Windows 7 could provide the catalyst for a wave of virtualization at the desktop level. Computerworld's Virtualization Guide Part 4 covers the pros and cons, and looks at which vendors and products you should choose.
Interoperability with existing systems can be a major virtual desktop ‘gotcha’, so ensure any new desktop virtualization solution works with your existing set of applications, advises Citrix Systems’ Asia Pacific products partners and alliance vice president, Nabeel Youakim.
No matter how good a desktop virtualization solution, the project will fail if end users are not happy about performance. End user acceptance is vital. “Work with your virtual desktop partners to examine all possible scenarios of applications and different media to make sure the end user experience of a virtual desktop will be close to, if not as good as, the experience of a local PC,” Youkim says.
Vendor lock-in, another major gotcha, can be addressed through sourcing a virtual desktop platform that will support the three main hypervisors: VMWare, Hyper-V and XenDesktop. That way, you’ll have the choice to choose the hypervisior that suits your needs.
Cost can also be an issue, depending on the type of virtual desktop environment rolled out. In some instances licensing, hardware and support costs can increase if the wrong virtual desktop approach is taken, Microsoft’s Goldie says.
Support and complexity can also be an issue if legacy PC and operating systems remain and those PCs are used to access virtual desktop applications and operating systems; in effect, the organisation is supporting two desktop operating systems for each user in the company.
“Replacing all of the legacy PCs with thin systems is an option, but they are not that much cheaper than PCs, have limited support for multiple monitors and it leaves no offline capabilities for the users,” Goldie says.
“Ensure your desktops are well managed, before implementing desktop virtualization: If you virtualise a thousand poorly managed desktops, you’ll end up with a 1000 poorly managed virtual desktops.”