The corporate desktop continues to be something of an issue for CIOs. It undoubtedly provides a platform of unparalleled flexibility, but it also serves as a significant drain on scarce IT resources.
As the desktop continues to undergo significant change, the challenge for IT management is to maximize the business value of its flexibility by ensuring desktops are provisioned, deployed, managed and maintained as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Client virtualization and desktop as a service are emerging from the shadow of server-side virtualization to bring about a transformation in the desktop landscape. Much of the recent debate regarding desktop transformation has been around the question of which approach is best. But that debate is not over a particular technology-be it terminal services, virtualization or streaming; it's about finding the best approach for meeting the most common business requirements. In the end, many organizations will use a mixture of approaches.
The use of new methods for desktop provisioning also introduces new challenges for IT-such as reducing the complexity of managing multiple end-user environments and handling the cultural ramifications of introducing new technology. Management needs to mitigate the business risks when deploying these new technologies and delivery mechanisms.
Despite the challenges of transforming the desktop estate, there are also opportunities for IT management to improve both the user experience and cost of ownership. For example, better image management represents a significant business benefit to organizations in terms of reduced costs, increased service availability, and improved performance.
Perhaps the most important benefit is being able to move from a device-centric to a user-centric approach, providing the flexibility to make the desktop available on any device, at any time, and from any location.
Roy Illsley is principal analyst at Ovum, with over 23 years of experience in IT, and an expert on virtualization and infrastructure management.
Read more about desktop virtualization in CIO's Desktop Virtualization Drilldown.
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