As attractive as desktop virtualizationmay be in terms of centralizing the management of client systems of all stripes and colors, the thing chief technologists should really be thinking about for the long term is how they will manage virtual desktops on a regular basis.
To that end, RES Software, a company based in the Netherlands, has developed what it calls user workspace management technology for use with virtual machines from VMware, Microsoft and Citrix. The company this week just opened its first office in the U.S. after selling this product to customers in Europe that have been dealing with the complexity of a highly mobile workforce for years.
What makes Res especially relevant in these times is that it has developed a data governance model that is coupled to a dynamic approach for managing virtual desktops. The RES system automatically recognizes what type of devices an end user is working on and automatically sends them a version of their virtual desktop that is optimized for that device, whether it's a desktop, netbook or smartphone.
The system is able to do this by centrally keeping track of each user's desktop configuration and then dynamically composing that environment at launch, said Jim Kirby, president of the Americas for Res Software. Each client system has a set of rules that are cached locally that signal what type of device they are and which user is on it back to the Res Software server, he said. IT organizations can then also use context, such as the time of day or country, to determine what version of virtual desktop they should display, he added.
The second part of the Res equation goes directly to data management and governance. Instead of having to acquire, deploy and manage a separate system, Res comes with a policy engine that allows IT organizations to manage who can see what data on what type of virtual device.
As we move towards the world of desktop virtualization, it's pretty clear we're going to be dealing with a lot of diversity on the desktop. Unfortunately, diversity is also a euphemism for complexity. What IT organizations need to think about today is how they are going to manage that complexity in a way that puts the onus for solving the problem on the technology rather than the backs of the IT staff.