Should You Hold Off on VDI?
Brian Madden has an interesting discussion
going about virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI,
also known as hosted desktop). His premise is
that while Citrix is generally thought to be ahead
of VMware in the VDI space, owing much to its
work with Presentation Server (now XenApp) over
the past 15 or so years, VMware's recent announcements
about VMware View and vClient will help it take
the lead, with Citrix trailing.
Brian then goes on to list what he sees as the
five technical requirements for a comprehensive,
usable VDI solution that will truly take off.
Next he compares solutions from each vendor (Citrix
and VMware) and how they stack up in providing
that functionality. He concludes that Citrix is
1/5 of the way there, and VMware, when its announced
upgrades have been implemented, is 2/5 or 3/5
of the way there. Here are his five must-haves:
- We need remote display protocols that support
- We need an offline / client-based capability.
- We need to be able to let many users share
a common disk image.
- We need real user environment management
/ user workspace management.
- We need users to be able to install / package
their own applications.
All that analysis leads to what I think is a
startling conclusion. Since they both fall so
far short, Brian states: "Unless you have a very
specific tactical need, DO NOT USE VDI TODAY!"
Brian goes on to state that in his opinion, all
five capabilities will be available by mid-2010,
but to avoid VDI until then.
This especially interested me since we're doing
a VDI cover package in our December/January print
issue, including a thorough review of XenDesktop
and an analysis of the current VDI landscape.
I disagree with Brian's premise while agreeing
with his facts. VDI has come a long way in a short
time, and has significant benefits for an organization,
from the admins to the end users. Yeah, it's far
from perfect, as he points out. But it's like
saying, "Don't use Hyper-V yet because it doesn't
have live migration." Although it's true that
Hyper-V won't offer live migration until 2010,
it still has many benefits for the right organization,
and shouldn't be dismissed because it's not feature-complete
Hey, my iPhone doesn't yet offer turn-by-turn
navigation with the GPS, but I'm not about to
ditch it because of that missing feature.
Questions for you, readers:
- How important is the offline capability in
a VDI solution for your environment?
- How important is it for users to install/package
their own applications?
It seems to me that keeping users from doing
just that is a benefit, rather than a drawback,
of VDI. Since Brian lists it as a key feature,
I'm interested to know, from your perspective,
if you agree or disagree.
your thoughts, or post them here.
Posted by Keith Ward on 12/01/2008 at 12:48 PM