I’m working with a desktop virtualisation start-up to try and help position its nicely shrink-wrapped offering to highly mobile users such as students and salespeople. One of the problems we are facing is knowing which applications users want to use (it’s not as simple as it sounds) and when they want them.
You would have thought it would be easy enough to pinpoint a need for a word processor, spreadsheet and maybe even a music application. But it’s not.
At a higher level, it appears that organisations looking to deploy desktop virtualisation solutions are having the same problem because application delivery strategies have to be based on a combination of cost, latency and user experience.
Enter the concept of ‘virtual arbitrage’, which we will define as the science of understanding how to balance the delivery cost and consolidation opportunities for applications and services in order to meet user requirements.
In this brokerage trade off between different application delivery streams we consider the option to sit some of the application on a local hard drive (or even a USB key), or to host it all in the cloud – but of course it’s not up in the clouds at all, it’s right down to earth on a server farm, but you get the gist I hope.
Now I didn’t come up with this concept out of thin air, I was reading a ZDNetUK story about the Centrix WorkSpace Discovery tool and thought I could draw a few parallels here.
Centrix positions its free tool as a means for organisations to audit their enterprise desktop environments and examine applications to see how they are being used to evaluate whether they are good candidates for virtualisation.
What I’m interested in now is whether this tool will scale and allow my pals over at cnap.me (the start up) to analyse potential application scenarios for virtualisation.
Giving Centrix its due (as the arbitrage concept is their idea not mine) let’s get the company line in here, “Building the business case for investment [in desktop virtualisation] has been more difficult than server virtualisation. WorkSpace Discovery solves this problem, giving organisations a complete picture of what is installed on their end-user machines, but more importantly, how applications are being used. With this critical data, desktop virtualisation projects can be scoped to meet the requirements of all an organisation’s end-users, driving faster adoption and more successful implementations,” said Lisa Hammond, CEO at Centrix Software.
Desktop virtualisation still has some mountains to climb that’s for sure. What I’d like to do here is suggest that it may develop at more than one level now. The enterprise level that Centrix will work with and the individual end-user that cnap.me is initially targeting.
Google “desktop virtualisation challenges” and you’ll get meaty content like this ZDNet white paper entitled Desktop Virtualisation: A Solution to the IT Challenges Facing the Healthcare Sector which is great. But it’s still macro-economic and enterprise focused. Perhaps end users hold more insight into the way desktop virtualisation should be approached and we should start our analysis at ground level first?