Tuesday, March 08, 2011

To Virtualize Desktops...

...or not to virtualize desktops. That, is the question.

I'm embarking on a journey of discovery regarding all things VDI lately. Our use case scenarios here are probably heavier than normal, and our organization's layout is definitely more WAN dependent than "normal". So we need to find out what is real, what is hype, and what (if anything) will work for us in this space.

Found a good resource here: Validated Design Resources. This is the best collection of technical docs I've found covering NetApp, VMWare, and Citrix Xen Desktop - on Cisco hardware, which seems a little bit like an odd marriage. You can tell where the funding came from.

VMWare View and PCoIP appear to have some real potential for us, especially in the graphics-intensive environments, but it remains to be seen what kind of scalability we would experience given our workloads. More to come as we learn it.

1 comment:

ZEN Master said...

Not. That is the answer.

If you have a campus LAN environment with lots of bandwidth, you can probably make sense of desktop virtualization. If you want to start centralizing desktops and handle all workloads, even graphic-intensive ones, forget about it. The state of the art is still essentially modern equivalents of RDP / ICA, and they are poor substitutes for a full desktop when the workload demands get outside of office automation.

So while you could use it for certain people, it is not appropriate for everyone, meaning you end up with another standard and infrastructure to support. Raising the question, "why bother at all?"

In the next few years, perhaps, we'll see further developments that may make "anywhere" access to a rich, centrally-managed virtual desktop an actual reality for companies who do not have immense network links between all WAN locations. In the mean time, might as well just suck it up and do things the old fashioned way.