What is Desktop Virtualisation?
A virtual desktop environment is a system whereby rather than a user being to access their normal (computer) environment from their PC, it is accessed via the Internet using outside and separate resources. This means that when users work from remotely, their programmes, applications, processes and data will not be held locally (upon their PC) but centrally on servers and storage that might be located anywhere across the globe.
This essentially means that the software is physically separated from the PC (desktop). So, in summary what this means is that in such an environment, what you think you see on your screen is actually located on another server.
Desktop virtualisation allows users to access their desktops on any suitable device, such as their personal computers, smartphones, laptops, or even thin clients.
Who are the key vendors?
There are many. Desktop virtualization software is provided by established vendors such as Microsoft, Citrix and VMware, as well as quite a few start-ups such as Virtual Computer. PC blades and Thin Computing, which are often twinned with virtualization software, are sold by numerous hardware vendors such as HP, IBM, Dell, Wyse, ClearCube and Sun.
The Future of Desktop Virtualisation
The old remote desktop session through VPNs, remote access software etc is simply not enough anymore with organizations and users now demanding an advanced form of remote access that has more of a local desktop like experience.
Many companies already recognise that desktop virtualisation is all about applications and personalisation both of which are a result of what the user is and what they do.
Desktop virtualisation technology has become more sophisticated and the market for this type of technology is rapidly growing. As a result, this is an area of IT that is set to expand and increase over the coming years. There are now a number of desktop virtualisation products that are able meet the needs of not only large corporations where it was originally of major benefit, but smaller companies as well, as they can reduce their costs by operating in a 'virtual environment'.
In fact, the concept of Virtualisation has been around since the 1960s when mainframes (computers) were the most common way of processing data. In the 1960s the idea came about that it would be useful to share the processing power of a number of mainframes or large computers in order to share their combined computing power. This meant that costs could be reduced as mainframes could cost multiples of millions of pounds. Furthermore, these computers needed special environments to be able to work properly as well as large amounts of space because the machines were so large.
Gartner predict that the Virtual Desktop Market will to surpass $65 Billion in 2013. This fact alone validates to a large extent the market investment into new and growing technologies around this arena and for potential users to investigate the potential benefits.
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