Is VDI the highest common denominator?

The purist view (no pun intended, VMware!) of the server-based computing market is that organisations should segment their users by type and work performed, and select various different desktop deployment vectors depending on the requirements of their users. An example would be using session-based desktops (Microsoft Terminal/ Remote Desktop Services, Citrix XenApp) for task workers who basically use Office, but hosted virtual desktops (VMware View, Citrix XenDesktop) for power users who need customised desktops, applications which won’t work in a shared session environment – and maybe application virtualisation for mobile users.

This is a strategy I subscribe to in the larger companies we deal with; however, I am seeing a different take amongst smaller and mid-market sized organisations. We’ve had a massive amount of success in the server virtualisation space with VMware, and our customers have really skilled up. Whilst I think they recognise that perhaps a session-based solution might represent lowest capital outlay and operational cost, they don’t want to learn another platform – and then manage that on an ongoing basis, as they just don’t have sufficient people within IT.

That makes a VMware-based desktop delivery strategy a compelling solution for tactical desktop deployments – in much the same way we started onserver virtualisation with the low utilisation, administration-type workloads rather than the mission critical ones. This is what has led me to sign us up with Panologic, who make a  Zero Client specifically for VMware vSphere, which operates with or without View. It’s a nice straightforward solution for deployment of virtual desktops into an existing VMware environment, with minimal consultative or administrative overhead. They only draw 3.5 Watts of power – and damn, they look cool!

Cool, shiny zero client!

I know people have been saying since 2007 that ‘this’ is the year of VDI – judging by the fact that our VDI workshop next week is over-subscribed times 3, we’re finally getting there!



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