It all starts with the end users and these days they have very high expectations. These expectations have been set by the cloud services they use in their private time. They have a plethora of devices to choose from, a multitude of sharing services and collaboration platforms they can use free of charge. They bring that expectation to the enterprise. The key is to have productive end users by giving them access to all these tools in a transparent, but secure way. Consumer simple, Enterprise secure.
Desktop virtualisation is a solution for legacy environments, but vital in helping organisations migrate to a digital workspace. Legacy applications, such as Win32 and browser-specific Web applications, will slow such initiatives to digital workspace, but transition-enabling technologies are there to help. To that end on-premises deployment of desktop virtualisation technologies is will increase in the next 5 years and probably decrease afterwards as applications evolve with built-in security and endpoint platform independence. Another observation is that organisations are shifting the burden of maintaining significant desktop virtualisation infrastructure from on-premises deployments to the cloud.
- Use existing desktop virtualisation technologies as a solution to more flexible delivery of applications.
- Use the six types of desktop virtualisation (VDI, SBC, Application Virtualisation, User Environment Managent, Client side Virtual Desktop, Workspace Management) to sustain manageability and reduce endpoint or platform dependence.
- Plan for an initial increase in cost for the adoption of on-premises desktop virtualisation technologies to provide application access to a wider variety of endpoints.
- Complement on-premises desktop virtualisation with new sourcing strategies and architectures that support flexible, endpoint-neutral and highly available business user services.
- Accommodate new operating-expenditure-centric service models, such as hybrid and cloud based desktop-as-a-service models, as viable use cases expand.
Desktop Virtualisation Technologies
Desktop virtualisation is essentially the abstraction of the fundamental layers of desktop computing — the hardware, OS, applications, data and user environment (settings and configurations specific to a user) to create new ways of delivering and managing the user workspace. Different technologies address different layers — for example, application virtualisation separates applications and the OS. The virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can address all layers above the hardware-OS border. You can consider six technology categories to be part of desktop virtualisation:
- Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
- Server Based Computing (SBC)
- Application Virtualisation
- User Environment Management (UEM)
- Client side Virtual Desktop
- Workspace & Identity Management
- VMware Horizon 7
- VMware Horizon 7 with Remote Desktop Services
- VMware AppVolumes
- VMware User Environment Manager
- VMware Horizon FLEX
- VMware Workspace & Identity Manager
VMware Horizon 7
VMware Horizon 7 allows IT to deliver virtual or RDSH hosted desktops and applications through a single platform. They are run either in on premise datacenters or hosted as a cloud services.
VMware App Volumes supports real-time application delivery to virtualized desktop environments. With Horizon 7 and App Volumes, IT can build a real-time application delivery system that ensures all applications are centrally managed. Applications are delivered to virtual desktops through VMDK virtual disks, without modifying the VM or applications themselves and can be scaled out to virtual desktops with superior performance, at lower costs and without compromising end-user experience.
VMware User Environment Manager
VMware User Environment Manager offers personalization and dynamic policy configuration across any virtual, physical and cloud-based environment. User Environment Manager can simplify end-user profile management by providing organizations with a single and scalable solution that leverages existing infrastructure. IT can simply map infrastructure (including networks and printer mappings) and dynamically set policies for end users to securely support more use cases. With this solution, end users can also enjoy quick access to their Windows workspace and applications, with a personalized and consistent experience across devices and locations.
VMware Horizon FLEX
VMware Horizon FLEX is a complimentary solution to the Horizon portfolio with the key feature being that the data is stored locally allowing end-users to work offline or on the road. It is a bundled offering that includes a FLEX policy server, FLEX clients (Fusion Pro for Macs and Player Pro for PCs) and image management capabilities. Common use cases for Horizon FLEX include bring your own (BYO) PCs, disconnected workers where VDI is not a viable option, temporary workers or contractors, development and training environments and regional offices.
VMware Workspace & Identity Manager
VMware Identity Manager is an Identity as a Service (IDaaS) offering, providing application provisioning, self-service catalog, conditional access controls and Single Sign-On (SSO) for SaaS, web, cloud and native mobile applications. It supports access to applications and desktops running Microsoft Windows Remote Desktop Services, XenApp 5.0 and later, ThinApp, SaaS, and virtual desktops with Horizon View. The unified workspace also provides IT with a central point of control on the back end to manage reporting, policy access, and delivery.
Comparison of Technologies
|Solution||Primary location||Primary Use||Offline||accessibility – ease of use – performance||security – data protection|
|VMware Horizon 7||Datacenter or cloud hosted VM’s, accessed remotely||Windows desktop delivery||No||Accessed remotely, very good performance on LAN||Very secure, centrally hosted individual desktops, no data on end point|
|VMware Horizon 7 with Remote Desktop Services||Datacenter or cloud hosted VM’s, accessed remotely||Hosted enterprise application delivery||No||Accessed remotely, very good performance on LAN, but||Shared OS environment|
|VMware AppVolumes||Run on top of OS, centrally managed||Application management and optimisation||Yes||Can be used locally or remotely|
|VMware User Environment Manager||Run on top of OS, centrally managed||Management of user settings for OS, applications and data||Yes||Focuses on optimizing a user- centric experience across platforms|
|VMware Horizon FLEX||Locally run, centrally managed||Bring your own PC (BYOPC), offline temporary workspace||Yes||Requires powerful endpoint device (PC or Mac)||Very secure corporate managed & encrypted end point hosted VM|
|VMware Workspace ONE & Identity Manager||Datacenter or cloud hosted service, accessed remotely||Management of a secure, hybrid workspace||No||Online portal to access all above technologies/solutions|
Future of Desktop Virtualisation
Desktop virtualisation is primarily focused on enabling the delivery of legacy, Microsoft dependent applications and workspaces, so the evolution of Microsoft will have a great impact on the evolution of desktop virtualisation technology. We have seen how declining Win32 applications create short-term opportunities for some of the technologies; however, in the long term, the journey of Microsoft to the cloud and its unified app approach will create new opportunities and management challenges.