VDI: Will Windows 7, Mobile Devices and iPads Lead to a Tipping Point?

Going into VMworld this year, I wanted to hear from customers and vendors the real state of desktop virtualization (also called virtual desktop infrastructure or VDI).  Server virtualization may have hit a tipping point in 2009 (with more virtual applications deployed than physical applications), but while VDI has been talked about a lot, actual customer adoption has been slow. The solutions for virtualizing desktops are continuing to improve and the management of end-user devices will become more important to IT organizations with the added dynamic of increased mobile and tablet usage.

VDI Deployments

There are customers that are deploying VDI today.  Call centers and other environments where the desktop environment is standardized are the low-hanging fruit for virtualization adoption.  The costs of VDI are getting better; everyone admits that until recently, there is was not significant CapEx savings, only OpEx.  In addition to improvements in price, many vendors are starting to put together solutions that are optimized for desktop virtualization solutions. Virtualization creates stress on infrastructure due to high performance requirements, one solution that specifically addresses this issue is FalconStor’s SAN Accelerator for VMware View.   FalconStor’s solution uses Flash-on-Storage-Controller (FOSC) which automates the optimization of the infrastructure to meet the virtualization performance requirements.  In the video clip below, FalconStor’s Chief Strategy Officer, Jim McNiel spoke about what he is hearing from companies about VDI.  One of the virtualization triggers for many IT organizations is the significant migration of moving to Windows 7.  For VMware, this transition is a foothold into trying to break Microsoft’s control of desktop environments.  In addition to Windows 7, VMware View 4.5 added offline support, Macs and vSphere 4.1 scalability.


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Moving to desktop virtualization provides IT organizations the opportunity to transform how they secure, backup and manage desktop environments.  That being said, there is still significant inertia in the way that companies do things today – it’s much easier to buy the next machine than to roll out a new way of doing things.  The improved pricing and solutions will move VDI forward, but it is more of an evolution than a revolution.

Is VMware going to deliver the Mobile ME in the cloud through Zimbra?  If your VDI client does the best job of managing your data, both private and commercial, then we have something interesting. Jim McNiel, FalconStor CSO

End-User Computing

The revolution in where and how employees access there data is coming.  In his keynote presentation at VMworld, Paul Maritz laid out an audacious goal of moving beyond simply virtualizing Windows desktops to providing a consistent end-user experience between mobile, tablet and desktop experiences.  For many people, the IT experience at home is better than it is at work.  As adoption rates of Android phones, iPhones, iPads and other tablet devices, this gap could continue to increase.  If the VMware ecosystem could deliver a consistent user experience across these various end-user devices, it could become a transformative tipping point for the virtualization of desktop and beyond.

CIOs that have not reviewed VDI or who have dismissed it in the past for deficiencies in price or functionality should consider revisiting the solutions available in the market.  Companies that implement a layer of abstraction with desktop virtualization will be better positioned to take advantage of the next change in end-user computing.

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  • Rsnell

    While this is a great solution, the cleanest and inevitable solution will be using MLC based solid-state drives as primary storage. The eliminates the additional complexity, cost, and power problems of these “multi-technological” approaches.

    WhipTail Tech manufactures a monolithic 2U storage array fully populated with MLC based SSDs. Our Racerunner OS manages the writes and wear across the drives to deliver 200,000 IOPS read and 250,000 IOPS write to virtualization workloads. WhipTail can scale 5,000 VDI users in a single 2U appliance drawing less than 180 watts of power for roughly $30 per user.

    With inline data deduplication and compression, customers will see a 10:1 reduction of capacity requirements for virtualization.

    Again, while this is an innovative approach, ultimately IT will stop trying accelerate slow hard disk drives and capitalize on the innovation and accomplishments WhipTail has made by offering a pure SSD array.

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    CIOs that have not reviewed VDI or who have dismissed it in the past for deficiencies in price or functionality should consider revisiting the solutions available in the market.

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