I recently attended VMware Partner Exchange. Market demand for technology for End User Computing (EUC) from VMware and the allied partners is an obvious trend. This is coupled with recent advances in maturity and performance. Rapidly improving capabilities in configuration managment and monitoring are further accelerating this trend. This makes desktop virtualiation with VMware View an emerging mainstream technology.
As corporate, educational, and government entities accelerate adoption of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), many still ask why? After all, with a big volume discount, office worker desktop systems can be obtained for a few hundred US dollars. These are usually produced by big, stable companies that can provide reasonable long term support, custom image loads, and decent hardware at a reasonable cost. Given that situation, why question the way things have been done in providing a way to get your work done?
The rap that’s been around since the Server Based Computing (SBC) WinFrame days (or perhaps the X-Terminal epoch, even) goes something like this:
- Consolidate your desktops onto fewer physical systems that are of superior hardware quality for better reliability and improved performance.
- Centralize your managment efforts on these systems and reap cost savings by administering dozens or hundreds of desktops at once.
- Abstract the presentation of sensitive and valuable data from the ability to access that data, increasing security and control.
And it’s true… where it’s true. In the early days of SBC, many battles were waged to get apps to behave, user profiles to load, roam, or unload on command, and to keep performance and responsiveness at reasonable levels. But when those battles were joined and the effort applied, in many cases the results were positive and a beach-head was established in the war for the desktop dollars. Today, the SBC technologies are responsible for landing a huge percentage of customers in the enterprise and government space. As the desktop virtualization race heats up and the vision is being delivered upon, the pendulum is swinging towards using the Virtualization fulcrum to move an industry. By stacking our desktop blocks on top of a hypervisor, not only do we get to have the features we’ve always been promised, it keeps getting better every quarter!
Linked clones, VAAI storage arrays, automatic pool recomposition, storage pool balancing, application virtualization, and access from tablets and smartphones all combine into a particularly attractive solution. Integrate load balancing, HA, DRS, profile management, storage replication and the story just keeps getting better. Stack on compliance and configuration reporting and control, monitoring, root cause analytics and you’ve got a winner.
So enterprises and government agencies agree. The roll-outs keep rolling. The numbers keep growing. The technology keeps improving. What’s next?
Box IT Up
Service Providers are getting into the game. A nibble here, a couple bites there, here a startup, there a startup. The first ripples are starting to appear. The task at hand is to package that great environment, that vision of automatic ease, into repeatable, elastic workload modules. Vendors are automating the entire process for a single tenant solution, then using higher level managers, such as vCloud director, to allow for multi-tenant secure separation & management.
These technologies are out there today. What will happen as consumers of this technology get comfortable is that we’ll see those Service Providers extend their realms from the thousands of desktops of today into the tens of thousands and beyond. Replication, multi-site failover, disaster recovery and avoidance are all simply features that will serve to differentiate the various providers out there as they build out.