Containers Expo Blog Authors: Automic Blog, XebiaLabs Blog, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit 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. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
"The Striim platform is a full end-to-end streaming integration and analytics platform that is middleware that covers a lot of different use cases," explained Steve Wilkes, Founder and CTO at Striim, 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 Calligo, an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy and security, has been named "Bronze 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. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalised support service from its globally located cloud plat...
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, will examine the regulations and provide insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence...
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 Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" 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. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sudarshan Krishnamurthi, a Senior Manager, Business Strategy, at Cisco Systems, discussed how IT and operational technology (OT) work together, as opposed to being in separate siloes as once was traditional. Attendees learned how to fully leverage the power of IoT in their organization by bringing the two sides together and bridging the communication gap. He also looked at what good leadership must entail in order to accomplish this, and how IT managers can be the ...
DX World EXPO, LLC., a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, discussed new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of security i...
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
"DX encompasses the continuing technology revolution, and is addressing society's most important issues throughout the entire $78 trillion 21st-century global economy," said Roger Strukhoff, Conference Chair. "DX World Expo has organized these issues along 10 tracks with more than 150 of the world's top speakers coming to Istanbul to help change the world."
"We provide IoT solutions. We provide the most compatible solutions for many applications. Our solutions are industry agnostic and also protocol agnostic," explained Richard Han, Head of Sales and Marketing and Engineering at Systena America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We are focused on SAP running in the clouds, to make this super easy because we believe in the tremendous value of those powerful worlds - SAP and the cloud," explained Frank Stienhans, CTO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We've been engaging with a lot of customers including Panasonic, we've been involved with Cisco and now we're working with the U.S. government - the Department of Homeland Security," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The financial services market is one of the most data-driven industries in the world, yet it’s bogged down by legacy CPU technologies that simply can’t keep up with the task of querying and visualizing billions of records. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Karthik Lalithraj, a Principal Solutions Architect at Kinetica, discussed how the advent of advanced in-database analytics on the GPU makes it possible to run sophisticated data science workloads on the same database that is housing the rich...
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...
What sort of WebRTC based applications can we expect to see over the next year and beyond? One way to predict development trends is to see what sorts of applications startups are building. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arin Sime, founder of WebRTC.ventures, discussed the current and likely future trends in WebRTC application development based on real requests for custom applications from real customers, as well as other public sources of information.
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.