VDI is a niche solution. And that is ok!

Author: Amitabh Sinha

Publish on: Sep 29, 2014 2:38:00 AM

vdi delusion - vdi is a niche solution(I am borrowing an image from Brian Madden's book published in 2012)

First let me give you a quick introduction to our team.

Our CTO, Puneet Chawla, was the first engineer on VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) in the world. He was the first engineer on the VMware View product line. The View product came out of VMware customers trying to put large numbers of Windows XP virtual machines on ESX. This was a new workload and customers were having all kinds of problems with it. Today we are all too familiar with the problems and are still looking for cost-effective ways to solve them.

I was Vice President of Product Management for XenDesktop from 2008-2010, and then General Manager for XenApp/XenDesktop in 2011. On my watch we re-architected and delivered XenDesktop 5. We also invested hundreds of man years into HDX (the Citrix remoting protocol) to make it suitable for desktop workloads. We also set the plans in motion for the integrated XenApp/XenDesktop architecture.

Rana Kanaan who is our VP of Products was the Vice President of Product Management for the combined XenApp/XenDesktop team from 2011-2013. The XenApp/XenDesktop integration happened on her watch.

Between the three of us we have seen VDI grow from experiments performed by customers to large deployments at Fortune 500 companies. But VDI is a niche solution today. In 2009 many analysts were predicting VDI to replace 15%-30% of the roughly 500 million enterprise desktops. The new numbers are closer to 8%-10%. Why did VDI fail to break out of being a 10% solution? I will try to capture the problems with VDI in this series.

1. Poor User Experience of VDI for all Applications
2. Laws of Physics for latency cannot be changed
3. Challenges with multi-media
4. Challenges with real-time collaboration tools like Lync
5. High Cost of VDI: Expensive Storage Required, including SSD
6. Immature layering technology to reduce costs of storage
7. Inability to run standard anti-virus software
8. Boot storm issues
9. Cost of end points – thin clients
10. Strategic: Windows is on less than 20% of available devices. Why invest more $?

Over the next few days, I am going to spend more time talking about each one of these reasons.

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