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. (more…)

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  • Hi StΓ©phane,

    Datas are important for IT guys.

    Users wants informations, but structured in a way they can easily get them when need it.

    Think about a puzzle game : you have the box with all pieces, it’s your datas. Users want to get the informations asap without having to build the whole puzzle to be able to do their job.

    So even if datas are important, the way you present them and how users interact with them is almost as important as the datas themselves.
    If you think only about datas, then you forget the user experience.

    A bad user experience (even with appropriate datas) is a reason for project failure and there are lots of example around the world of such experiences.

    Not to mention that a bad user interface could be for business a real loss of productivity …
    Regards,

  • Another example : A car price is 4E20 euros / 20 000 euros : Same data, different presentation ;O)

  • Gents,

    it’s all about the user experience. So it’s data combined with the application that turns into services for our users. They don’t (probably) don’t care where the data is and what application they have to use. Of course we have power users like Jason Conger (;)) who choose their own app but that’s just a small part of the user population.

    All users seem to want is a reliable access platform to their uniform execution platform so they can start their application in the same way without influence from the access platform.

    Although I agree with Pierre that we should adjust our apps depending on the access platform (form factor) there’s a difference in user population in which we have to serve the whole population; the users that can choose their own apps and the users that don’t want to choose as long as they can do their day to day job.

    Cheers,

    Kees

  • Hi Kees,

    Nice to see You in the discussion!

    Access Platform is for me another IT guys concern!

    If I live a day in my user shoes, either the user is a power user or a task worker, I want a seamless access to the applications I need and I don’t want to bother if it’s through a virtual or physical desktop. I just want it to work and suit my needs.

    Then if Jason or Stephane are fine with vi for text editing I’d prefer a more WYSIWYG friendly text editor ;O)

  • Kees Baggerman

    That’s what I meant with a reliable access platform, UX should be the same from every device but modified to the access platform specification (for example: large/limited resolution or touch/non touch)

  • So we both agree!

    Unfortunately the presentation layer (aka access platform) can’t do everything and there may be some need to rewrite the applications to fit the new usage (just like a client access emulator even if accessing my datas is not suited for a tablet!) and from what I’m seeing that’s where we still have to wait from developpers to adapt their interfaces.

  • Hi Gents,

    I was almost 100% Pierre would be the first to answer this post (French vMafia thing πŸ˜‰ )
    Anyway, Pierre, you don’t get my point, Kees did; I maybe am IT oriented guy but you’re dev oriented and don’t get me wrong, you have a valid point of view. I agree with you but my point was :
    Today in production environment I see every time user complaining about their crapplication, but still they use it because this is their only way to work !
    Of course, having a nice and easy to use UI is better for productivity.
    So my point is : Whatever the application, in the end the goal is to access the data.

    Cheers,

    Stephane

  • Hi,

    It’s not a dev guy thing πŸ™‚ From the dev side you have datas, from the user side you have informations.

    Dev work is to make the link between datas & informations.

    For the user my point is that he does not care about how datas are stored or structured but how he can retrieve the informations he does need and work with them easily, which is done by the application.

    Think about the puzzle example or the car seller one in my previous comments.

    Crapapplication is a good example on how to stop tablet deployment even is the access layer is appropriated.

    So when thinking about such projects my point is that it’s not only about datas or access layer but also about applications otherwise it can prevent the project to succeed.

    Mobility SDK is a good example of an access layer vendor trying to ease applications maker to adapt for the new use cases.

  • VDI wil no longer be the way to go. All that users want is easy access to self-selectable apps. Users do not want another desktop to access apps. So the good old XenApp with published apps that will allow users to put their Xenapp based apps in Metro or on Android devices or iOS devices will be the future. Too bad the Citrix Dazzle/self-service tech-preview with the possibility to add a workflow behind an app to request access if required never made it to production.

  • @ Danny: “All that users want is easy access to self-selectable apps” -> I don’t think this is valid for all users, there are still a lot of users that need to be educated and that like the pre-selection that IT does from an application-selection. I agree with you that in the near future users need to be enabled to select their own app but also services (hardware request etc etc; appstore-like functionality)

  • Danny, I don’t think dazzle was the best idea Citrix have had πŸ™‚ I think in the same “spirit” Storefront Receiver + AppController (CloudGateway Enterprise) is a lot more flexible than Dazzle could have been.

    The PDF file example is the best in my opinion, do you care which software will be use on all your devices to read your pdf file ? As a user, I really don’t care.

    Stephane

  • Stephane, I agree. Storefront Receiver + AppControler would be the best choice for self-service. And it seems that you can add app-request capabilities to this:http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/topic/app-request-10/app-request-install.html
    Danny

  • This is quite funny πŸ™‚ I’ve recently started blogging again (after small break) and I was going though my notes from the past… I’ve found one draft I wrote 2 years ago that was talking about VDI status and especially about the importance of the data… I’ve even used the same example that you did with PDF and Acrobat Reader…

    Finally, I’ve decided to write about CNAMEs (http://blogs.citrix.com/2012/06/02/simplify-your-xenappxendesktop-with-dns-aliases/) instead…

    So either you’ve seen my notes, or we were thinking about the same issue (the state of mind) at the same time. I don’t see one part that my article wanted to cover though – the fact that you can easily create touch-friendly applications even today. Simply create new project (VB.NET, C#, WPF, doesn’t matter), but optimize it for fingers (big buttons for example, minimize right-click actions etc.)…

    I think that many IT people keeps forgetting that it’s all about data and end users – we are here to support those guys, not other way around – sometimes I see that IT people thinks that core business is here just to get enough money to run IT department πŸ™‚

    Martin

  • Hey Martin,

    Nice to see You in this discussion!

