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There has been a lot of chatter on the wires lately about infrastructure virtualization, and I have been thinking to myself, ‘when is someone going to chime in and talk about the client side of virtualization’?’

A lot of great debates are popping around the various communities and forums about what is the best infrastructure to host your virtual environment, and while this is incredibly important, most organizations today also have significant investments in their client landscape, and well frankly, there aren’t a lot of people out there talking about how Virtualization reaches to client systems, or how investments in infrastructure virtualization can also benefit an organization’s managed client landscape.  While it is important to think about the best way to spend ever shrinking budgets, it is even more important in today’s economy to be strategic with your investments, and get the most pop for your dollar. 

It is easy to get buried or focused in a niche topic of research (my organization needs to consolidate X old servers, that have workloads that need to keep running) – and it is even easier to dive and look for solutions that do ‘ABC’ capabilities, there will always be a search hit that shows some product can do that.  But what about the bigger picture?  What about managing both clients and servers, that are a mix of both physical and virtual instances, from 1 console, 1 solution?  What about thinking about more than just a tool to patch my servers, or a solution to push virtual applications, but 1 solution for software distribution,  patch management, OS Deployment, Asset Management, workflow, performance management, security settings and help desk toolsets?  Ok Virt is important, but what about managing virt, and doing that for servers and clients?

I talk to a lot of our customers, partners and field experts about customer scenarios, pain points, and yes competitive technologies.  I was also once a customer myself.  Its so important for an organization today to ask the question, what else can I do with this technology when they talk about their solution investments.  

In any IT shop, there are some pretty regular things that happen on a daily basis whether a target is virtual or physical:

  • HW/SW Inventory
  • OS Deployment
  • Application management(packaging, delivery, update, removal, prevention)
  • Patch Management
  • Performance Management
  • Security Settings Management
  • Green IT
  • Compliance
  • Help Desk

Yet, organizations are looking at buying capability solutions for their clients for just App-V,  or just Presentation Virt, or just the Hypervisor, or just the Desktop Virt –etc.  The question to ask about those technologies, is what else can they do?  Can that App-V technology do patch, soft dist, OS deployment, NAP, inventory, or help desk work flow?  Can that presentation layer solution also in the same console provide performance management, or workflow, or connectors to your help desk product? 

When we look across the matrix of client virt capabilities –  it is spotted with ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers by the different vendors out there, I wont go into listing them.  But only one, Microsoft, has the ability to say we provide Software Distribution, Application Virtualization, Presentation Virtualization (and Virt app in that layer), managed Hypervisor integration, and Desktop Virt.  All of these, in_addition_to those same products providing bog standard management capabilities. 

Can your choice for App-V also do your patch and OS Deployment?  Can that same tool manage both physical and virtual targets?  Can that tool deliver full app installs as well as virtual streams of apps? 

Point solutions have not proven to be cost effective.  Check out some of our latest Management and Virtualization content at these resources.

Microsoft Virtualization
System  Center Product Main Page
Windows MDOPcollection of products


clip_image003Jeff Wettlaufer 
Sr. Technical Product Manager
System Center
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clip_image005clip_image007– jeffwettlaufer