Putting a Personal Touch on Desktop Virtualization


One of the issues that divides IT organizations and the people they serve is to what degree end users should be able to personalize their desktop computing environment.

Obviously, IT organizations want to keep support costs to a minimum by maintaining as much uniformity as possible. End users, on the other hand, want to emphasize the personal part of the computing experience.

IT organizations today are being more aggressive about costs than ever by moving to adopt virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions as an alternative to terminal services. In either scenario, IT organizations are trying to reduce support costs by centralizing more desktop computing environments around the server, rather than relying on each client system.

Fortunately, there does appear now to be a way to have one's cake and eat it too. AppSense has developed a set of tools that allows IT organizations to abstract the personal settings and user data for each virtual desktop attached to a VDI implementation from either VMware or Citrix. That means that end users, to the degree that the IT department allows, can still customize their desktop application environments without necessarily running afoul of the IT department's need to centralize operations in order to cut costs.


AppSense, at a cost of about $40 per user, essentially allows IT organizations to overcome one of the primary sources of resistance that end users have about any desktop virtualization solution. The only real question remaining is whether the organization wants to make the initial upfront investment required to adopt VDI, or whether this is something that no matter what the total cost savings, still represents emerging technology whose time has not yet come.