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CENTRALIZED, OPTIMIZED DESKTOP MANAGEMENT

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Datacenters are often what we think of when someone mentions virtualization. However, servers lined neatly in racks with resource usage optimized do not provide all the value possible with a comprehensive virtualization strategy. In fact, datacenter issues can often seem small in the face of managing hundreds or thousands of end-user PCs. Challenges include:

» Updating tracking—As the number of applications increases across a growing number of end-user computers, many organizations cannot effectively determine which systems are up-to-date. This is a significant issue when the untracked updates are either security patches or mandatory changes to a critical business application.

» Controlling help desk costs—Unless a standard image is deployed to all PCs, the number of help desk calls can be huge. Even when standard configurations are used, the pressure to allow user-provided applications causes many companies to provide local administrator capabilities to laptops and desktops for installation and desktop configuration purposes. Conflicts between these changes and business critical applications can result in significant costs in both lost productivity and IT support.

» Security patch cycles that seem to take forever—When vendors release security updates, the length of the PC update cycle mirrors the organization’s appetite for risk. Since most business managers are more concerned with business continuity issues than with “possible” security issues, cycle times can be rather long. And even when patching is approved, engineers face a time-consuming rollout—a rollout during which making sure every system is patched can be very difficult if not impossible.

» Application incompatibilities—In addition to potential conflicts when patches or PC software are installed, new applications mandated by management can also cause havoc when new or replaced operating system components cause failures in existing applications. Examples include dynamic link libraries (DLLs), Java versions, ActiveX controls, and other shared components or services. Add to these challenges the possible changes to registry controls, and you have conditions for widespread business disruption.

» Spread of malware—In today’s business environment where every device is connected to every other device, malware infestations are often able to run rampant across enterprise networks. Further, eliminating malware from end-user devices often means reimaging or replacing them with freshly imaged systems.

» Data leaks—Traditional fat client PC drives are often full of sensitive information. Local storage of information might be intentional or incidental to application execution. Intentional data storage results from users making a conscious decision to store information on their local disk. Incidental storage occurs when application information is cached locally to meet processing requirements. In both cases, information is liable to theft or loss.

» Controlling access to applications—Once an application is installed on a user’s computer, it can be all but impossible to remove access.

» Providing application/data access to mobile users—The problem here goes beyond access, which can be provided by many solutions, such as SSL VPN. Rather, maintaining mobile device patches and application updates can be difficult.

Microsoft offers an impressive set of solutions or solution combinations to ease these burdens, including:
» App-V
» App-V for RDS
» MED-V and Virtual PC

Source of Information : Elsevier-Microsoft Virtualization Master Microsoft Server Desktop Application and Presentation

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