Brad Peterson, the Vice President of Marketing at Workspot, talked about the early promise of VDI, the reasons it failed to materialize, and how those problems have been overcome.
At the outset of his thought leadership presentation at the 2016 Chief Information Officer Leadership Forum held on September 20 in Chicago, Peterson explained he’d be talking about virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and the reason for its rise, fall, and rise. “In the early days, everybody was excited about VDI and wanted to launch it for all the right reasons. But the challenges—the complexity, the cost, and the inability to scale—put the brakes on it. There are three specific things that held it back, but these were overcome in the last few years, and VDI is ready for prime time.”
“In the early days, everybody was excited about VDI and wanted to launch it for all the right reasons. But the challenges—the complexity, the cost, and the inability to scale—put the brakes on it.”
Workspot provides a service referred to as VDI 2.0 to differentiate it from VDI 1.0, the flagship version of the technology. “VDI is now viable,” announced Peterson. “It’s better, faster, and stronger. In 2012, web-scale architecture became available, and we knew we needed to create a web-scale, cloud-native, VDI control plane. That’s what Workspot did,” he explained.
“Before VDI, laptops were issued to each employee that were all locked down with security. Employees despised it. IT was completely in control. Then the trend went to consumerization of IT. The Millennial came out of college with a Mac and, when presented with the requirement to use this secured laptop, said, ‘I’m not using that’ and went to a company that would allow him or her to use their own device. Now we have BYOD, but we require users to use Windows OS and applications and other enterprise apps that are secured. So we’re all happy. How is this accomplished? VDI,” said Peterson.
“The Millennial came out of college with a Mac and, when presented with the requirement to use this secured laptop, said, ‘I’m not using that’ and went to a company that would allow him or her to use their own device. Now we have BYOD.”
Specific reasons for using VDI:
• Security – Centralized OS manage, update or replace in minutes, all end points get new software as well as identifying and isolating malware
• Lower cost – Infrastructure may be expensive but new forms of HDI can help, and BYOD can also help reduce device refresh budgets
• Work from anywhere – from home, the branch office, internationally, or from acquisitions
• Flexible remote access – remote office, mobile users, contractors, BYOD, and better device support
• Better manageability – image management, updates and replacement, HDI for better infrastructure support, better monitoring and troubleshooting
• Increasing compliance – central control and tracking of which desktop accesses which applications, intra-zone isolation (can’t talk to each other, only to servers),
Well-defined use cases for VDI:
• Security – HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, data sovereignty, centralized and secured, access controlled, monitored
• Offshore developers – Centralized control of intellectual property
• Consultants – Limited access, control over apps, BYOD
• Contractors – Geo fencing, device diversity
• School and university labs – Shared desktops, concurrent licensing, apps per student or group
• Call centers – hosted shared, non-persistent desktops, control the apps per desktop, manage/replace centralized desktops
“Storage performance was solved by SSD,” explained Peterson. “Data center HDD storage was optimized for server workloads. Desktop workloads are completely different, and SSDs solved the performance problem for desktops. The data center complexity was solved by hyperconverged infrastructure.”
Peterson continued, “VDI complexity was solved by VDI 2.0—a simple cloud service to deliver VDI to a million users. Historically, implementation was under 5,000 or, rarely, 10,000. If VDI is cloud orchestrated, it’s possible to have millions of users under one roof,” he said.
To wrap up, Peterson added, “The end user experience is of a single-container application installed on Windows or Mac or IOS or Android devices that allows access to everything. If the employee leaves the company, you reach in and remove VDI from the device.”
“The end user experience is of a single-container application installed on Windows or Mac or IOS or Android devices that allows access to everything.”
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