One of the critical aspects of desktop virtualization is that it is disruptive to the end-user. Even though the technology is primed for operational returns not enough has been done to prepare the end-user to the new way of interacting and working with virtual desktops. The corporate endpoint, unless well controlled, was the biggest risk for introducing unwanted and unauthorized applications and potentially malware. Virtualization brings the promise of the control, providing dynamically all of the applications and tools and end-user needs for his role and function. However these same users are used to personalizing their laptops or desktops, augmenting them with their own additional tools and applications that help them function or just get them through their working day, and a few of them adding personal data and applications on the side.
Brian Madden from SearchVirtualDesktop.com has commented on the difficulty of desktop virtualization and even when you get your end-user socialized and ready for the change be prepared for them to expect high performance in return. The current trade-off of having somewhat sluggish logins and performance is made acceptable by allowing for more endpoint freedom. Virtual desktops and their operational support need to be top performers and as Brian mentions should be considered operationally akin to servers with service level agreements, change control, etc. If your thinking about or currently piloting a VDI project one of the biggest obstacles is how to implement endpoint anti-virus that won’t negatively impact the infrastructure or create performance issues for the end-user.
At McAfee we’ve been beta testing and working with Citrix on MOVE-AV which is anti-virus optimized for virtualized environments and the early results are exciting. We hope to make the move to virtual desktops easier by removing the current hindrances of running traditional anti-virus in virtualized environments taking one item out of the difficulty equation for virtual desktop deployment.