George Pradel
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User Virtualization - Same As It Ever Was?

I had a great talk with a colleague today about our history with Citrix. As some of you may know I had the good fortune to be among the first SE’s at Citrix back in 1997. We had a vision then to be able to liberate users from their desktops and save their company’s money. Our acronym back then was MAPS, Management, Access, Performance and Security, that’s a good acronym when you can remember it 14 years later. We provided those functions but it always came with a price that was that users were always locked in in a certain way which was great for admins but not so great for users. Today Citrix offers XenDesktop and VMWare offers View, Citrix also offers XenApp Terminal Server, the whole thing gets confusing in trying to decide which path to go. What is a common denominator is the fact that virtualizing the users, decoupling them from the hardware and operating system is valuable whether you are thinking of moving to virtual desktops or not.

For those of you who are searching the net looking for info on User Virtualization, there are multiple excellent reference sites least of which you’ve found right here,! What user virtualization means to me is that much in the same way as I helped to decouple servers from hardware when I was an SE at VMWare, now we are looking to decouple the users from the platforms that they sit on. This portability, be it in servers or users gives the IT folks options in this fast paced world of change.  Consider that if you have virtualized your users and the edict comes down to explore virtual desktop options, how easy it is to roll real users with real applications into these scenarios.

How far we’ve come towards that goal of being able to virtualize the desktop AND give the user a pleasant experience.

I’ll be writing on various topics such as the importance of performing an assessment, the importance of building your base images as efficiently as possible and using application virtualization to take it the next step. I’ll also touch on the automated process of migrating users from the physical environment to a virtualized desktop across different operating systems and back again if necessary. I’ll also be sharing thoughts on the importance of measuring the user experience so that you can be alerted before the phone rings. This and more right here, hope you find the information helpful and enlightening.