What is Desktop Virtualization?

desktop virtualizationImagine being able to access your programs and files, regardless of where you’re working and regardless of device. This is the new reality of many offices today, and it’s known as virtualization.

What is virtualization?

In simplest terms, desktop virtualization is the separation of the desktop environment and related software applications from the physical equipment used to access them. Where once a business utilized individual workstations for its employees and installed software on each one, it is now an established practice to eliminate individual workstations. Companies can now make the software available virtually via a server, allowing access to the software with a unique login for each employee. Employees can log in anywhere, anytime, from any device, to see their desktop.

There are a number of distinct advantages to desktop virtualization:

  1. Simple duplication of workstations – Once a virtualized workstation has been created, including operating system, applications, and security configurations, it can be used as a template to reproduce workstations as needed, quickly and easily.
  2. Increased productivity – The ease with which workstation templates can be put into service means that users can begin to use their workstations immediately, instead of waiting for IT to build a computer, install software, and set up security measures. 
  3. Ease in updating software – While some software suites auto-update, others need to be manually triggered in order to stay current. With all software loaded onto a central server, users all receive software updates in a timely manner. 
  4. Standardized security – Security updates happen frequently, and keeping individual workstations current can be time-consuming. In a virtualized environment, all security is standardized and any updates or patches take immediate effect across all workstations. 
  5. Data security – Because virtualized workstations are hosted on a central server, no data is stored on the individual workstation. In the event a laptop, tablet, or smartphone is lost or stolen, the data remains secure because it resides on the server and not the device. 
  6. Ease in access – Virtualized workstations can be accessed from any device and any location via the user’s unique login. This means users can work from home, in the office, or even on vacation and have complete access to their information at any time. Because virtualized workstations are isolated from the hard drives of the device used to access them, data remains secure and employees remain productive.
  7. Uninterrupted productivity – In a terminal server environment, users log into “sessions,” and while each session is different for each user, each session affects the performance of all other sessions. . If one session crashes and requires the terminal server to restart, all sessions/users are down. Virtual desktops eliminate this issue. Because virtual desktops are isolated from each other, if one crashes or gets infected, it does not affect other users.

Virtual desktops offer businesses a way to control costs as well as allowing employees a way to be productive regardless of their location. Additionally, standardized software and security enables IT departments to protect data and the network. If your business isn’t utilizing a virtualized environment, consider the impact such a system would have on your productivity as well as your operating budget. If you’d like to know more, contact me to discuss the options available to you.

Do you operate in a virtualized environment? How has it changed your business?