Desktop virtualization is beginning to be more than a virtualized version of Microsoft office and file storage. It is also becoming a standard virtual set of cloud applications. I attended a CIO meeting last night and the topic was virtualisation.
Desktop virtualisation is beginning to be more than a virtualised version of Microsoft office and file storage. It is also becoming a standard virtual set of cloud applications.
The group was surveyed, and over 50% are working to implement a private cloud in the next 12-18 months. All of the CIO’s had at least one cloud application and many had more than two. Some common challenges have begun to emerge. These themes included single sign-on across multiple SAAS, Platform, and Infrastructure as a service offerings, the ability to manage user profiles across platforms, and the challenge of managing Infrastructure as a service.
The CIO’s were finding it difficult to manage costs for Infrastructure as a service. Since anyone could sign up and use a service similar to Amazon server farm, managing all accounts to achieve volume discounts, and making sure virtual servers were turned off when not in use were challenges that all faced. Everyone of the CIO’s who had used Amazon’s services had had at least one high monthly bill. They likened it to traveling overseas and finding out when you returned from overseas that you had a £1,000 mobile phone bill. The services are not mature enough yet to give you detailed billing by user within the corporate account.
The concept of a corporate portfolio of services is evolving to include Microsoft office, Sharepoint, and cloud offerings. The ability to login into Active directory and then automatically login to any number of corporate sanctioned SAAS applications was a desired outcome. The industry is not mature, so even the standards such as SAML have not been universally implemented across the SAAS vendors. In addition, the ability to set up roles had to be done for each application and could not be done centrally. For each application, you had to setup a profile for each user. This creates a much more complex environment that the environment to add additional applications or users to active directory or even SAP or Oracle.
One of the reasons that VMware purchased tri-cipher was that tri-cipher had built a single sign-on offering for some of the leading SAAS application. VMware would like to have the single sign-on capability as part of the corporate desktop. Imagine an iPhone like interface for all of the corporate applications and you can get a sense of where the industry is headed.
This area is new and exciting, but we realised during the meeting that it is also an immature environment. Many of the younger employees are comfortable with this new environment. The familiarity is leading to a faster adoption, but this is also creating a management headache to provide shared services across the enterprise.