Server virtualization is gaining ground in those IT shops where servers are underutilized. Recent developments in processors will likely allow more servers to be virtualized on a single physical machine. Server virtualization means a smaller physical footprint, lower power and cooling consumption, and fewer physical machines to manage.
The goals of desktop virtualization are rapid provisioning of desktop images and the cost savings derived from deploying less-powerful desktops to employees. Desktop virtualization may be a good fit where companies are heavily invested in desktops, and where those desktops can be replaced by machines that use less power. Desktop virtualization also makes sense in environments that are highly regulated or security conscious. Examples would be deployments that require the machines to be centrally controlled or environments that have a large number of identical work station configurations, like a Business Analyst configuration or a developer configuration.
If there are many different configurations deployed, desktop virtualization may not be as effective. For example, many businesses today are moving towards a mobile workforce that works on laptops, typically from home or remote offices. In companies with a large number of mobile workers, desktop virtualization will not be a good fit.
This was first published in April 2008