For example, there are VPN clients for the iPhone and iPad, Citrix Receiver and Wyse Pocket Cloud provide remote access to desktops and enterprise apps from smartphones and tablets, and Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7 devices can access Office, SharePoint and the like. Android phones using VMware's mobile hypervisor will hit the market sometime in 2011, and Android-based tablets will be eligible for the same technology.
IDC chief analyst Frank Gens says the firm's latest research predicts shipments of smartphones and tablets combined will surpass sales of PCs in the next 18 months..
Managing multiple devices
Desktop virtualization makes it possible to host the "desktop" on servers, making them accessible remotely from thin clients, PCs, and potentially smaller devices like phones, tablets and netbooks.
While this server-hosted desktop virtualization model will enable employees to access applications from a greater number of devices, it won't accommodate all types of users, particularly those with a need for greater processing power and offline access.
That's where client-based hypervisors come in. A hypervisor installed on a PC allows installation of virtualized operating systems on the device itself, letting users run multiple workspaces on the same piece of hardware and giving them the option of swapping a VM from one computer to another. Benefits include the ability to harness the local device's computing power, while letting users work offline and sync changes to the server when an Internet connection is re-established.
Client hypervisors come in two varieties: one that installs virtual machines directly onto the computer's "bare metal," and another in which VMs are installed as guest operating systems on top of the host OS. Client hypervisors will be enticing to employees who need to run two operating systems, for example a Windows virtual machine on a Mac laptop.