The Past, Present and Future of VDI
Yesterday, I chatted with Ruben Spruijt and Mark Bowker about VDI during an enlightening 1-hour webinar. We felt the conversation was important because historically VDI technology has faced numerous obstacles to its success, preventing many companies from deploying it. Namely, it has generally been known to have high total cost of ownership (TCO), many performance issues, and a high level of complexity.
Despite the challenges, the majority of companies are still planning on deploying VDI in the next 12-24 months according to leading technology analyst - The Enterprise Strategy Group. And when we polled the attendees during the webinar, a whopping 70% answered yes. Of those, 36% are planning on doing so in the next 3-6 months! This isn’t really a surprise. After all, companies still see the promise of VDI delivering benefits, with the top 3 being: simplified IT control, enhanced employee experience, and improved security.
We chose this set of panelists specifically so you can hear three different perspectives and the rich data points on successes, failures, and what is top of mind for other IT departments as they evaluate their VDI options. Here are some of the highlights of our conversation.
3 things to keep in mind when evaluating VDI solutions
1. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Solving VDI’s cost issue is still a huge topic. Cost has always been the #1 concern with VDI. Historically, cost challenges were related to implementation—basically getting the first desktop up and running. Why? The massive iceberg of equipment and infrastructure VDI required, not to mention the extensive rollout process, new policies, engineering expertise, etc. And for many companies the TCO is still a surprise. For every $1 spent on VDI licenses, $10 has traditionally been spent on infrastructure to host and operate VDI.
However, two major trends have changed since the early days of VDI. First, VDI technology space has matured. New VDI solutions can make implementation and management easy. Easy = fast = lower OpEx. Second, IT departments are looking to shift the cost equation to OpEx. The more a solution can optimize admin workflows of patching, updates, troubleshooting, and deployment, the more that solution reduces OpEx.
In the world of VDI 2.0, a cloud service has nothing to install and hyper-converged infrastructure can be ready to host VDI in under an hour. So why shouldn’t IT be able to get VDI operational in a day, instead of 6 months? And as the saying goes, time is money.
2. VDI Performance for End Users
Users didn’t adopt VDI 1.0 because their PC was faster than VDI. So where’s the benefit to the user? Keep in mind that end user experience is king. When things like boot time, login time, application launch time, and overall experience is poor, users will go elsewhere. That’s why users typically avoid VDI and why they resort to using PCs—PCs have historically offered faster access to resources, which makes users more productive.
Too often we as technology professionals, we forget to consider the user experience. As IT, we focus on building software and infrastructure. And that’s the root of the problem. When the “solution” gets too complicated, it gets in the way!
At this point, our challenge as IT professionals is to get out of the path between the user and the application or resource they are accessing. Do that and we'll solve the performance problems for both the user and IT.
3. VDI Complexity
Cost and performance are the result of complexity. A complex VDI architecture drives up costs in equipment, operating experience, and number of unhappy users.
VDI 2.0 has a simple architecture that gets out of the way of the user.
- Cloud service (Workspot) enables direct connection between user and resource. Nothing to impede the connection. Nothing for IT to install, patch, update, etc.
- Hyper-converged technologies (Atlantis) accelerates how the resource is served so that the user get responses quickly. Atlantis’s “secret sauce” can serve data faster than data from the local PC disk! You can set up an Atlantis HyperScale in under an hour.
So with VDI 2.0, you can deliver simple user experience. What’s more the simplicity spills over into the admin experience too. Hey, maybe that is a new axiom – better end user experience results in better admin experience!
These are a few some of the points we discussed. If you’re part of the 70% looking at deploying or expanding VDI, click the link below to watch the webinar.