In the last years the consolidation on one hand and the standardization on the other has lifted the expectations of the users to always on/endless power. Even compute intensive applications moved into the cloud. With the challenge of the “multiple” device user experience many consumers of IT experienced the lack of integration. So applications like “dropbox”, “box.net” or even the project “Octopus” from VMware have been generated to consolidate information on one single source.
Enterprises have troubles with that since there is a layer of trust and control witch may leave the ship. So to take in account that we use more than one device, depending on the personal lifestyle and the expectations from culture or business to be online more often, the devices need to be “always-on”, trusted and reliable.
We call this user-experience, which VMware has taken in account and developed the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). This let run you desktop on a server and “beam” the screen to your device.
There comes a lot of advantages with that.
- First and foremost, it can run all the time. There is no need to shut down at all. I am not talking about sleep, it runs. This implies that Outlook rules i.e. will be executed always.
- Second, it is fast. Since all the VDI desktops run on the same HW or close communication is fast. Resources can be shared, Infrastructure is no longer carried away when the user is inactive. Others can be leverage the remaining power.
- Third, administration can be done much more easily. Since I used the VDI for business, there was at least one incident where our AntiVirus provider has sent a corrupted update, which leads to a block of most of the laptops. Also the VDI was affected. However the VDI has been shut down, reinitialized and than rebooted to recover. More than 1000 virtual laptops has been restored in minutes with involving 2 employees. The physical exchange of the profile has taken days and involved most of the IT specialist in the field.
- Forth, security is key in enterprises, even the VDI is not free from fraud, at least it can be better controlled by the admins and security patches are installed in one big shot.
- Fifth, backup it is all in the DC, most of the information is redundant, so de-duplication like Avamar or DataDomain can be much more effective, which also restore is fast, since it happens in the DC.
So what is the catch? In my experience with the VDI it is hard for offline travelers and on very low latency connections.
To use it for my daily work enables me to use my apps like Outlook, PowerPoint salseforce.com on my iMac, iPAD and MacBook, at the same time, no boot time delay, easy access and 100% support of the IT department.
Even my iPAD is not the best device for producing work it can leverage all the legacy application I have to use and provide me thru the VDI the best infrastructure to run my desktop: an vBlock from VCE.
Many IT experts I have spoken see that VDI is the key for BYOD and demands of an Enterprise, but the infrastructure has to be flexible enough to compensate for the enterprise demand resources, since it is not easy to predict the amount of desktops running at the same time. This is not exactly true since VMware and VCE has good models and experience to design this.
My strong believe is that with the user centric IT, VDI will be the future of enterprise desktop management and it will deliver the power of the enterprise to the User´s device, quick, easy and reliable.