Citrix presented an interesting experimental program at its analyst bash a number of months ago (see Mark Templeton shares his vision at Citrix event) in which Citrix employees would be allowed to purchase their own laptop computers rather than being forced to work with a system supplied by the company. Paul Martine, Citrix's CIO and Corporate V.P. of Operations, stopped by to let me know how the program was going. In a word, "fantastic" is the description.
The Corporate Laptop
Often the people highest up in the food chain would have the newest, fastest, most heavily configured systems. The staff members having the greatest needs for performance were often left using "hand me down systems."
Furthermore, the systems (with the exception of those purchased by executives) were selected to be the lowest cost system capable of meeting the requirements of an average staff member.
Enter desktop virtualization
Citrix is one of the few companies that has a complete set of products that offers "application delivery." The company offers a complete portfolio of products that provide access virtualization, application virtualization, processing virtualization, security in a virtualized environment and complete lifecycle management capabilities for all of the components of a virtualized client environment.
Delivering a standard environment to a diverse world
It appears that someone over at Citrix came to conclusion what was most important was to project a critical application environment (key applications, security, data management and the like) to just about any reasonable laptop configuration and allow staff members to make their own choice of the "player" for that environment. The data and the applications could easily be installed, updated, and made secure by Citrix's own tools.
Windows systems (XP and Vista), MacBooks and (if I remember correctly) Linux systems could all play.
The program has been a great success.
Some organizations that have come to understand that thin client-based computing environments, based both on presentation services or VDI) best serve the needs of one population of their staff members. Streaming or loading encapsulated applications onto a staff member's system is the best way to deal with another group. Running multiple application environments on a single machine is the best way to deal with the needs of another group. Furthermore, these organizations learned that staff members move from group to group during any given day.
Someone may start the day by drinking a cup of coffee and access corporate Email or a corporate application while sitting in their pajamas either at home or at a hotel. Later on that same day, they may access the same resources from a colleague's system at a remote office. Still later, that same person might need to access some or all of that environment while on the run at an airport.
The only way this can work is if the organization has taken steps to centralize the management and delivery of all of the components of a desktop environment. This means adopting access virtualization, application virtualization, processing virtualization, management and security software.
What has your organization done in this area?