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The Rise of Device Independent Mobility

Michael Vizard

Many IT organizations think that managing mobile computing is already challenging enough. But with virtualization and cloud computing, it's becoming apparent that the complexity of managing mobile computing is just beginning.

Rather than having end users with one or two mobile computing devices, we're about to see end users trying to access data across a whole range of devices that will vary based on location and whim of the moment.

According to Dave Buchholz, a principal engineer at Intel, his company has been studying this challenge with an eye toward making it easier to manage 'disconnected cache modes' on various devices. The basic idea is that there should be more intelligence on both the client and the server that will keep track of the relationships between virtual machines on both ends of the network once virtualization takes hold on the client.

Today, Type 2 hypervisors that allow virtual machines to run on top of an operating system are the dominant approach to virtualization. But Buchholz says that in the not too distant future we'll see a lot more adoption of Type 1 hypervisors on the client, where the virtual machine software is much closer to the hardware. This will enable more devices to be treated as essentially dynamically replaceable components on the network.

IT organizations will then have to concentrate on managing all the virtual machines moving across the network, versus the actual physical device that the virtual machine is running on. For all intents and purposes, the physical device on the client side is going to be seen by the internal IT department as something akin to disposable as part of the general shift toward the consumerization of IT.

Buchholz outlines how all this will come to pass in an Enabling Device Independent Mobility white paper on the need for dynamic virtual client (DVC) technology. It may take a little while for this vision of the future of mobility in the enterprise to evolve, but given the cost pressures associated with managing mobility, there's no doubt that the motivation to change the way we think about managing mobility is already there.


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