The option to use virtual desktops is becoming more feasible, but stiff hardware requirements, steep licensing costs and cloud alternatives should give IT managers pause about the technology.
I'm keeping my Mac desktop systems, I'm dumping my Windows desktop system and
using a thin client and VMware's View 4 virtual desktop infrastructure for my
some ways, this is just a continuation of my Windows desktop evolution since
I've been running a Windows XP virtual machine on my Mac using Parallels
Desktop for just about a year (for Outlook access to my corporate e-mail account).
more I use Windows as a virtual machine in a LAN environment, the less need I see for me to
have a PC sitting at my desk. And if I worked in a midsize to large
organization, it would make even more sense to centralize the desktop
infrastructure in a data center. Instead of trying to remotely update hundreds
or thousands of desktop systems, the end-user OS and
application files could be configured and patched centrally.
latest desktop virtualization offering from VMware makes it possible to
virtualize workloads that were once practically immovable off of end-user
hardware. Using its own PCoIP, VMware enables View 4 to support as many as four
monitors. The proprietary protocol also increases the ways those monitors can
be positioned (some in landscape and some in portrait orientation), so that
graphics-intensive applications can be supported in a virtual desktop
not saying that virtual desktop infrastructure, or VDI, is the be-all-end-all
solution for fat client deployment. VDI still isn't a good fit for mobile users
or, for similar reasons having to do with network reliability, for
connect over slow WAN links. In addition, there
are plenty of high-value display-intensive applications that aren't well-suited
(yet) for virtualization, including video production.
am saying that VDI is a valid option to consider when replacing existing end-user
hardware. The most obvious choice for VDI are
large pools of stationary end users, such
as a call center or order processing department. But the improvements made in platforms
such as VMware View 4 make virtual desktops a reasonable deployment choice for
an even wider variety of end-user compute
even as the option to use virtual desktops becomes more feasible, there is an
underlying infrastructure requirement that dictates an evolutionary approach to
VDI implementation. Even though fat client hardware isn't deployed to the end
user in a VDI scenario, there are real hardware resources that must be added to
the data center to host the virtual desktop systems.
next hurdle to clear is licensing. As a reviewer, I don't actually buy the OS
and other client licenses that support my underlying infrastructure, and the
pricing for nearly all volume licensing is a trade secret to which I am not
privy. However, I am concerned with license costs and provisioning when it
comes to VDIo
say that it's going to get complicated is putting it mildly.
VDI is by no means the only technology that is evolving as a viable option for
providing end-user compute
resources. Cloud-based applications from a host of vendors, including Microsoft,
are emerging as a reasonable choice for providing business-critical
applications to end users without the obligation of providing and maintaining a
fleet of PCs (and/or Macs.)
all that said, I'm looking forward to my virtual desktop experience. So far,
the "instant on," centrally administered (albeit by me), super-speedy
data center hardware it avails me is putting a smile on my face.
Technical Director Cameron Sturdevant can be
reached at email@example.com.