VDI, ok ? What’s next ?

This blog is a follow up to the discussion we had in Vienna during the Geek Speak session at E2E event. I had to leave to catch my flight back to France but this discussion was very interesting and I though about it during all my travel time… I’m still on it writing this blog

VDI, Desktops…

Shared, remote, dedicated, pooled and/or virtual VDI gives the possibility to deliver desktops to everyone, everywhere. Let’s say it, in most of the company, users still needs a desktop, a Microsoft desktop; why’s that ? Just because they are used to access a Microsoft Windows desktop at home and during the last 20 years we didn’t deliver application using another way.

Desktop rules the application access, at least until 3/4 years ago when smart phone, tablet / iPad came to everyone’s life and change Microsoft Desktop user’s life by accessing directly an application. Everyone is getting used to access applications without going through a Microsoft Windows desktop and I think that will change a lot of things within 5 years regarding the way we deliver an environment to our users.

Desktop vs Application

Why are we accessing a desktop today ? Mainly to open application and being able to switch from a windows to another, copy and past between applications etc. Going from this statement, which I think everyone will agree, why do we need this layer (Microsoft Desktop) to access applications ? As I mentioned before, we have habits and we are used to open our application through a Microsoft Desktop, I remember tried to publish an Internet Explorer few years ago on thin client, on the Web Interface, only application were published, no desktop at all; we had to fall back and published a desktop again because user experience was different, users we used to click to switch between applications instead of using alt-tab key. The amount of memory we tried to save by not publishing a desktop was quiet a lot and as we had to give a desktop back, we had to calcul again all the memory consume per user for a desktop and add more servers according to our results.

Memory for a session : Seamless Excel 2010 vs full desktop & Excel 2010

As you can notice in the graph above, the difference between a seamless published Excel 2010 and a desktop (XenApp 6.5 with Excel 2010) is double. As we needed to publish desktop instead of only using published application, we had to add two time more servers as it was planned at first. This is a good example of what is happening because of user habits since all these years.

With tablets, iPad, iThings, Androids etc, user are more and more used to access an application directly without necessarily going through a  Microsoft Windows Desktop, and it’s taking time but one day, yes one day the digital native will be every where and the Microsoft Windows desktop will disappear…

Application vs Data

Accessing Microsoft Desktop to open application, ok we get it, we are doing that since so many years it’s difficult to change habits and do a big bang change. But why we give access to applications ? Why users need to access applications ? They need to work, accessing data and manipulate data, deleting and creating data.

The mighty Data

So we don’t really need application at first, I mean we want to access data, without data all our application won’t be used at all… Datas are the center of all the virtualization, the Cloud and VDI fuzz etc. I think we (IT dudes) should never lose focus on that fact to be able to deliver the best, easiest and most secure way to access the data.

Application design

This point is the one I wanted to talk the most at the Geek Speak event during E2E in Vienna because lot of things came in my mind, during and after this wonderful community open discussion event. Every time we open a desktop or an application, we want to access data; when this topic came up during this event, we agreed the most important in the end wasn’t to open a desktop, some of us said accessing the application was important and could be accessed directly to access data, and some other said, application is another layer we could get rid of, users need to access data, then the data will be open by the application made for it, to make it clear, I will use the pdf file (the data) and acrobat reader (the application); there is two way to access the pdf file :

  • You open Adobe Acrobat Reader (application), click on File menu, open and browse for your pdf file (data)

OR

  • You browse your files (Data) and you double click on it, then Adobe Acrobat Reader (Application) will automatically open

My point is, today and in the past the application was very important to open a pdf file, we were using only Acrobat Reader, but now and in the future, whatever the software we will use, we just want to open and view this pdf file.

My second is, the application can be beautiful with a perfect design and look and feel, if there is no data, this application will be launch one time and never use again but if an application a crappy, basic and ugly with the worse look and feel you can imagine, if this is the only way to access data and actually work, user will use it (I saw that often enough…) The best is, of course, to have a nice application with data !

What really matters in the vWorld

In the end, the data

 

 

I would like to know you though about that, I think everyone have an idea on this subject and I’m very curious to know what other are thinking. Comment ! Emails ! Tweet ! You know how to reach me !

Added : Jason Conger blog : Virtual Desktop and Applications are not as important as you think
Added : Benny Tritsch blog : The VDI party is over
Added : Jonathan Wade blog : Are Mirco Apps Changing Everything?

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