Time to Make a Strategic IT Withdrawal

Slide Show

When Is It Right for a Business to Consider Desktop Virtualization?

Tips for determining whether desktop virtualization is right for your business.

Once upon a time, IT organizations tried to keep chaos at bay by standardizing on one operating system on the client side. Back in the good-old days, there was generally one release of Windows XP that they had to worry about. But over time, we not only witnessed the advent of different service packs for Windows XP that have slightly different characteristics, we saw the rise of Windows 7 and a host of new mobile computing platforms that IT organizations are being asked to support alongside Windows XP.

That new IT reality means that IT organizations need to find some other place to draw the IT standards line in the sand. And increasingly, it's starting to look like the place to do that is around the middleware environment on the server side of the IT management equation.

As Mark Little, senior director of engineering for Red Hat's JBoss Group notes, IT organizations need to be able to isolate a lot of chaos that is taking place on the client side from the rest of the enterprise. The best way, says Little, to go about doing that is to standardize the middleware environment that is used by all the client devices to access backend enterprise applications.

Of course, some might argue that desktop virtualization represents the next great opportunity to create a standard environment for the client. But as we have already seen, there are a least a half-dozen forms of desktop virtualization and no one is sure which of those approaches will ultimately become dominant.

To some veteran IT professionals, standardizing on the server side might sound a little like surrendering. But then again, trying to fight a battle that you will surely lose does not make for good career advice. So rather than thinking about it in terms of losing control, think of standardizing at the middleware layer as simply making a strategic withdrawal to gain some higher ground.