VDI, the Cloud and Mobility: Underpinnings of the New Data Universe

Arthur Cole

Every once in a while, disparate lines of technology will come together to form an entirely new way of utilizing digital data. These symbiotic relationships not only foster new industries, but allow existing ones to achieve higher levels of efficiency and productivity.

We're seeing something along those lines right now with the three-way mashup between the cloud, virtual desktop infrastructure and mobile computing. What were considered distinct cottage industries only a few years ago have now come together to radically remake enterprise data environments in a profound way.

A new report from Visiongain lays out a number of ways that mobility and cloud-based VDI are changing the way we work and play. Combined, these developments are putting pressure on enterprises to scale back their traditional desktop architectures while at the same time providing a personalized IT experience for users across a wide range of client devices. In the end, organizations are looking at advanced data environments that are both more productive and are less costly to build and maintain. It's the main reason why cloud-based VDI and desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) markets are on track to hit $11.2 billion this year.

According to NaviSite CTO David Grimes, it's getting hard to imagine mobile computing without a VDI component. Enterprises were already struggling with deployment costs, security issues, support and other factors when rolling out traditional VDI solutions and mobile platforms. In the cloud, however, desktop images are eminently more flexible, allowing users to call up a personalized interface no matter where they are, and then access data from a variety of on-line sources. Essentially, this provides a high degree of business continuity that extends right down to the employee level.

It's no surprise, then, that we're seeing new partnerships emerge between VDI developers and IT outsourcing firms. A key example is CompuCom and Virtual Bridges, which have teamed up on a new DaaS platform that aims to reduce deployment and management costs even further through advanced automation and security tools. The system provides a centrally managed desktop service environment that can be installed on premise or as a hosted solution, providing a common user interface across mobile devices, thin clients, laptops or traditional desktops.

A crucial component in this new relationship is the ability to effectively deliver business applications across stationary and mobile devices. A company called nGenx is focusing on this particular aspect with the nFinity Advanced Desktop, a DaaS platform that uses Citrix and Microsoft technologies to foster cloud-based application delivery for third-party software developers. The idea is to help them transition customers to cloud operations quickly and easily with tools like Web-based, single-pane provisioning that provides a common user interface for iPhone, iPad, Windows, Android and Mac environments. At the same time, if provides centralized management and SAS 70, Type II and SSAE 16 security.

For good or for ill, the combination of DaaS and mobility is poised to push knowledge workers even further from the underlying infrastructure that carries their data. With resources like processing and storage already sitting on the virtual layer and applications and data migrating to the cloud, the user interface was the last element tied to a particular piece of hardware. Once it becomes a fungible asset in the dynamic data universe, users will truly find themselves within reach of their digital selves no matter where they are or what device they're using.

Welcome to the brave new world.



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