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VDI Gets a Second Look. Blame the iPad.

It's actually a good thing that VDI is coming under the scrutinizing eyes of an ever-growing audience, because the sooner people develop a better understanding of this widely discussed and highly touted technology, the better it will be for all parties.

VDI goes against the grain of most new technologies by not initially presenting itself as a big-time money saver that guarantees overnight ROIs and drastically reduced total costs of operations. What's turning off a lot of potential users as they begin investigating VDI possibilities is the notion that internal performance will suffer so much that they will have to do forklift upgrades in their data centers to accommodate VDI infrastructures.

They are turned off by I/OPS "boot storms" they fear will rage through their infrastructures when workers log on to their VDI desktops in the morning, return from lunch, and shut down for the day. These highly disruptive occurrences can last up to two hours, during which time users are subject to significantly degraded system performance as I/OPs demands soar by up to 10 times their normal levels.

Clearly, this is not your father's server virtualization that was so easy to understand and so satisfyingly cost-effective.

Not surprisingly, virtualization and storage vendors are keen to address these negative perceptions, and that's what led me to Fadi Albatal, VP of marketing for FalconStor. This company has morphed from its early days as an iSCSI SAN alternative into a prominent disk-based data protection vendor that emphasizes its remote office protection and disaster recovery capabilities. Albatal is quick to note the efficiency that solid state disks provide in VDI environments, saying SSDs offer a performance ratio of 30-1 over competing technologies. "Thats a huge gain in I/OPS," he states.

He also points out the management benefits of VDI, which allow desktops to be managed, backed up, and recovered centrally, and goes on to note the significant savings that come from utilizing thin clients instead of the traditional PC- and workstation-based desktops. He further cites the remote access advantages of VDI that allow, for example, multi-national law firms to access legal data that cannot be allowed to physically leave some countries or certain regulated environments. Turning to operations, Albatal says remote access includes the ability to service various remote desktops, and even replace their data if they are lost or stolen.

However, even with all these attractive benefits, many tight-fisted top managers have held out against VDI--until the iPad burst on the scene, and then suddenly, these high-level execs were able to access all their favorite apps on their new favorite access device. "That's what turned on the lights in CIOs' heads," Albatal says.

Question: How does top technical management in your company view VDI?

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 10/18/2010 at 12:48 PM


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