Remote control: Making virtual desktops and applications work in the enterprise

In this guest post, Jack Zubarev, president of application virtualisation software provider Parallels, sets what IT departments can do to get the most out of their virtual desktop deployments.

The advent of cloud computing and ubiquitous, fast internet connectivity means office desktops with locally installed applications are becoming a thing of the past for many employees.

Remote application and desktop delivery can provide an easy way to manage, distribute and maintain business applications. Virtualised applications run on a server, while end users view and interact with them over a network via a remote display protocol. Remote applications can also be completely integrated with the user’s desktop so that they appear and behave like local applications.

Application delivery is more vital than ever, but can also be challenging. End-users want consistent performance with a seamless experience, while IT is focused on efficient and effective management and security at a reasonable cost.

Some specific application delivery challenges include performance and being able to deliver reliable and responsive application availability over a variety of network connections; allowing bring your own device (BYOD) users to securely access applications and data from anywhere, at any time, on any device.

Meanwhile, legacy applications can be centrally managed and delivered alongside modern applications simultaneously on the same device; while ensuring application and data security on devices that remotely access virtual resources and maintaining regulatory compliance and privacy.

The benefit of virtual desktops

Remote application and desktop delivery provides many tangible business benefits, including performance improvement and a reduction in downtime; and can help simplify management and updates tasks, and – of course – reduce costs.

The centralised management system offered by application delivery enables you to effectively monitor and manage the entire infrastructure from a single dashboard. Even when installing new components or configuring a multisite environment, there’s no need to log in to other remote servers.

Managing everything centrally gives you more control and reduced hardware means fewer people are needed to manage it. You don’t have to deal with updates, patches, and other maintenance problems. This simplified IT infrastructure makes IT jobs easier.

Another benefit of application delivery is that you can deliver any Windows application to any remote device. For instance, legacy ERP can be remotely published to iPads, Android tablets, or even Chromebooks. It provides a seamless and consistent end-user experience across all devices.

As applications are installed on the application delivery server and remotely published to client devices, businesses can save significant amounts on hardware and software purchases, as well as licensing and operational costs.

Finding the right system

Look for a system that is easy to deploy and use. After all, the goal is to simplify the management and application delivery to employees – not to make it more complex with another layer.

Ideally, it should work in any environment (on-premise, in the public, private cloud or hybrid cloud) and feature pre-configured components, and a straightforward set-up process, so installation is not too labour-intensive.

The best solutions can cost effectively transform any Windows application into a cloud application that is accessible from web browsers as well as any device, including Android, iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows, Chromebook, and Raspberry Pi.

A clientless workspace is also important, so users can access published applications and virtual desktops using any HTML5-compatible browser, such as Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer (and Edge), or Safari.

Your application and desktop delivery solution should also provide support Citrix, VMware, and Microsoft Hyper-V, so sysadmins can build a VDI solution, using a wide range of technologies, to suit their organisations’ technology and cost requirements.

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