SMBs generally have been slower than enterprise companies when it comes to adopting virtualization, usually due to barriers relating to costs or technical complexity. With virtualization squarely in the mainstream, small and medium businesses are fortunately much more aware of its advantages now.
One facet of virtualization that is quickly gaining popularity is desktop virtualization, also known as thin computing or virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). In a nutshell, desktop virtualization involves running virtual machine instances on servers while frontend appliances or client software displays the screen output and facilitates end-user interaction.
Where the return on investments for server virtualization is tied to the number of physical servers replaced, the benefits of thin computing are related to the workstation count. As such, the advantages of desktop virtualization scale more linearly, and are applicable to all - even the smallest SMBs.
With SMB Week coming up next week (May 23-25), Jeff Groudan, director of Thin Clients & Client Virtualization at Hewlett Packard, took the time to highlight to SMB blog readers some scenarios where the use of thin computing can be beneficial.
Virtualization helps save money
The savings associated with virtualization make it one of the key appeals. SMBs implementing desktop virtualization can similarly expect increased energy efficiency, reduced labor, and lowered hardware and software costs.
For the handling of sensitive, regulated or mission-critical data
Groudan points out that 27 percent of all U.S. data breaches involve stolen PCs and laptops. With desktop virtualization, the data is stored on the server to begin with, which goes a long way to ensure that such confidential information is not compromised.
To cope with rapid expansion of business
Desktop virtualization allows companies to quickly add new users as the business expands. The requisite system images have already been created and can be quickly activated from a central repository. This is more convenient than manually configuring each new batch of workstations as they are acquired.
Where there are a high number of contractors or mobile workers
Companies with a substantial number of mobile workers will find mobile thin clients are easier to provision and cheaper to replace than laptops, Groudan says. I'm not so sure mobile thin clients are sufficiently mature for deployment by SMBs at this stage, though.
Has your SMB implemented desktop virtualization or are you considering it? Do share your experiences with us here.