Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Pat Romanski, PagerDuty Blog, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Article

Desktop Virtualization: Right Idea – Wrong Tool

Providing the centralized image management that IT needs as well as the real experience of a PC that users demand

Financial analysts, industry analysts, and CIO-focused publications all agree that Desktop Virtualization will be one of the most strategic business initiatives over the next few years. Many organizations have a VDI implementation or project in place solely because of the success they have had with server virtualization. However, Desktop Virtualization has a completely different value proposition than server virtualization. Server virtualization is all about CAPEX (capital expenditure) reduction while Desktop Virtualization is all about OPEX (operation expenditure) reduction. There are three dollars of OPEX spent for every PC acquisition dollar spent.

The whole value proposition is of Desktop Virtualization centralizing desktop images and management in the data center or network operations center. In other words, IT manages one copy of Windows and one copy of each application centrally instead of thousands of copies of Windows and applications on each PC.

Because it was the first Desktop Virtualization technology to market, VDI became synonymous with Desktop Virtualization. VDI was an evolution of server virtualization (in the case of VMware) or application virtualization (in the case of Citrix) to host and run Windows on a VM centrally instead of leveraging the local computational power of a laptop or desktop. VDI is great for a specific use case: users on a high speed LAN that have relatively static images and are using thin client devices. For the 98% of users that are on laptops and desktops (410M PCs shipping in 2010 as compared to 6M thin clients), VDI is simply the wrong tool for the job.

Users want the same or better PC experience as the PCs they are used to having. They want to use multimedia apps and they want to install their own apps, all while needing to operate over a WAN type of connection or disconnected from the network completely. This is especially the case as PCs become more and more powerful (Moore's Law) for essentially the same price.

IT wants to centralize the management of PCs and not control the hardware. This enables IT to act as a service provider and provide a Desktop-as-a-Service offering. Since server virtualization provided massive CAPEX savings, there is a natural assumption that desktop virtualization will provide the same CAPEX savings, while also providing the OPEX savings that occurs when you only have to manage one copy of Windows and one copy of each application (for everyone in an organization).

Here's where the wrong tool for the right job enters the story. While VDI is able to provide centralized management, it does not get down to single image management due to the lack of user personalization. Further, the infrastructure required for VDI has left most IT groups with sticker shock.

With the current density of approximately 50 users per server, the server infrastructure requirements if for 100 servers necessary to handle a VDI implementation for 5000 users. High speed storage and all the networking gear to connect everything together also tends to add up quite quickly too. As you can probably imagine, the ongoing power and cooling costs of that much infrastructure is not cheap either.

That covers the IT side of things, but the most important element here is user experience. Simply put, if the user experience is not better than or equal to the experience they have today, the solution will never succeed outside of pilot mode. More and more information is being delivered via video. Video chat and softphones are becoming more prevalent. Users have a plethora of personal and work applications that may include design and graphical applications that simply do not work well in a VDI environment. Working over a low speed network connection or disconnected from the network is becoming more common and introduces even more challenges in creating a working VDI environment.

Today, nearly all laptops shipping have at least a dual core processor, 4GB of RAM, and plenty of hard drive space. Soon, they will have quad core processors, more RAM, and enough hard disk space for all your photos, movies, and music combined - all for relatively the same price point.

What's needed is a solution that provides IT with the ability to realize OPEX gains by centralizing desktop management, but not have to empty their CAPEX budget in the process. Of course this solution also has to work for the users by enabling them to take advantage of the native performance of a PC and have the ability to work from any location - connected via a network or not. This is really what Desktop Virtualization is all about and why Desktop Virtualization is much bigger than just one of its use cases, VDI.

Assuming that eventually all forms of DV use the same images and VDI solves issues around persistent personalization without storing a copy of Windows and applications for each user, IT departments can centralize all forms of virtual desktops (VDI, laptops, and desktops) and manage one copy of Windows and one copy of each app for the entire organization.

At that point, Desktop Virtualization is really just a better way of doing desktop management. It's better not just because there is single image management instead of managing thousands of different laptops and desktops, but because of all the other benefits that occur when PC images are centrally stored and managed.

Disaster Recovery (DR) is one of those benefits as the primary copy of the PC image is always in the data center or network operations center. Additionally, DR with centralized images means an exact replica of the lost or damaged machine - not just the files. A PC image can even be moved temporarily to a virtual machine so that the user can continue to remain productive while his or her new machine is procured. An exact replica of the original PC image will be placed on the new PC along with any changes the user made while accessing via a virtual machine.

In addition, if the Desktop Virtualization solution integrates image layering into centralized image management, additional benefits or use cases are enabled including in-place Windows 7 migration and help-desk break fix operations.

