The Appetite For Virtualization In The Real World

It’s a rare opportunity when you get to hear such a great panel of participants of chief technology officers and strategy officers talk about security for virtualized environments. However, you can click on the replay from the Citrix sponsored “Geek Speak Virtual: The Experts [Uncensored] – Virtual Security in the Real World”. Our own Candace Worley joined this roundtable giving insight into the current reality and where security needs to alter as virtualization continues to be deployed and considered.

90% of enterprises are earnestly considering client virtualization, most of them within the next 12 to 24 months, according to a CDW survey reported by Network Computing. But this survey also points out that 61% have an expectation that client virtualization will decrease IT costs. When I’ve talked to customers and partners about the return on investment and cost models there is no one way to measure or state benefits at this point in time. It’s a scalability issue for the most part, I believe most organizations can identify discrete workgroups that can benefit from a form of virtual desktop or even full client virtualization with vdi. The additional cost of introducing another way of offering IT to the end-user that is different from their current model, in addition to the infrastructure expenses for the small pilots or deployments is challenging. But this is not just about technology and determining cost savings it’s also about changing or transforming almost every function in IT and that requires caution. In a few situations I’ve seen traditional endpoint administrators not even aware of a virtualization project underway in their organizations. This behind closed doors evaluation and calculations can be detrimental.

I like the outcome and approach from another panel of experts meeting on VDI, and summarized by David Vellant on a Wikibon entry (registration required), “in order to become more of a strategic initiative, the notion of virtual desktop needs to evolve from a device-centric mentality to a data- and application-centric view”. When this happens return on investment measures can include estimated increase in end-user productivity, or stronger business continuity controls, increased compliance with decreased liability and improved security and better business applications. Since ‘app’ was declared the word of the year for 2010 there might be something to this concept.

-Kim Singletary

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