Virtualizing the User

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BYOPC Morphs into HAPC

Ever wish you could take your home computer to work because it has all of your personal settings saved, not to mention the multitude of pictures of your pets, family and latest vacation? With the continued restraints on IT budgets, organizations are looking for innovative ways to save money, and Bring-Your-Own-PC (BYOPC) is the latest cost-cutting idea. Some recently released research has suggested that a BYOPC model can achieve around $300 per employee per month in cost savings--but is employee PC ownership the way to go?

While the concept of BYOPC makes sense to me in theory, in reality this model is unlikely to be widely adopted by enterprises. Support and warranty issues will cause unnecessary headaches for users and many will inevitably contact their own company support desk for assistance anyway--negating the entire purpose of BYOPC. This concept does free IT from carrying the capital expense for a lot of resources, and gives users the choice that they appreciate. However, these benefits will fail to outweigh the downside. And we all know that if users aren't happy their IT department isn't either.

A more viable alternative is using desktop virtualization in Home Access PC (HAPC). In this scenario, employees would leave their work PC at the office and use their static home PC for any after-hours work. This model is already in practice in many organizations around the globe. For example, a couple of London-based finance houses that I met up with several years ago were making use of the Citrix XenApp product lines to enable their users to work at home. Their studies showed that they were actually getting up to 60-70 percent more productivity out of employees, since they would work Sunday afternoons to prepare for the working week, as well as most evenings after 8 or 9 p.m. It was understood that once the children went to bed, the employees took the opportunity to get a couple of hours work in before shutting down for the night.

As desktop virtualization continues to surge, we will see more employees making use of their corporate desktop from home, with little or no requirements placed on their home infrastructure. A virtual desktop also eliminates the security risk associated with allowing corporate access from unmanaged, unknown endpoints. A non-persistent virtual desktop model works well in this scenario, as long as the employee has a predictable and personal experience across both devices.

I am very interested in hearing your thoughts. Do you see the virtual desktop as a means of extending your users' working day? Has your organization already implemented a BYOPC or HAPC model? Comment here.

Posted by Simon Rust on 10/01/2010 at 12:49 PM


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