With in-place Windows 7 migration, IT just assigns a new Windows 7 base image layer to a user and the new layer is sent down to the PC in the background. Once downloaded, the user will receive a message to reboot into Windows 7 and will have their Windows personalization and personal data in place. IT does not have to touch the PC and the user's downtime is only around 30 minutes.

Break-fix is accomplished on the centralized image by replacing the operating system or application layer while leaving all other layers on the PC intact. Since there is no troubleshooting with this procedure, the technician can normally follow a script as part of a "level one" help desk team instead of a Windows troubleshooting expert.

In all of these cases, the image should be able to be run on the endpoint (not on a hypervisor), so users can work offline, use processor-intensive applications, and enjoy predictable, native PC performance regardless of network connectivity.

Desktop Virtualization is really a game-changing technology, but like other early technologies, it is going through some growing pains.

Centralizing image management via layering is definitely the next way of doing desktop management, and when done right it provides great use cases including patch and image management, complete PC back-up and recovery, in-place Windows 7 migration, and centralized break-fix capabilities. This is really what Desktop Virtualization is all about and why it is much bigger than just one of its use cases, VDI.

For Desktop Virtualization to be truly successful, it will need to provide the centralized image management that IT needs as well as the real experience of a PC that users demand - all without breaking the data center budget.

More Stories By Barry Phillips

Barry Phillips is responsible for Marketing and Product Management at Panzura. He was most recently the CMO of Egnyte. Prior to Egnyte, he was the CMO of Wanova (acquired by VMware) where he led Marketing, Sales, and Business Development. He came to Wanova from Citrix Systems, where he was the Group Vice President and GM of the Delivery Center Product Group.

Barry has held executive roles at Net6, Nortel Networks, Everypath, and Cranite Systems. He began his career in United States Naval Aviation where he logged over 1,000 hours in a P-3C Orion. He holds a Bachelors of Computer Science from the United States Naval Academy and a Masters of Computer Science from UCLA.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, will introduce two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a mu...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SourceForge has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SourceForge is the largest, most trusted destination for Open Source Software development, collaboration, discovery and download on the web serving over 32 million viewers, 150 million downloads and over 460,000 active development projects each and every month.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Nihon Micron will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Nihon Micron Co., Ltd. strives for technological innovation to establish high-density, high-precision processing technology for providing printed circuit board and metal mount RFID tags used for communication devices. For more inf...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ryobi Systems will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ryobi Systems Co., Ltd., as an information service company, specialized in business support for local governments and medical industry. We are challenging to achive the precision farming with AI. For more information, visit http:...
SYS-CON Events announced today that mruby Forum will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. mruby is the lightweight implementation of the Ruby language. We introduce mruby and the mruby IoT framework that enhances development productivity. For more information, visit http://forum.mruby.org/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Mobile Create USA will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Mobile Create USA Inc. is an MVNO-based business model that uses portable communication devices and cellular-based infrastructure in the development, sales, operation and mobile communications systems incorporating GPS capabi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Keisoku Research Consultant Co. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Keisoku Research Consultant, Co. offers research and consulting in a wide range of civil engineering-related fields from information construction to preservation of cultural properties. For more information, vi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Daiya Industry specializes in orthotic support systems and assistive devices with pneumatic artificial muscles in order to contribute to an extended healthy life expectancy. For more information, please visit https://www.daiyak...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusic will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Fusic Co. provides mocks as virtual IoT devices. You can customize mocks, and get any amount of data at any time in your test. For more information, visit https://fusic.co.jp/english/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interface Corporation will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Interface Corporation is a company developing, manufacturing and marketing high quality and wide variety of industrial computers and interface modules such as PCIs and PCI express. For more information, visit http://www.i...
Elon Musk is among the notable industry figures who worries about the power of AI to destroy rather than help society. Mark Zuckerberg, on the other hand, embraces all that is going on. AI is most powerful when deployed across the vast networks being built for Internets of Things in the manufacturing, transportation and logistics, retail, healthcare, government and other sectors. Is AI transforming IoT for the good or the bad? Do we need to worry about its potential destructive power? Or will we...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enroute Lab will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enroute Lab is an industrial design, research and development company of unmanned robotic vehicle system. For more information, please visit http://elab.co.jp/.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Greg Gorman is the Director, IoT Developer Ecosystem, Watson IoT, will provide a short tutorial on Node-RED, a Node.js-based programming tool for wiring together hardware devices, APIs and online services in new and interesting ways. It provides a browser-based editor that makes it easy to wire together flows using a wide range of nodes in the palette that can be deployed to its runtime in a single-click. There is a large library of contributed nodes that help so...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real r...