Windows 8 and New Desktop Virtualization Realities

    Now that Microsoft has formally endorsed virtualization on the client as part of the Windows 8 operating system, a lot of IT organizations are going to be spending a fair amount of time analyzing the implications of the move as it applies to their overall virtualization strategy.

    We’re already seeing Microsoft gain virtualization ground on the server side with the increased usage of Hyper-V and Windows Server 2008 R2. The company is now making it clear that it intends to improve the server virtualization management experience on Windows Server 8. But the most intriguing issue for IT organizations will be the presence of a hypervisor embedding in the Windows 8 operating system on the client. As Purnima Padmanabhan, vice president of products and marketing for MokaFive, a provider of desktop virtualization management tools notes, a lot of IT organizations are going to quickly decide that they don’t need two hypervisors on the client, so this latest Microsoft move has some significant implications for rivals such as VMware and Citrix.

    Padmanabhan says the implications of having a hypervisor in Windows 8 are profound because it changes the nature of the virtualization conversation. Instead of arguing over what type of hypervisor to use, the discussion is going to shift toward managing containers that give users access to resources running on both the client and server.

    That realization, she adds, should also put an end to the debate over where best to deploy virtualization as IT organizations begin to realize that interactive-intensive applications will always run better on the client, while data-intensive applications will probably be better served via the cloud. Centralizing everything on the server only serves to increase management headaches, risks and costs, while at the same time reducing the performance levels that end users have come to expect on the client. As virtualization evolves, Padmanabhan says there’s going to be no valid reason for introducing compromise, instability and cost when IT organizations will be able to more easily leverage the best of both client and server-side virtualization.

    In the meantime, Padmanabhan says that MokaFive expects to see a lot of desktop virtualization pilot projects in the months ahead involving Windows 8 – the success of which she says will depend very heavily on first how easy it is to deploy virtualization on the desktop and, secondly, the overall experience of end users that up until now at least have not yet warmed to the whole concept.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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