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Desktop Virtualization

Desktop virtualization offers extraordinary payoffs that could cut total U.S. Defense Department information technology spending by up to 12 percent. Depending on legacy configurations, numerous approaches are available to achieve that rapidly—it is not a “bridge too far.” The technology is mature; it is a path that already has been paved by thousands of commercial firms.

Proceeding with desktop virtualization calls for altering the information technology infrastructure, which establishes how data centers connect via communication networks to millions of user devices. It calls for an architecture that is extensible to meet the diverse needs of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. Projects to install desktop virtualization must enable a migration path that goes from the costly “as is” configurations to what will evolve into a low budget “to be” environment.

Desktop virtualization potentially can reduce the Defense Department’s information technology spending by huge amounts. The total population of Department of Defense client computers comprises more than three million computers. Applying desktop virtualization to this population delivers operating savings as well as capital cost reductions.

The purpose of desktop virtualization is to free information technology management from more than three decades of labor-intensive client computing that was device-centered and not network-centered. The Defense Department now should embark in a direction that will shift the support of user computing to enterprise clouds, which can support client computing from a much smaller number of data centers over the network to a much larger number of thin- and zero-client end-user devices.

The savings from desktop virtualization are attractive. The technology for installing it is mature. Thousands of commercial firms have demonstrated how to do that successfully. There is no reason why the Defense Department should not proceed with desktop virtualization without further delay.

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