Why Do We Need Intelligent Desktop Virtualization?

For nearly two decades, traditional desktop management has been business as usual. But today’s IT environment is anything but usual. Powerful forces are driving rapid change, including the rise of consumerization, cloud computing applications and server virtualization. Users want to work using any device from any location, and the concept of “bring your own IT” makes it possible to readily access cloud services, regardless of IT approval. Despite many advances, such as classic virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and desktop virtualization, traditional desktop management is poised for change.

Intel’s vision is an evolutionary framework — called Intelligent Desktop Virtualization, or IDV — in which the overall system of managing user computing is made significantly more intelligent. IDV maximizes the user experience while also giving IT professionals the control they need — all within an economically viable framework.

Three Tenets of Intelligent Desktop Virtualization
There are three key tenets that distinguish IDV from desktop virtualization: managing centrally with local execution, delivering layered images intelligently and using device-native management.

Each tenet is considered to be central to IDV, whereas the concepts are usually considered to be peripheral in desktop virtualization. The three tenets represent a progression. If IT departments embrace the first tenet, it will be critically beneficial for them to proceed to the second tenet. If the first two tenets are fully adopted, the third tenet will be considered essential.

By evaluating desktop virtualization solutions according to these tenets, IT can implement a desktop management infrastructure that meets the needs of both users and IT, making IDV a solution that is truly without compromise.

Tenet No. 1: Manage Centrally With Local Execution
The first tenet of IDV is essentially a division of labor that delivers the benefits of both central management and local execution. IT retains full control over operating system and application updates by managing a golden, or master, image from the data center and relies on the local compute resources of the endpoint PC to deliver a rich user experience. With the first tenet,

IT can:

  • Improve manageability and security by controlling operating system and application updates
  • Provide the best possible user experience — and better economics — with local compute resources
  • Optimize data center resource usage

Tenet No. 2: Deliver Layered Images Intelligently
The second tenet of IDV is based on two concepts: creating layered images to allow for user customization and simplified management of the golden image, and using bidirectional synchronization with de-duplication (also known as single-instance storage) for intelligent delivery.

By dividing the traditional desktop image into layers — instead of managing it as a single entity — and using bidirectional synchronization, IT can gain the flexibility to:

  • Enhance central management
  • Deliver the appropriate layers transparently to user-chosen computing platforms
  • Use bidirectional synchronization and de-duplication for intelligent delivery and storage

Tenet No. 3: Use Device-native Management
The third tenet of IDV is based on the assertion that both virtual and physical device management are required for a complete IDV solution. To fully manage user computing, endpoint devices require physical management. With the third tenet, IT can:

  • Supplement central management capabilities for operational excellence
  • Leverage hardware resources independent of the operating system to ensure a robust computing platform and gain unparalleled flexibility

The Role of Intelligent Clients
In addition to employing the three tenets, IT must find the right balance between the data center and desktops to create an infrastructure that meets unique organizational needs. By using intelligent clients, IT can achieve balanced computing with IDV.

Intelligent endpoints offer the processing power, security and management features that complement central management — all without placing additional strain on the data center.

Intelligent clients offer a range of native management options, including support for multiple desktop virtualization models, as well as mobile computing, compute-intensive applications, rich media, offline work and local peripherals.

By design, intelligent client computing helps IT avoid expensive data center expansion and maximizes total cost of ownership.

Take the Next Steps to Full-scale IDV
As you move toward a full-scale IDV solution, remember: One size does not fit all. Most companies need more than one delivery model based on unique business requirements.

For organizations still in the planning stage:

  • Thoroughly investigate all models of desktop management.
  • Evaluate solutions according to the three tenets and ask potential vendors about their support for each.
  • Investigate options for intelligent clients to deliver the best user experience and the most effective management and security measures.

For organizations that have already implemented virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI):

  • Take the remaining steps toward a full-scale IDV solution.
  • Off-load processing to the local client (e.g., redirect multimedia tendering to intelligent clients) to further improve virtual machine density and boost VDI economics.

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by The editors of Intelligence in Software