) and Srinivas Krishnamurti (Senior Director, Mobile Solutions, VMware) shared their new plans for a type II mobile hypervisor platform.

Last week during Citrix’s Synergy event in Berlin Germany, the company announced the up and coming release of the next edition of their virtual desktop platform, XenDesktop 5. Focusing on greater management and end user experience, XenDesktop 5 comes right on the heels of the latest feature release of the XenDesktop 4 line, which was the release of the client-side hypervisor product, XenClient.

Although virtualization technologies have been a great help to data center managers looking to reclaim power in an overburdened environment, virtualization can also create problems. As IT organizations complete their server virtualization initiatives and as their virtualization management skills mature, use of the physical server power management features and dynamic workload shifting capabilities will increase. This, coupled with increased adoption of server hosted desktop virtualization, will create new opportunities for improving the efficiency of data center power and cooling systems, as well as new challenges for keeping up with increasing demand.