Jun 10 2013

What IT Should Know About Business Continuity and Client Virtualization

Federal agencies can recovery from disaster quickly with client virtualization.

When it comes to business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR), client virtualization is a two-sided coin: There’s what client virtualization offers in terms of continuity and DR preparedness, and what it requires.

Of all the reasons to consider client virtualization, BC and DR may be the most compelling. For example, if a sensitive government agency can never afford a massive virus outbreak in its desktop environment, client virtualization can help it ensure uptime.

Or, as another example, if a company happens to locate its headquarters where earthquakes, tornadoes or hurricanes are common, and losing days or weeks to a natural disaster would cripple operations, then client virtualization presents a compelling, mission-critical investment.

When client computing resources are abstracted from the physical device and then moved to a central data center, those resources are accessible from a variety of endpoints and under myriad conditions. If an office closes for whatever reason, workers can access the identical computing environment from home, on the road or even from a backup office in a nearby location, equipped with cost-effective thin clients.

Client virtualization also supports BC and DR in situations where physical systems and offices are available, but computing resources are not. Not all disasters are natural disruptions; corrupt files, application conflicts and other issues can also erode an organization’s productivity. So maintaining applications or entire desktop environments in virtual machines can improve uptime.

Through client virtualization, when technical issues arise that prevent desktop or mobile devices from operating effectively, IT departments can easily roll back to an earlier instance of the virtual client or provision a clean desktop image from a central server, depending on the architecture.

What’s unique to client virtualization is the continuity and DR required to ensure that the virtualization architecture itself remains up and running. In a traditional desktop computing environment, if one computer goes down, the IT group can offer a backup with the same OS, applications and network resources (though with different settings and no access to what had been stored locally).

But with a client virtualization architecture, data center failures can take down an entire fleet of endpoints. The virtualized architecture itself needs a continuity and recovery plan.

To learn more about client virtualization, download our free white paper.