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Workspace Virtualization provides a scalable, performant architecture for desktop virtualization, which simplifies the creation, access and management of virtual desktops.

 

The advantages of Workspace Virtualization include global scalability and enhanced manageability, which enable enterprises to create a hierarchical desktop virtualization management system that can be distributed globally with multi-site storage support; automated synchronization and on-going backup of virtual workspace images; isolation and workspace security to prevent data leakage and reduce the attack surface of the virtual environment.

 

This provides a compelling architecture for Cloud Computing that is truly mobile and productive. Although great advances have been made with mobile networks, we are still only intermittently connected, contending with high latency, low bandwidth, or no connection at all. With virtual workspaces deployed to devices, you address the issues of intermittent connectivity. If the virtual workspace is only run remotely, in the data centre, you need to be reliably connected in order to be productive. That simply isn't realistic for the enterprise, thus the demandd for a rich device to run the virtual workspace.

 

Imagine bringing in a contractor into your enterprise, who brings their company-owned notebook, and remotely loading a virtual workspace onto that device with the relevant workload for the project. This workspace is secure, partitioned from one's corporate workload, and when the contract is finished, the workspace is removed, leaving practically no footprint on the device.

 

Now extrapolate that to the Bring-Your-Own-Computer (BYOC) scenario - you have a device that you love, and rather than provisioning you with another device, you use yours onto which the enterprise's virtual workspace is deployed. You then have the corporate workload on an attested image, running in a virtual workspace. The enterprise can trust it because it's secured from both your user information and based on the device identification. The enterprise only has to manage their virtual workspace, the user manages all their personal data and applications, neither environment can affect or unbalance the other. The user gets the device they want, and the enterprise remains productive.

The same applies for Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS), which targets small and medium business (SMB) - Service Providers can deliver virtual workspaces to user devices that can be initialised, upgraded, and revoked with a fine-grained degree of control, without ever having to see or touch those devices. The SMBs can rest assured that only authorised, vetted devices can access their services in a truly scalable and mobile fashion.


The power of this architecture is derived from capabilities delivered by the underlying hardware which provide devices with identity; execution, communication and I/O isolation; trust attestation; encryption acceleration; and remote, in-band and out-of-band management capabilities. This hardware-assisted workspace virtualization realizes the full value proposition.

 

Intel and RingCube have come together to deliver hardware-assisted workspace virtualization with vDesk 3.1 - providing scalable, high performance desktop virtualization for Windows 7. vDesk leverages the capabilities of Intel's vPro mobile platform to provide truly mobile user productivity, lower desktop management costs and eliminates the performance and resource overhead of virtualization technology. Users can run their vDesk workspace on managed or unmanaged devices, providing a solution for campus workers, field staff, telecommuters, contract/off-shore workers.

 

Read more about how RingCube vDesk 3.1 and Intel vPro deliver Workspace Virtualization in the joint white paper available now.

Among the greatest challenges of the cloud for the small and medium business or the enterprise are the reliability, availability, scalability, security and trust of one's applications and data.  So far, public cloud approaches to these challenges have proven to be more expensive across resource types for both the service provider and customer, and inelastic.  To compound the problem, end users demand high performance, the ability to get their job done, a familiar environment, a great user experience, freedom and flexibility, the ability to use personal apps and data, and faster recovery and migration. At the same time, IT and service providers demand  ease of management, simple deployment and updates, hardware independent images. Moreover, IT needs to be able to protect and secure data, leverage built-in data back-up and recovery, and to isolate business and personal worlds.


With Intel vPro, Citrix XenClient provides this through a high performance type 1 bare-metal hypervisor on the client, which can securely execute multiple images, is hardware aware whilst being hardware independent, with simplified OS management. Through Off-network mobility, application and data security and isolation, bandwidth- and access-intelligent network performance, near-native virtualised performance, large scale manageability, all with hardware-based acceleration and augmentation, this provides a local, mobile platform with management, security and adaptability needed by the small/medium business and enterprise for the cloud.


XenClient caches and executes desktop and application software directly on the device, enabling high performance, rich graphics and full off-network mobility for users. The usage model: A user requests a business image, the control domain creates an image with the desired policies, this initial image is delivered, and subsequent changes are synchronized. Small businesses and enterprises can leverage this to scale management of an increasingly mobile workforce, while enhancing security and always-on access to data and applications.


With vPro, XenClient is manageable whether the device is on or off. This solution is designed for security, with image isolation, trusted measurement & launch of XenClient, memory protection, and vPro management & security. With Intel Virtualization Technology, performance is enhanced over software-only solutions, and I/O device pass-through and assignment enabled. The solution is based on a single image management methodology, drastically reducing patch and upgrade maintenance efforts, enabling service level assurance.


How does this pay off? Users enjoy a rich services cloud experience with a lightweight hypervisor supporting pass thru of latency sensitive devices (e.g. graphics, DVD, USB 2.0), one that is truly mobile optimised with support for offline caching and synchronization, wireless support and power management optimizations. The user's desktop is assembled dynamically, providing instant image provisioning which can be role-based and portable.


This neatly supports the three personae of the cloud - public, personal private and organization private. The public persona covers all data and applications - business/corporate or personal - one could freely share with the world (e.g. social networking, sharing of non-sensitive information, etc.). Whilst many in the blogosphere think that all personal information fits in this category, the reality is that it does not - thus the personal private persona, which covers all personal data and applications whose abuse would adversely affect a user (e.g. financial, health,  identity records, etc.). These are joined by the business/corporate persona which covers sensitive data and applications, or representing intellectual property, to a business/corporation, as well as to ministries/governments, NGOs, non-proflts, etc .


The vPro + XenClient solution provides a way to securely work in each of these personae on devices, whilst maintaining isolation between them.  This enables an employee, consultant or representative of an organisation to access public, personal private and business/corporate data and applications without the risk of exposing sensitive information, violating conformance/compliance, or polluting intellectual property.  Imagine the use who has one or more operating systems installed with all their  tools and applications, which they may delete periodically depending on what they are working on. They also require access to their company’s business applications that are managed and brought to their clients by the corporate IT department. With XenClient, the user can have full control over their own managed operating systems but also benefit from having a corporate managed standard desktop environment.


I am excited about what  vPro + XenClient offers - centralized desktop virtualization  with a rich, personalized device environment, across device form factors, locations and workspaces. Mobile, office and remote workers for small/medium business and  the enterprise will be able to take advantage of enterprise-scale virtualization without sacrificing security, manageability, ease-of-use, performance or mobility. This further extends what the rich services cloud provides to organizations, hardening and augmenting its value to them.

 

For more information on Intel vPro, please visit http://www.intel.com/technology/vpro. For more information on XenClient, please visit http://community.citrix.com/citrixready/xenclient.

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