Virtualization Technology News and Information
Xangati: VDI Goes from Exploratory to Mandatory

What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2011?  Find out in this series exclusive.

Contributed Article By Alan Robin, CEO, Xangati   

VDI Goes from Exploratory to Mandatory

Up to now, VDI has been akin to a science project for IT. IT has been reviewing its purpose, formulating hypotheses about how it will work in their particular environment and considering the various variables. But the truth of the matter is there is one critical variable for VDI that supersedes all others. And that variable - the end user - will be the driving force pushing VDI projects from the exploratory to mandatory level over the next 12 months.

Given that, I have a three-part prediction for 2011. All of them focus on the biggest variable in any VDI project - the end user. Your company may already be in one of these stages - or experiencing a piece of it - but by the end of the year, I predict it will be inescapable.

In short, VDI moves from a proposal to a ‘must-have' in 2011 and here are a few of the reasons I see why:

1. Mobile devices are pushing the limits of ubiquitous computing

The VDI movement is already being well fed with the growing plethora of mobile devices - including smart phones and tablets. More than 30 new tablets were announced or delivered in 2010 alone. These advances - coupled with VDI - mark the entry into the era of ubiquitous computing - where we now have the capability to provide access to any type of application - business or otherwise - anytime and anywhere on the device of your choice. Email access alone is status quo and does not address progressive business needs.

2. Users will be the drivers for VDI's transformation

We will see - and are already seeing in some cases - a user ‘revolt.' This revolt will push IT toward the next stage of VDI as users demand the ability to conduct all of their business needs from any device they choose. Whatever the device du jour happens to be, you know that users will want it, and they will want seamless access to all of their business applications on it. VDI can make that happen. In the future, you will be forced to adapt to employees' preferred devices, as they knock on your door - or email, text or tweet - wanting to know why they can't use an iPad - where they could do all of their job and access the corporate line of business apps - as opposed to doing a very miniscule portion of their job through email.

3. Increasing pressure on IT for VDI performance

Sorry, guys, but you can expect to be in the VDI hot seat in 2011. The good news is that users and your exec management - they're users, too! - will be highly motivated to assist you and make the solution work. A customer recently described the business potential to his executive team, effectively receiving a response of  "Why didn't we have this yesterday?"

To make it all work, people across the board organizationally will be motivated to think about management of VDI up front and not as an after thought. New technology innovations require new management, and VDI is no exception. Your end users won't tolerate availability or performance degradation even when dealing with cutting edge computing device.  The entire virtual desktop infrastructure has to be comprehensively tracked - desktops, clients, hosts, storage, networks, etc. - and a real-time understanding of how they interact is essential to delivering optimal performance.  Conversely, when an end-user issue arises you need to have a framework that allows the end-user to help you understand the environment in which he experienced a problem - because his interactions are fleeting and may be entirely different when he logs in again to the same infrastructure.

In Conclusion

In my opinion, these are the biggest drivers for moving VDI forward. That said, don't overlook the potential CAPEX and OPEX benefits that made VDI of interest as a science project in the first place - namely, its cost savings and operational efficiencies.  They're clearly still important pieces - and vital for IT to control equipment expenditures and to focus on managing users rather than devices.

But this year - as the VDI science project becomes real world - the user is the driver. So fasten your seat belts. We're in for quite a ride.

About the Author

Prior to Xangati, Robin was President & CEO of netVmg, which was acquired by Internap. He was also previously VP of Sales for CacheFlow, which is now Blue Coat Systems, leading that company through a highly-successful IPO. Robin also held VP of Sales positions at Ipsilon, which was acquired by Nokia, and Bay Networks/Wellfleet Communications. Robin holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Kenyon College and an MBA in Finance from Fairleigh-Dickenson University.

Published Friday, December 17, 2010 5:00 AM by David Marshall
art king - December 17, 2010 11:33 AM

VDI goes from Exploratory to Mandatory

Alan’s points are very on-target. In my organization we are packaging VDI for global production. It is a sub-project to enabling a third managed tier in our architecture composed of Pads/Smartphones (first two tiers are Windows and Macintosh). We are moving with great deliberation around the operational framework as the end user ecosystem expectation and demands cannot be ignored.

What do I mean by “cannot be ignored”? In the past, how many of us have not built or thought through all the necessary framework components due to budget/time constraints and then paid later due to blindness of performance issues and simply being unable to adequately support the user community? Well, guess what? In the present climate, your user community will give you ONE TIME AT BAT to do it right and if you cut corners a great strategy can go down in flames via word of mouth. The consumerization of IT and the great accessibility/performance of public web properties that we use in our personal lives have led all of us to demand much more out of the chute than just a raw unmanaged service.

It is not viable to make a bare bones VDI environment and then wait for first crisis to get funding to add other necessary framework components (I know we have all done this at one point in our careers!). We think that our organization wants us to rollout VDI and have much of the infrastructure/processes in-place on DAY ONE to provide a good experience. We also are developing “learning” processes for support engineers and service desk to not only have the tools they need but also to leverage those tools to provide ability to close calls at first call with the service desk.

If done right, users will be attracted to migrate to VDI via great internal buzz. Mess it up and the negative internal buzz will haunt the initiative.      

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