Desktop virtualisation software allows multiple centrally administered independent operating environments to be established on one device. Each virtual environment is separate and can be configured to different access and security profiles work and personal for example. Virtual environments offer the promise of a practical compromise between control and user flexibility, while also providing more efficient centralised provisioning of standard software images and reduced storage costs.
Desktop virtualisation is a hot area of innovation for both tech startups and the major software vendors. Some of the leading products include Atlantis Computings Virtual Desktop, Citrixs XenDesktop, Innoteks VirtualBox (recently acquired by Sun Microsystems), Microsofts Virtual PC, MokaFives LivePC, Parallels Desktop Virtualisation solutions and VMWares ACE. Microsoft is also developing a new product within its Desktop Optimization Pack called Enterprise Desktop Virtualization. This new product will be based on its acquisition of Kidaro and is scheduled for release in 2009.
CIOs face inexorable pressures to strengthen their control over their organisations ICT resources in response to security threats, compliance requirements and to reduce operating costs. But we urge them not to throw the baby out with the bathwater; not to stifle user productivity and innovation in the pursuit of IT hygiene and efficiency. Desktop virtualisation will come of age in 2008/09 and should be evaluated as a core element of any desktop strategy.
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