Jimmy Chang, Director of Products at Workspot, discussed the history and future of VDI.
Chang began his presentation at the 2016 CIO Leadership Forum held in Washington DC on February 2 with a brief history of VDI, starting in 2007. Workspot decided to centralize a desktop, put it on a server, and expand the use case. It was secure and remained in the data center. “That’s how IT works—you take what’s available and build something new,” said Chang. “We leveraged an infrastructure that was built for servers—web servers, etc.—that did a lot of ‘read’ but not much ‘write.’ We had a clear challenge, and solving it involved adding a great deal of complexity.”
“That’s how IT works—you take what’s available and build something new,” said Chang. “We leveraged an infrastructure that was built for servers—web servers, etc.—that did a lot of ‘read’ but not much ‘write.’ We had a clear challenge, and solving it involved adding a great deal of complexity.”
When Workspot first came up with VDI, said Chang, “it was regarded as the best thing since sliced bread” because it offered these benefits:
• End users can access their apps from any device
• Corporate data stays secure in the data center
• Apps and OS can be updated centrally
In 2010, Gartner predicted that by 2017, 30% of machines would be on VDI. In reality, today there are less than 7% of machines on VDI because of the complexity.
Having solved the complexity issue, another challenge was overcoming poor user experience. There were too many steps to get through the networks, especially using a tablet or a smart phone. “As we all know, user performance determines the success of a product,” said Chang.
Nonetheless, according to a December 2015 Forrester survey, about 25% of companies are looking to deploy VDI or expand it. “VDI remains interesting because the problem of how to deliver secured access to a desktop or an application or data to any device hasn’t been solved. Security is the top priority. Data needs to be kept in-house.” This is the main issue that’s driving VDI—the need for security, noted Chang.
“VDI remains interesting because the problem of how to deliver secured access to a desktop or an application or data to any device hasn’t been solved. Security is the top priority.”
Why have only 25% of companies deployed VDI? According to Forrester research, the reasons are:
• High cost—30% higher than existing technology to build infrastructure (32% of respondents)
• Need for additional technology to patch between the read and write issues (29%)
• Lack of skill to create adjunct technology (27%)
• Not compatible with existing infrastructure (22%)
• Technologies are not mature enough (20%)
“When we launched VDI, there was so much excitement that we sold $1 billion in licenses in the first year,” said Chang. “But, as companies began to deploy VDI between 2009 and 2011, we started to see the fall-off in adoption because they couldn’t get it to work. The project stalled out in 2011.
“So, where is the industry going?” asked Chang. “VDI is still the number-one workload for the modern data center. We haven’t solved the problem of deploying an app, a desktop, or data and keeping it secure. Still, we have demand for it, so there’s investment in industry to develop more tools such as a software-defined data center, converged or hyperconverged infrastructure, and flash storage.”
What’s the future? It’s about a hybrid workspace with some things delivered from Windows through a remoting protocol and some things delivered directly through a route chosen by the device, said Chang. “We need to make it simple for IT to deliver these pieces seamlessly.”
The future VDI workspace incorporates these considerations:
• Uses any app: Windows, Web, HTML5, and Native
• Eliminates the need to access Windows OS on mobile devices
• Quick access to apps without having to go through a desktop
• Solving the problem of remoting degrading the experience of any application that has video or audio
Chang concluded his presentation by announcing, “At Workspot, our new version of VDI—which is simple for users and comes from IT directly—has been engineered into a Cloud service.”
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