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Interview: Q&A with VDI Pioneer - Virtual Bridges

As we near the end of 2010, I've been wondering where the VDI market stands.  We've been told by the pundits throughout the year that VDI is set to explode.  We know that the desktop market is much larger than the server market, so the question isn't really if VDI can explode and become larger than the server virtualization market, it's really more like when.  We already know about the power and benefits that virtualization technology offers, and we can easily see how that technology can be wrapped up into the desktop market.  So, what's holding it back?  Is the technology not yet mature?  Are the current road blocks too dofficult to overcome?

To find out more about the VDI market, I sat down with one of the pioneers in this industry, Austin, TX based Virtual Bridges.  I recently had the pleasure to sit down with Jim Curtin, CEO of Virtual Bridges, to find out more about the company and the VDI market as a whole. 

VMblog:  Tell us, what is it about VDI that gets people excited?

Jim Curtin:  VDI is all about providing a better end user experience while easing the management burden.  The truth is, the end user experience is more complex than ever.  Users are not only asking employers to support a wide range of devices (iPad anyone?), but they also want mobile access, backup, 24x7 support and security.

As you can imagine, IT is challenged to handle it all, from both a cost and a resource perspective.  While the first generation of VDI solutions answered traditional server-hosted desktop use cases, newly released Gen 2 VDI solutions feature significant advancements that truly address today's dynamic desktop.  The latest VDI solutions not only provide a consistent hi-def end user experience, but they also deliver reduced costs, improved security and enhanced business continuity.  

VMblog:  Can you explain to us what you feel are the four most common use cases for VDI?

Curtin:  Organizations of all sizes are finding more and more use cases for VDI.  The most common include:  

  • Migration Challenges - We've received tremendous interest from our customers and prospects to help with migrations, such as Windows 7.  Organizations worldwide are struggling with the proliferation of applications and VDI is perfectly positioned to help ease the provisioning and management of these new initiatives.  VDI not only supports the roll out, but also helps with inventory, testing and remediation.
  • Massive PC Refresh/Upgrades Cycle - Organizations are turning to VDI to help break the never-ending treadmill of rip-and-replace every three to five years.  Many companies see desktop virtualization not only as a means to accelerate their client OS migrations but also as a more innovative way of delivering applications and desktops - and ultimately services.
  • Automate Desktop Provisioning and Management - VDI helps users seamlessly transition from one desktop to another.  Additionally, VDI helps secure these environments from a central location.
  • Multi-device Support - If the CEO comes to me and asks "how can I use my desktop on my iPad?" IT needs to be able to support that.  And with VDI, they can.  VDI provides a true desktop experience from any machine - users can login, create and access files, save documents, send an email or use the internet, just as they would from a stationary desktop.  Gen 2 VDI solutions extend this support to USB peripherals including scanners, printers, cameras and more, in both online and off-line VDI environements.


VMblog:  So tell us then, we keep hearing that VDI is a hot technology, so why hasn't it exploded yet?  What's holding it back?

Curtin:  The reality is that for too long, VDI has been too expensive, too complex and incomplete.  Traditional virtualization vendors have tried to take solutions that have been successful for servers and retro-fit them for the desktop.  It hasn't worked and as a result, they've given VDI a bad rap.  But the good news is independent vendors have brought some incredible solutions to market that really deliver.  Gen 2 VDI solutions offer a fresh approach to VDI, solving the cost, coverage and complexity pitfalls of the past and delivering VDI that's affordable, adoptable and adaptable.  We're on the edge - the explosion is coming.
 
VMblog:  Ok.  I have to ask.  What makes Virtual Bridges any different from the competition?

Curtin:  Virtual Bridges is the only company delivering Gen 2 VDI.  Our flagship product, Virtual Bridges VERDE, is an end-to-end virtual desktop infrastructure and management solution that combines online, offline and remote branch solutions.  We address the 3 C's - Cost, Complexity and Coverage - that for too long have eluded VDI customers.

  • Cost - VERDE is one-third the cost of alternate solutions
  • Complexity - VERDE is easy to deploy and manage; in fact, you can manage all desktops in your environment from a single console
  • Coverage - VERDE delivers a high-fidelity desktop experience to all users, whether online, offline, LAN, mobile or branch

Net/Net:  VERDE offers the flexibility and scale for today's mobile workforce - but at a competitive price point that benefits companies large and small

VMblog:  You guys have been talking about "Cloud Branch."  Can you tell us more about this?

Curtin:  Cloud Branch is all about freeing your branch offices from slow, unreliable WAN connections.  Simply put, our server connects directly to the VERDE Cluster and Gold Master Image repository, ensuring IT services are up and running for every employee at every branch -  delivering a native-PC experience all the time, even over choppy, unreliable networks.  Organizations benefit from higher performance and response times while maintaining centralized control of desktop images in the data center.


VMblog:  At this stage, what do you consider the biggest challenge for Virtual Bridges?

Curtin:  Plain and simple, we're David and we're going up against Goliath.  But it's a role we're excited to take on.  Some of the most innovative companies from the 90's are giants today.  And we see that pattern repeating.  Innovation is alive again, thriving at many smaller companies such as Virtual Bridges.  The momentum is building.  In the past year we've expanded our customer base significantly and continue to receive incredible support from our partners.  Goliath is a daunting opponent, but I like our chances.

Once again, I'd like to thank Virtual Bridges CEO, Jim Curtin, for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with me.

Published Thursday, November 18, 2010 5:05 AM by David Marshall
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