With 80 employees and users spread out over 18 or so different sites, brokerage firm E.K. Riley Investments LLC needed a secure way to allow remote access to highly sensitive financial data. The XenDesktop platform from Citrix offered the group this kind of anytime, anywhere access while still ensuring their information remained inside the safety of the data center. “A few years ago, we decided that virtualization — bringing first applications and later the desktop — into the data center was a better way to protect our information, and also make support a lot easier,” says Christian Moses, CTO of the Seattle-based firm. His team can now be sure that everyone in the environment is using the same software, plus it’s a less expensive way to manage the secure data feeds the company maintains back to its clearing firm. “We were able to consolidate those points to just a couple of secure facilities, and get out of the router-to-router VPNs and other issues like that,” Moses says.
Industries where data is highly sensitive and also highly regulated have been frequent adopters of virtualization. “Where you want to leverage a common desktop environment for things like the banking industry or the insurance industry, where you know you have a high degree of replication, there is a tremendous benefit to that,” Gula says. Other instances where virtualization is popular include those where no mobile application exists, or where the mobile platform doesn’t have adequate resources (Gula points to the use of ActiveX) to be effective.
And remember: the right solution for an enterprise today could require rethinking tomorrow. “Every year these mobile devices get more and more like a laptop, and the laptops get more and more like a mobile device,” Gula says. Application availability, bandwidth requirements and device size are just some of the factors that could push IT departments toward new solutions in the future.