I was talking with a large enterprise today that has a remote access solution in place so that employees, not in the office, can access their applications from their home machine. So why, I asked, was BYOPC such a foreign concept? Think about it…a home machine is just another “unmanaged” device. This “unmanaged” device is simply requesting access to applications that will enable the employee to get her job done.
I think most organizations are over-thinking BYOPC. Yes, it may mean making more applications available to employees over Citrix XenApp (formerly Presentation Server, formerly Metaframe) or Microsoft Terminal Services, but it is not an entirely new architecture like people think. Most companies already have these types of solutions in place today for remote access and complex applications, so why not expand this implementation? Alternatively, many organizations are already looking at hosted desktop virtualization (also known as VDI) for contractors, offshore employees, call centers, etc., why not expand the implementation to provide a managed desktop environment to an employee-owned unmanaged device? I mean, isn’t this exactly what a contractor or an offshore employee has?
I know I am over-simplifying he technology underpinnings of (and the costs associated with) BYOPC, but the concept is not new. Yes, BYOPC will require you rethink the capacity of your remote access solution, but you don’t have to rethink the architecture. Honestly, my interest would be if Microsoft Direct Access can solve the capacity issues…what do you think?
CNET recently reported that Apple’s upcoming Snow Leopard OS will support Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. Why is this important for BYOPC? Because until this release, BYOPC presumed some amount of virtualization (in most cases desktop virtualization) to support the killer app — email. According to the CNET article, “Improved Exchange support will be integrated into Mail, iCal and Address Book in Snow Leopard, which means email, calendar appointments, to-do lists and contacts from Outlook will be viewable on your personal calendar, mail and address books. It also allows things like dragging and dropping contacts into iCal to schedule meetings, and your Mac will be able to discover time conflicts between personal and work calendars and change the meeting time and location.”
So, with virtualization no longer needed to support the killer app on a Mac, organizations will need to rethink how they will support users that want to use Mac’s in their native state for corporate activities. However, this is a huge step forward for employees wanting to use Mac’s in the corporate environment…IT can no longer hang their hat on email not being supported. This opens a few questions for me:
will IT shops have the proficiency to support the Mac?