Two major enterprise computing platforms are reaching their end of life this week. Tomorrow (January 14th), in fact. While this may seem like a last-minute blog entry, we know there are plenty of you out there still running Windows 7 on corporate desktops and Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2 in your data centers.
Microsoft itself estimated that 60% of its Windows Server install base was still running 2008 back in August. Some of those instances may have been upgraded or migrated to cloud VMs, but we’re betting many of them remain. Unofficial estimates peg the number of Windows 7 machines worldwide at around 200 million.
Change can be hard, especially when your systems seem to be working properly and upgrading appears to be a complex and time-consuming endeavor. But operating systems that have reached End of Support open the door for vulnerabilities, bugs, and incompatibility with newer infrastructure. They also make it more difficult to deploy and support newer software that can improve employee efficiency and empower the business to drive revenue in new areas and to compete with others in the industry. With Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 End of Support upon us, what are your options?
If you have a pool of users that need access to Windows desktops, you can deliver those desktops and associated applications remotely, saving money on administration and end-user hardware alike, while gaining control over security and access control.
Two methods to achieve this are Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Remote Desktop Services. In either case, the user connects to a server or virtual machine which is hosted within a data center or with a cloud provider. That remote server or VM contains the desktop environment and all data and applications are stored and processed remotely.
But is VDI or RDS the right choice for your situation? Let’s take a look at the differences between the two and some use cases for each.
The Green House Data blog has hit a major milestone this month, rocketing from around 8,000 monthly unique visitors to 12,000 unique visitors in March. As we pass the 10k mark, we want to say thanks to everyone who has come to our little corner of the internet and also take a look back at our most enduring and popular posts over the years.
From cloud hosting to data center design to information security, the blog has covered a lot of ground in the past five or six years, with experts from our staff joining our marketing and content teams for weekly updates.
Here are the top 10 all time posts from the Green House Data blog.
Virtualization revolutionized the delivery of IT services by abstracting the computing resources of a server and allowing many “virtual machines” to run on a single box. It is now commonplace and a foundational piece of cloud computing.
One outgrowth of virtualization was virtual desktops, which use a virtualization platform to run instances of desktop operating systems, complete with applications, that are accessed remotely. This means that the end client accessing those virtual desktops doesn’t need to be very powerful, because all the processing happens in the data center. It also means there is less hardware for IT staff to manage and updates are simple to process.
Virtualizing applications — and to an even greater extent, virtualizing desktops — has another hidden benefit, however: stronger data security. But how does remote access and processing add security? Shouldn’t there be more chances for an attacker to intercept data when it is traversing from office or remote work locations to a central data center?
Both virtual desktop infrastructure and Desktop as a Service (DaaS) products operate on the same or similar technology and deliver many of the same benefits to administrators and users, including simple updates for desktop groups, remote access to applications and data, and less (or no) hardware to manage. Both VDI and DaaS take the processing load away from the local client, allowing a wide variety of user endpoints.
There are some huge differences in how you purchase and administrate VDI compared to DaaS, however. Depending on your expertise, staff, and existing infrastructure, one may be a better fit for your business.
It's been nearly a year since we've done a blog roundup, but if you follow Green House Data on Twitter or LinkedIn, you know we stay tuned to the latest data center, networking, and green energy news. In case you missed it, last month brought out headlines on inefficient in-house enterprise data centers, security and shadow app use, tips for vSphere data center design, and a debate over Greenpeace's report on green data centers. According to our Twitter stats, readers found the following articles the most interesting last month.
In December of 2014, a new study, “Corporate Data: A Protected Asset or a Ticking Time Bomb?” from the Ponemon Institute found that employees have excessive access to company data, presenting a growing risk to these organizations.
Their findings led to the revelation that there is a significant lack of oversight and control over which employees have access to confidential, sensitive data and how that data is shared. They also found confusion among staff as to what their responsibilities are in protecting company data. Companies that do not make data protection a priority typically have a difficult time staying within compliance standards.
The answer depends on each individual deployment, but no matter the use case, admins will have to work with legacy hardware and consider new devices to support a virtual desktop initiative. From laptops to mobile to thin-client, there are plenty of end user platforms supported by VMware Horizon View.
Desktop as a Service (DaaS), which delivers virtual desktop infrastructure from a cloud provider, allows devices other than PCs to access fully featured desktops that are hosted in the data center. Because servers do all the heavy lifting, these client devices don’t need to be particularly powerful, enabling a new wave of BYOD confusion and excitement, as well as the opportunity for capital expense reduction through less expensive client devices.
There are several options for virtual desktop pools in Horizon View that will change how administrators manage desktops and how users interact with them. There are three main pool types and two assignment types to choose from.
Desktop Pool Types
Unless you’re working with Microsoft Terminal Services machines (in which case you’ll choose Terminal Services pools to allow terminal servers to be treated as Horizon desktops), either migrating or using them alongside Horizon desktops, you’ll select from automatic or manual desktop pools.
You’ve likely heard of “shadow IT” or BYOD (bring your own device). Both terms refer to employees using private devices or software at the workplace—think iPads for work, or Google Drive to share files in a department. These practices may not be sanctioned by the IT department, but they improve productivity and save provisioning costs. However, they come with the risk of security breaches or other issues, causing IT headaches. By implementing an official BYOD policy and deploying hybrid cloud tools, companies can eliminate shadow IT and empower employees at the same time.