7 Technologies That Make BYOD a Reality

seven technologies to enable a BYOD strategy

Let’s start with the obvious.

There is no silver bullet, one-size-fits-all checklist for creating the perfect Bring Your Own Device strategy. Every organization is completely different.

But it’s not as bad as it sounds. Many of the technologies necessary to support a strategy are probably already in your ecosystem. It’s just a matter of knowing what’s missing, and how to leverage what you’ve already got.

To give you a hand, we’ve assembled seven tools and technologies that make planning and executing your BYOD strategy a reality.

[Read more…]

One egg, many baskets

How load balancing is helping deliver on the promise of application virtualization.

From systems and storage to networks, virtually every nook and cranny of the IT environment these days is being virtualized. Applications, of course, are no exception, and for good reason. By isolating applications from the underlying operating system and from other applications, then streaming them from a centralized location into an isolated environment on a laptop or other target device to be executed, virtualization makes it a snap to run applications on different computers – not to mention, previously incompatible applications can now be run side by side.

In other words, application virtualization is a game changer in terms of increasing compatibility and manageability. It also:

  • uses fewer resources and saves hardware and software costs
  • simplifies operating systems migrations
  • accelerates application deployment through on-demand application streaming
  • improves security by isolating applications from OS
  • simplifies license usage tracking

Optimizing application performance and ensuring security.

But of course, as with almost any technology such as this, application virtualization has its own set of potential pitfalls, a big one being that by removing applications from the physical device and having them reside on an application server somewhere, you run the risk of that server becoming a single point of failure when, say, too many users try to access the application at the same time or a nasty application-layer bug infects the server and wreaks havoc across your organization. In other words, the old too-many-eggs-in-one-basket dilemma.

Load balancing helps mitigate those sorts of risks by intelligently and dynamically distributing and optimizing incoming traffic among servers hosting the same application content. By balancing application requests across multiple servers, particularly during a surge in traffic, load balancing prevents that single point of failure nightmare scenario and ensures that virtualized applications are always available and responsive. Load balancing even monitors the health, or availability, of servers so as to avoid [Read more…]

Why are you still delivering OS as a device?

 Once upon a time, you delivered an operating system to your employees on their desktop devices – or maybe you still are. You had applications and user profiles on your desktops too. And of course, your service level agreements (SLAs) were tied to the hardware as well because the hardware counted most. If it broke, the OS was gone, the applications and profile were gone. Hardware was king.

 Then a funny thing called virtualization happened. With all your layers of abstraction transferred to your data center, particularly your organization’s OS, you’re now able offer that OS as a service to any device, anywhere, anytime. It doesn’t matter if your employees are on a PC or Mac, an iPad or iPhone, a BYOC system, next door to your data center or halfway around the world. Virtualization has made hardware – and where that hardware physically sits – incidental in a very real way. Software, it turns out, is king now.

 And because you’ve standardized user profiles, [Read more…]

BYOC: It’s easier than you think now.

 Important considerations with BYOC strategy

 Employees who are given laptops by their company might use their hardware eight hours a day. The remaining eight hours of awake time, in the evening or on in transit, they might connect to the office to check email or catch up on work they didn’t get a chance to do during the day but realistically they’re going to use it mainly as a personal device – watching YouTube, gaming, surfing, listening to music, writing their long dreamed of novel.

Now an increasing number of IT decision makers are asking: If I’m giving employees a $1,000 laptop or a $500 thin client, and I’ve virtualized my OS, applications and user profiles and they’re all running in my data center instead of locally, why not go a step further? Why offer users the option to buy or bring in their own laptop – HP, Sony, Mac, iPad, whatever they like – and give them an allowance or stipend that represents the 50% time they’ll use the device for company work.

In fact, the Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) model being considered or adopted by an increasing number of organizations as a way to significantly cut costs. Employees are given a pre-determined amount to buy their own device and often asked to sign up for a maintenance plan with the laptop’s manufacturer – the theory being that if there’s a hardware problem, the hardware company gets a call before the IT help desk. So the organization saves two ways – in terms of capital costs and dependency on IT.

Before you jump into BYOC, it’s a good idea to consider some guidelines: [Read more…]

It’s in to be thin

The computer under your desk is a big, clunky thing with a lot of moving parts. And moving parts mean that, sooner or later, some of those parts are going to break. That’s why, realistically, the traditional desktop has a three- to five-year lifespan.

 But the increasingly widespread adoption of virtualization and data centers is leading a lot of IT professionals to ask: “If I’m running little or nothing locally anymore, and all my processing is being done centrally, why do I need beefy, high-performance boxes with lots of moving parts prone to breaking sitting under everyone’s desk?”

 Well, the reality is, you probably don’t. And that’s why thin clients have begun getting a lot of attention. Frankly, it’s about time. Because though thin clients are one of the most ignored or misunderstood hardware options out there, they’re also one of the most cost-effective and secure.

Essentially, a thin client is a slimmed down, stripped down version of a desktop. But [Read more…]

Healing the woes of migrating user profiles

The last layer of abstraction: Virtualizing it is easier than you think.

 If you’ve been following this series of posts – here and here  – you’ve probably already gotten a good sense of the positive impact virtualization can have on migrating two vital layers of abstraction: your Windows 7 OS environment and applications. But there’s one more component to deal with, one more layer of abstraction that you have to worry and define success criteria for. And it probably won’t come as a surprise but virtualization along with some pretty nifty tools can help here too.

 I’m talking of course about migrating user profiles.

 It turns out though that a lot of IT professionals are a bit jumpy about making this particular move. A recent survey found that while 57 percent of respondents intend to rollout Windows 7 by this fall, 45 percent were specifically worried about migrating user profiles. Nearly half! 

 It seems that while the arrival of Windows 7 presents an opportunity for IT to re-assess the way desktops are managed and leveraged throughout the organization, it’s also a risky and expensive proposition – or a perceived one, at least – particularly if it affects users’ working environments.

 In Windows XP you had personalization settings referred to as Version 1. Windows Vista and now Windows 7 use a different profile configuration called Version 2. Traditionally, if you were going to migrate to Windows 7, IT would have to painstakingly copy things over or make users re-enter their user profile data. A big hassle for everyone involved.

 But now there are solutions [Read more…]