Do you really know why you are doing desktop virtualization? As with most technical solutions, desktop virtualization has its place. It can enable flexibility, mobility, and a bunch of other “-ility” words. Unfortunately, I’ve seen people try to use a technical solution with the wrong goals. Take the following, which is a common occurrence:

I have a distributed desktop environment. Over the years, my users have installed whatever they wanted on their endpoints. We end up having to rebuild these devices constantly as they continue to slow down. With desktop virtualization, I can…

For this organization, why would you do desktop virtualization? Think about it before you continue reading.

Is your answer “to lock down the desktops and prevent users from installing anything they want?” To many, this sounds pretty good, desktop virtualization will allow us to lock down the environment. With a locked down environment, users can’t install their own applications, they can’t make changes to the environment, and IT won’t have to spend time troubleshooting/rebuilding desktops.

When I look at this challenge, I come to a different goal. For whatever reason, users have been giving the freedom to have complete personalization. They have this capability and expect it to continue. Why would we change the overall expectations of the entire user community? Changing it so they are forced into a standardized desktop environment might sound good as it “will” make IT’s job easier, but users will be unhappy with the new solution. Most technology solutions require user support; without that support, the project will eventually collapse. The goal of the project isn’t to put the users into a standardized desktop environment; instead, the priority for this organization is “better desktop agility” or “faster desktop support services”. With desktop virtualization, IT can still provide users with a completely personalized computing environment while providing better and faster desktop support. A user can get a brand new/clean desktop in a matter of seconds instead of hours or days.

So why does this matter? Because it impacts one of the first design decisions: FlexCast.

The “locked down” path will eventually lead me to Shared desktops; the “better desktop agility” path will lead me to Personal desktops with the PvD option.

When looking at your priorities, make sure you fully understand the core priority.

Daniel – Lead Architect

Project Accelerator
Citrix Virtual Desktop Handbook