mobile desktop virtualization

Mobile desktop virtualization is the delivery of a virtual machine (VM) image that runs business applications to a tablet or smartphone.

Mobile desktop virtualization is often used in vertical industries, such as healthcare, that have a mobile workforce and strict compliance regulations. The VM is managed by IT administrators, while the mobile device itself may be part of a BYOD or COPE mobile device management (MDM) program. Instead of using a mobile app, the end user provides the necessary authentication to launch a VM client. The client uses a secure connection on the Internet to request delivery of the virtual machine from a remote client. 

To the end user, the software applications on the VM -- as well as the operating system (OS) and the data associated with the applications -- appear as if they are being served from the mobile device. In reality, they are all being served from a data center. When the session ends, the applications are no longer available and any sensitive data from the session is stored in the data center and erased from the device.

Mobile desktop virtualization not only addresses security concerns in the event the device is lost or stolen, it also provides the end user with an application's full functionality. Critics of this approach maintain that until legacy applications become more mobile-friendly, native apps for mobile devices are still necessary. They point out that most business applications are designed for mouse input with right click context menus and drag and drop functionality that can be cumbersome (or impossible) on a mobile device. 



This was last updated in July 2014

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