Feeds

Desktop virtualization stirs interest

Workshop feedback

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

This week we have taken a look at how desktop virtualization solutions are being used and their potential for future deployments. Your comments on the topic are extensive, full of practical experience and, on the whole, fairly positive.

But before rushing in to consider the feedback in depth, Camilla Smythe did make a fair point when stating "First off Define Desktop Virtualization". This is indeed a challenge with many vendors all leaping on the terminology but using it in association with a wide range of technically different solution architectures.

For the purposes of discussion here, we will consider two broad categories:

  • Client partitioning, in which multiple virtual machines are executed locally on a single client PC
  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), in which, through whatever mechanism, the desktop software is managed and/or executed centrally via your server infrastructure.

Starting with client partitioning, your feedback goes some way to validating some of the claims made by vendors in terms of where desktop virtualization has already garnered some success. In brief, these are summarised by one anonymous reader as:

Having multiple development configurations that I can snapshot & roll back without having to uninstall & reinstall various bits of software / versions all the time.
Having a reference baseline build that I can quickly replicate to build new clean development instances without starting from scratch each time. Just by copying a few files.
Running a corporate standard desktop on a non-standard laptop build - ie running XP on Linux
Having a throw-away windows sandbox machine that can be used for dodgy software / media downloads and then totally erased from disk after to eliminate viruses etc.

But perhaps the advantage that came through most strongly was in terms of 'flexibility' to run software on whatever physical platform may be wanted. For example, TheBloke mentioned it being possible to employ "Linux as the host OS while allowing me to continue to use the Windows apps I want - Microsoft Office, Toad for Oracle, Photoshop and more. Plus it allows me to use all those USB peripherals I have that don't work properly under Linux. My mobile phone, for example." He then made the valid point that "Having lots of RAM is important of course".

In terms of context, the relevance of desktop virtualization in the form of client partitioning in the development organization was pointed out by several readers. Mountford D said "As it is, I have just one PC and simply boot into whichever VM in whatever configuration I need. Brilliant stuff." Dave 129 added: "Anyone that has to do testing and validation of multiple browsers, VMs are about the only reliable solution." I am not sure that this is entirely accurate, but it is a well made point of use.

Moving on to VDI, one of the first benefits highlighted was the potential for increasing the levels of security that can be achieved, especially with regard to the data that can be found on most laptop machines. John Chadwick's line of reasoning around data governance will ring some bells, for example. His statement of "[use] thin client to know where your data is" reinforces one of the benefits that have been proffered for desktop virtualization solutions over much of the past decade by organizations such as Citrix among others.

Juillien went further, combining security and ongoing support together: "Nothing should really be written to local hard disk for users and profiles should be network based. With all this in place, upgrading a machine to a new version should be near as simple as copying the image to the machine and off you go. It gets round a myriad driver updates issues for diverse machines (as long as they run the hypervisor), and any 'machine corruption' is a case of drop a fresh image in, and all's good."

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Next page: In car VDI

More from The Register

next story
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...
Why HELLO Amazon! You weren't here last time
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!
The clock is ticking louder for Windows Server 2003 R2 users
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
OpenBSD founder wants to bin buggy OpenSSL library, launches fork
One Heartbleed vuln was too many for Theo de Raadt
Got Windows 8.1 Update yet? Get ready for YET ANOTHER ONE – rumor
Leaker claims big release due this fall as Microsoft herds us into the CLOUD
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
Apple inaugurates free OS X beta program for world+dog
Prerelease software now open to anyone, not just developers – as long as you keep quiet
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.