Client-side virtualisation episode II


Consolidation is the major benefit or “killer app” for server/data center virtualisation. Standardisation is the major benefit or “killer app” for client-side virtualisation.

As I was pondering the challenges of current systems management processes, researching the latest and greatest from the client-side virtualisation vendors, and talking to a lot of large organisations I was trying to find that one thing that explained the operational benefits of client-side virtualisation. There is more than one, but it really does come down to standardisation, allow me to explain…

Computing environments have changed radically over the years, from static, tethered devices that only required minimal protection and maintenance to highly distributed computing environments with a large population of remote, intermittently connected computing devices accessing not only centrally managed resources but also 3rd party applications and resources, all under constant threat from increasingly hostile actors.

I discuss this evolution in IT environments in some detail in an earlier blog post “How Cloud, Virtualisation, and Mobile Computing Impact Endpoint Management in the Enterprise

“IT Enterprise Architecture Circa: 2012 – Organisations must manage and secure a large, complex, and globally distributed, remote, and mobile computing environment all accessing corporate assets housed within the corporate network as well as corporate assets/resources housed and maintained in a 3rd party service providers infrastructure”

Gartner publishes TCO research for PCs, in which they find that locked down and well-managed PCs can cost up to 42% less than unmanaged systems. They also found that “somewhat managed” and mismanaged PC’s were only slightly less costly than unmanaged PCs due to the cost incurred from the management systems themselves.

Why is systems and security management of client computing environments so difficult and costly?

The answer is simple; there is no real standardisation. The problem is that IT has not been able to maintain a common operating environment (COE) that enables them to effectively manage and secure their user population. For every application deployment or upgrade, for every patch release, AV data file update or system modification, for every downloaded widget and system reboot, there is some segment of the population that experiences downtime, conflict or other technical issue resulting from variability within their computing environment.