I'm sure everyone has heard of the Pepsi Challenge - the one where there was a blind tasting of two identical looking colas that more or less fill the same need. To this day I'm not sure who won the challenge, but I know that for a long time there have only been two to choose from in the market.
If you have been in IT or in the market watching VDI evolve, but not into spending millions of dollars or hours to figure it out, you'll definitely relate to those of us who didn't really like cola that much. Like the cola market, we have been waiting for another viable VDI option. We don't want another bolt-on or enhancement, but rather a real perfect VDI solution that delivers desktops, apps and doesn't cost millions of hours and dollars!
In previous posts, we itemized all the issues with VDI to date: it's history and the things that have pained all deployments of VDI 1.0. For this post, I'm going to focus on the two main technologies that can make VDI perfect.
What is Perfect VDI?
1. Hyper-converged Infrastructure
A few scant years ago, there was a company that made a massive success of one realization - that servers in a datacenter where, as a group, greatly underutilized. Underutlized to the tune of 30% or so. This company is now a market leader in server virtualization. In hindsight, today in 2015 - what seems to be the year of hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) - a few companies have extended that realization to not just servers, but storage and networking also. Companies like Nutanix, Atlantis, Gridstore, Simplivity and of course one of the originals, Cisco.
And so was born the flexible datacenter, powered by more affordable hardware, and intelligent new software that can drive that efficiency up in all the building-block technlogies of the datacenter. VDI was a workload that broke the datacenter and despite years of innovation and improvement, the traditional software stack of on-premise managed VDI running on silos of storage, server and networking rarely achieved the ROI other successful solutions (like server virtualization) did.
HCI scales elegantly in nodes or clusters, with a simple management console, and delivers great performance for the unique footprint of desktop workloads.
2. Cloud Control of End User Computing Management (but not necessarily the desktops!)
When all the VDI 1.0 solutions were being built (I was there), "the cloud" was a great idea that didn't have anything to do with us. It was often discussed as a "place" where desktops can go, and eventually all the VDI infrastructure would someday move up there.
Cloud computing has been a reality for a few years and the real key to it has been answering the question "how do I get the economy of scale of the cloud without compromising the security of IP, employee information and so on?". It provides us finally with two key necessary things to unlock perfect VDI:
- Scalability at your fingertips for the purpose of analytics, provisioning information, assignment and mapping for apps, users and desktops
- Global reach and a simple blanket of management
With the right architecture for the cloud, the desktops, applications and data do not need to "move up to the cloud". Rather, you use the cloud to orchestrate how you connect, and then the users access them in whatever datacenter (yes, even cloud ones) you are running them in.
VDI promised ubiquitous remote access and easier IT management. With VDI 2.0, the perfect VDI can finally deliver on the promise of operational and capital savings and a solution for users in remote and branch offices. You can read more about VDI 2.0 in the next post. (you can subscribe to our blog below)
At Workspot, we believe perfect VDI is a reality and so we built our solution specifically for hyperconverged infrastructure and entirely built on a cloud control plane. It is possible to build a VDI architecture inteded for the cloud from day 1 (not adapted from legacy architectures) that delivers 10X operational benefits and simplicity of management, and to have desktops run affordably anywhere you place them on a HCI platform.
Who doesn't like a little Mountain Dew or Dr. Pepper after all!
Stay tuned. Our next blog is on Defining VDI 2.0.