Despite client virtualization becoming increasingly popular, there is still much confusion about the different technologies and how they will \n\nplay out in the enterprise. Many firms still believe that client virtualization is a security risk or that a single technology will help them improve \n\nmanageability, empower remote workers, and virtualize all their applications.Client virtualization includes four technologies: local desktop virtualization; hosted desktop virtualization; local application virtualization; and \n\nhosted application virtualization. Together these technologies provide IT ops professionals better manageability; data and device security; more \n\ntools to comply with regulations; and business continuity in the event of disaster, loss, or workforce interruption. [ For timely virtualization news and expert advice on strategy, see CIO.com's Virtualization Drilldown section. ]However, in their quest for a shorter sales cycle, vendors often ignore these benefits and make false claims about potential cost savings. As \n\na result, some users fear that client virtualization isn't all it was cracked up to be. Based on our conversations with IT ops professionals, there are five common misunderstandings about client virtualization: Myth No. 1: A single technology will meet all of my needs. Users still expect that a single client virtualization technology will solve \n\nall of their problems, from lowering the cost of managing the desktop environment, to providing better remote access, to insuring business \n\ncontinuity. The reality? To meet these objectives, a variety of client virtualization technologies is needed. At a high level, local application \n\nvirtualization lowers the cost of supporting traditionally installed applications. Hosted application virtualization enables problematic legacy \n\napplications to be separated from other applications. Local desktop virtualization allows IT to run a managed desktop environment on an \n\nunmanaged machine. Hosted desktop virtualization enables anyone with network connectivity to access a corporate desktop. However, these \n\ntechnologies become much more interesting when you combine them. For example, combining hosted desktop and application virtualization \n\nprovides the benefits listed above at a lower cost than implementing only one of the technologies. \n\nMyth No. 2: Desktop virtualization is a security risk. Perhaps you've been told that desktop virtualization is less secure than a \n\nphysical desktop\u2014in reality, it actually enables a more secure client environment. Most importantly, hosted desktop virtualization \n\nremoves all of the applications and data from the endpoint device. This means that your data security is immediately improved because you no \n\nlonger need to worry about devices with sensitive data being lost or stolen. Furthermore, local desktop virtualization allows your IT staffers \n\nextensive control of the desktop environment by locking it down more than was possible before. This is made possible by giving the worker \n\naccess to the host OS, where he or she can install software that is not allowed in the virtualized corporate environment. However, what's most \n\ninteresting is how desktop virtualization is bringing consumerization to life by making employee-owned devices a secure option in the enterprise. \n\nMore on this with executives from Google and Citrix at Forrester's Security Forum next month. \n\nMyth No. 3: Virtualizing applications is just another way to package applications. Many companies think that application \n\nvirtualization is just another format to package your applications in. Think again. Local application virtualization isolates applications so that, \n\ngenerally speaking, they can't natively interact with other applications. This is a great feature because it prevents application conflicts. On the \n\nother hand, it also means that your IT staff responsible for application packaging must understand application interdependencies to get them \n\nfunctional in this format. Because applications run in isolated bubbles, you must explicitly define when applications are permitted to \n\ncommunicate across these boundaries. Most organizations will see hundreds of dependencies that must be defined to assure applications will \n\nwork in this environment. \nMyth No. 4: The business case for desktop virtualization has to be around cost. Be warned: The nine-month ROI that vendors \n\nmight advertise for their latest and greatest technologies can actually average three or four years, according to our clients that have crunched the \n\nnumbers for their hosted desktop virtualization deployments. Why? Because the upfront infrastructure and licensing costs far outweigh the \n\nupfront benefits. So, although your CIO will ask for an ROI model when budgeting for a new technology, it shouldn't be the focal point of the \n\nproposal. Make sure to present the other more significant benefits, such as reduced support costs or improved data security, to make your \n\ncase. We have found that companies that take into account all of the long-term benefits from desktop virtualization succeed, while those that \n\nstick to the numbers are stuck with management responding, "Try again next year." \n\nMyth No. 5: All of the ideal user scenarios can be legally implemented. It would be wonderful if your existing operating system and \n\nbusiness application licenses allowed you to take advantage of the world of virtualization\u2014for example, workers taking their OS or \n\napplications on the road to use on whichever computing device was most convenient at the time.(see endnote 3) Alas, you cannot\u2014OS \n\nand application licensing haven't caught up to the technologies available today. For example, local application virtualization makes it possible for \n\nIT staffers to put applications on a removable media device for users to carry around with them to any device. Virtualization also makes it \n\npossible to timeshare applications, giving morning shift workers access to applications when they are in the office and evening workers access \n\nto these same applications. However, these scenarios are generally not permitted by your software license\u2014which is often bound to a \n\nspecific user or computing device. Make sure to read your licensing agreements carefully so you don't become the next victim of \n\nnoncompliance.\n\nNatalie Lambert is a Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, where she serves Infrastructure & Operations professionals. She will be presenting \n\nat Forrester's Security Forum, Sept. 9-10, in San Diego, Calif. \n Do you Tweet? Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline.