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Local virtual desktops may be the (old) new thing in BYOD

Thor Olavsrud | Oct. 2, 2014
For IT organisations seeking to take a more employee-centric stance by employing a Bring Your Own PC (BYOPC) program, client hosted desktop virtualisation may be what the doctor ordered.

"Local virtual desktops are emerging now as a good alternative to VDI," Parke says. "VDI is based on taking effectively a user's Windows environment and hosting it on a data center and streaming it down to the user's device. With a local virtual desktop, you run it as a virtual machine on top of the user's own PC or Mac. You can work offline and storage is a great deal cheaper."

Bringing Challenges to Work

Even so, Parke notes that local desktop virtualization doesn't eliminate some of the traditional challenges associated with BYO-anything.

"What we've found with CHVD is that it's an extremely mature technology that's been running in a niche space," Parke says. "It's a good alternative or option for distributing a corporate desktop, but there are some challenges, like security."

For instance, IT needs to make sure that data from the virtual PC can't migrate to the physical computer and vice versa. You need to be able to encrypt the data on the virtual PC so that if the physical computer is lost or stolen, your data (or worse, someone else' data) won't be accessible. And since one of the drivers of CHDV is that it can be used offline, it may require a "phone-home" capability under which it wipes itself if it doesn't connect with your network over a certain interval.

Distributing the disk image for the virtual PC may also present a challenge, particularly if the image is large.

"When it comes to client hosted virtual desktops, there's really two problems you need to solve: How to get a machine up and running in the first place on whatever is hosting it, and how to maintain those machines post-deployment," Parke says.


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