Now you can deploy, manage, protect and monitor secure desktop environments and make them available to users locally or remotely, independent of a network connection from any desktop, laptop or tablet PC. Frank Johnson explores desktop optimization and its benefits
The need for secure and well-managed desktop environments
With work environments becoming more and more intricate, deploying desktop virtualization has become imperative for data protection, data security and compliance. With workplace mobility as their focal point, enterprises are aspiring to achieve increased desktop management efficiencies and consequent business continuity. They are geared up to migrate to Windows 7 environments and adopt the ‘bring your own computer’ or BYOC to work strategy and experience accelerated growth in their respective fields. From small and mid-sized firms, insurance companies, healthcare facilities, call centers, offshore developers and contractors to large MNCs, desktop optimization has got every enterprise, big and small, in its stride.
Managing the desktop infrastructure in order to provide flexibility and power to users vis-à-vis improving IT management and security is a daunting task for most organizations. There are several concerns pertaining to secure access, management and use of data and applications that organizations typically face. Managing numerous locally configured desktops across mid-sized and large business organizations is not only complex but also time and cost prohibitive.
Desktop optimization is an improved organization-wide configuration for personal computers, desktops and laptops that can help enterprises minimize security risks, streamline IT management and conserve energy while increasing their user productivity by reducing downtime and improving access to data, applications and agency networks, irrespective of location. Thus, desktop optimization paves the ways for effective IT management and control in a modern organizational set-up.
Desktop optimization essentially means that an organization has achieved the necessary equilibrium between its desktop infrastructure that empowers its personnel to access requisite information in order to increase their productivity, and its security.
With efficient desktop optimization, companies can provide operational or production flexibility, streamlined PC management and secure access to data to its employees while tightening the noose around the level of IT control.
Desktop optimization opens a new, secure window for workers to:
- Securely access data and applications from anywhere, such as on their laptops or a shared PC, at home or even on the road.
- Run productivity applications on their personal desktops while accessing business applications lying on a secured, central official server with complete flexibility.
- Run the latest and effective applications on older or less loaded computers from offshore locations, while their own data lies secure in a controlled central location.
Desktop optimization thus takes IT compliance and security to the next level and gives organizations a sigh of relief by furnishing proficient and flexible work environments.
Some of the main activities involved in desktop optimization are:
- Windows 7 / Office 2010 migration
- Desktop environment management
- Application compatibility and virtualization (ACF and MDOP) testing
- Introduction of virtual desktop initiatives
Desktop optimization involves the application of best practices and proven methodologies along with the utilization of Microsoft solution accelerators in order to achieve a host of activities:
- Creating a software and hardware inventory for smooth deployment planning
- Testing applications for compatibility with Windows Vista and trouble shooting compatibility issues discovered during the process
- Setting up an initial lab environment with deployment and imaging servers
- Customizing and packaging core and supplemental applications
- Automating desktop image creation and deployment
- Lite Touch or Zero Touch deployment depending on user environment
The Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack
The Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) is a very helpful dynamic desktop management tool available to the Software Assurance customers. It is one of the building blocks of a truly and highly optimized desktop environment.
Below is the broad range of MDOP activities and services that help to address key technical challenges:
- Application virtualization – install software applications that are never installed and never require regression testing, yet follow users anywhere
- Advanced group policy management – help IT take control of the desktop through effectual change management, versioning and resets.
- Improved asset management – through Microsoft Asset Inventory Service (AIS) which scans software inventory and transform title data into information that helps administrators take better asset management decisions.
- Better compatibility and management – through Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) that can Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) can help deliver applications virtually without getting installed actually on user machines and Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V)
- Improved policy control – through Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM)
- Desktop error monitoring – prevent or cut down the response time for system crashes and freezes through granular error filtering and automated alerts.
- Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization – enhance the deployment and management of virtual images on a Windows desktop while providing a seamless user experience on a virtual PC environment that is independent of the local desktop configuration and OS.
- Instant diagnostics and recovery – quick repair of unbootable or locked-out systems, restoration of lost data, removal of malware from infected systems and diagnosis of problems.
- Reduction in support costs – through Microsoft System Center Desktop for Error monitoring (DEM) and Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT)
Why do enterprises need Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack?
From reducing their application deployment costs and enabling delivery of applications as services to judicious and efficient management of their desktop environments, MDOP prompts greater business agility in enterprises. Additionally, with the help of Microsoft Desktop Optimization Package, organizations can manage their software assets, foresee and augment their software development and deployment and accelerate IT responsiveness and end-user uptime.
Desktop deployment, management, and support are radically simplified through virtualization, automation and centralized administration. Enterprises can gain a better understanding of their current status and plan the next step for achieving a desktop environment that delivers top class management, security and proficiency with the help of Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack. The MDOP enables organizations to manage multiple desktop experiences within their premises. Moreover, it allows for faster migration to Windows 7.
Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for employees
While creating several organizational benefits, the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Package is quite advantageous for employees too. Employees can increase their efficiency and productivity with ready and secure access to data, virtually anytime and anywhere they require it.
Terms and tips for use
It is important to evaluate and test MDOP before using it. To check how desktop optimization will be applicable and lucrative in your organization you may subscribe to Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) and use the test version in accordance with the MSDN agreement. If you wish to download the software, you can do so at the Microsoft Volume Licensing site (MVLS). Should you want, you can also buy MDOP for your business for reduced costs, quick completion of IT tasks and delivery of higher quality services.
The Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack comes with a few vital tips for use. You can deploy it with Windows 7 Enterprise to capture greater productivity and increase your savings. Used together with Windows 7 Enterprise, it can protect all your sensitive data, improve application compatibility and help to cut costs by streamlining the process of PC management. What’s more with your Windows PCs already covered under Software Assurance, you can access your Virtual Desktop Infrastructure for free!
About the Author:
Frank is a regular editorial contributor on technology products and services that helps small to mid size businesses. To know more about Desktop Optimization and for queries pertaining to latest technological strategies, you can interact with him by clicking here