A while ago I posted a desktop conceptual architecture. Since then I have been doing a lot more thinking about the desktop and its overall place in the IT and business environment. So, firstly I have changed the title to an end user computing conceptual architecture (a bit more of a mouthful, but more accurate I believe). Secondly, I’ve changed my picture slightly to include security and security management in it. These were elements that I had overlooked in my original thinking.
Or conceptual architectures? This question – and my answer – was prompted by Peter Bakker‘s post Factual Architecture! Basically, my understanding of Peter’s criticism is that he thinks that concepts are too abstract – don’t connect with audiences, and don’t connect with reality. He contrasts this with “factual architectures” – whatever they are. I’ll respond directly to Peter’s post on his site, but here I’d like to defend the notion of conceptual architectures and conceptual analysis in more detail than I have done in my two other posts.
I’m thinking hard about desktops, desktop technology and desktop architecture at the moment. With some of the key technology trends of the next few years being the increased power and ubiquity of mobile devices, the post-PC era and the consumerisation of IT, everybody working in IT strategy and architecture should be. What I have found interesting, however, is the lack of a common understanding of what a desktop is. (In fact I’m fairly sure that “desktop” is the wrong term. Perhaps I should be talking about “end user computing”, or “client computing” or “workspaces”. I’ll stick with “desktop” for the moment though). As we move from traditional physical desktops running operating systems and installed applications towards virtual desktops with virtualised applications to Desktop-as-a-Service it helps to have a conceptual framework to discuss these models and understand where they are the same and where they are different. In this post I want to describe the conceptual components of a desktop architecture, and then build on this in subsequent posts to analyse the different ways we can implement desktops and desktop architectures.