Virtual Hosted Desktops: Too much of a good thing?

A recent article in Information Week discusses how Credit Suisse has been very successful implementing virtualization in the data center and how they view the desktop as the next area of opportunity. By virtualizing desktops and bringing them into the data center, Credit Suisse hopes gain the ability to quickly re-provision desktops in response to changing user needs. But at what cost?

Depending on how many users Credit Suisse has, this means moving the processing from thousands of independent computing elements into the data center. Out in the enterprise, power and cooling is abundant and there is no issue with rack space. Perhaps they have ample space in their data centers.

What about user experience? There is something to be said about moving the processing as local to the user as possible. Some applications lend themselves to be hosted centrally and accessed via a browser or portal interface. Other applications including multimedia, unified communications and complex user interfaces are better served at the endpoint device to enable the best responsiveness and/or mobility.

Virtualization is a great technology and it definitely creates new possibilities in terms of OS and application portability. This might be the right solution for Credit Suisse, given their user needs, sets of applications and data center configurations. Who can blame them for wanting to build on their past success. However, there is a bigger picture to consider the correct balance of computing models for particular usage models.