    “it’s all about data AND end users”

    Actually both of them together and not only datas.

    That’s my point assuming for example that opening a .pdf in notepad won’t do the job πŸ™‚

  • Hi Martin,

    I can assure you I didn’t read your draft ( πŸ™‚ ) and I’m glad to know someone is thinking the same way as I do !
    I read your blog on DNS alias, I used alias for many years and never though to blog about it, nice one !

    Pierre, I can open PDF file with notepad on my MacBook… It’s faster and the result is the same.

    Have a great sunday everyone !

    Stephane

  • Pierre Marmignon

    We’re Getting closer …

    Why are you using a Mac instead of a windows PC to access the same datas?

    Why do you still have a Mac when You have an iPad again to access the same datas? (Which can be done with appropriated app )?

  • Pierre,

    I have a Mac because this is my laptop and when I read your message I was browsing to buy plane ticket.
    I could have been on my iPad or iPhone, result would have been the same, PDF would have been displayed anyway.

    Stephane

  • Pierre Marmignon

    Ok for pdf, what about word document, excel spreadsheet or powerpoint deck? Preparing your presentations or proposals on iPad?

  • Creating content, changing/modifying content and viewing content are 3 different task, and it’s more device related than software/data related.
    It could be word, excel etc whatever the application, I just want to access my data, the software use to help me to view it is really not important.

    This is my ‘user’ point of view.

    From the IT perspective, I see more people becoming a lot more productive with a tablet/iPad, they are now creating data easily. When I see how it changed in the last 2 years, I know and notice software designa and conception is very important to allow users to do more with a ‘simple’ tablet/iPad.

    Stephane

  • Finishing my previous comment (made on phone while roaming :O)) On an iPad we can work on Excel SpreadSheets, do Powerpoint presentations online or offline with appropriated apps.

    With virtual desktop I can even use Visual Studio for dev purposes.

    All these means I have access to my datas.

    If I’m not doing it, that’s because my user experience is bad on an iPad for these tasks so I prefer do it on a laptop.

    By The way I guess the conclusion is that we 50% agree on the importance of datas and that it was great debating with You!

    That’s the real spirit of GeekSpeak!

  • I must confess i have not yet read all reply’s, but will do in a minute. Just wanted to post something to think about.

    Are tablets really launching an App without the OS to worry about ?

    Stephane you said that the user access a application without using the windows desktop, well that is only partially true. A tablet also requires an OS.

    At least the windows desktop is more secured most of the time then a Android or IOS tablet.

    Why do tablet makers update their firmwares so often you think? -> Security issues is a big reason

    So the apps only have moved from an (locked) Windows platform to a (unsecure) IOS or Android platform.

    PS; the comment textbox size sux… πŸ˜‰

    Will post another update tonight.

    Regards,

    Arjan

  • That’s why I asked Sasa about his thoughts on a desktop. Is it the access platform of is it the collection of applications to access data? Brain Madden did a session in BriForum London last year on the future of the desktop and he was talking about this OS-less desktop but that’s still Utopia for me.

  • If we’re now talking about datas, the way we handle them (because data are not only readonly like in the.pdf file example) and the device / user context, then it’s more than 50% ;O)

  • @Arjan – I cannot speak for Stephane, but my take on this topic is following. I’m using few different devices on a daily basis – big desktop with 2 screens, 2 laptops, one virtual desktop, an iPad and my smartphone.

    I plug all of them into my personal cloud – mail, calendar and contacts are coming from Exchange and Gmail, Favorites are synchronized through Chrome, documents are synchronized through combination of Live Mesh and SkyDrive… And I use my own proprietorial solution for synchronization of applications and their configuration (until someone comes with a proper solution to this problem).

    I don’t really care what I use to open my PDF documents – Acrobat Reader on some (virtual desktop, Windows Phone), PDF X-Change Viewer on the others (desktops + laptops)… I just care about the service (=ability to see PDF).

    I’m big believer in Microsoft approach here – the idea that you will store everything in the cloud and just “plugin” your devices into your personal cloud. WinRT is definitely brilliant idea – I just hope they will be able to deliver!

    Martin

  • Hi Martin,

    I’m really fine with the .pdf file example but as pointed it is mainly a readonly service.

    How do you do when You have to create a Word Document, an Excel SpreadSheet or a Powerpoint Deck. Are You so Application / Device agnostic ?

    Regards,

    Pierre

  • I agree with Martin, it’s getting the service (app+data) that matters but.. the app needs the ability to (be) change(d) depending on the access device. Like Pierre says: working on a XA/XD design on your iPad isn’t the best idea but it’s a great device just to view data (could be a different service).

    So maybe I need a viewer from my tablet but a full editing application on my laptop or desktop? It’s a context-aware service delivery system πŸ™‚

  • @Pierre: WordExcelPowerpoint is not a good example, since it’s tightly integrated with Windows ecosystem. For me personally, I’m happy user of Windows Phone and I plan to move to the Windows 8 and Windows RT soon – that way, I will have three different form factors and have the benefit of sharing same applications sets and common environment.

    @Kees: One of the ideas that Citrix is pushing for long time is that different form factors are best suited for different uses:
    1.) Smartphone – Alert me
    2.) Tablet – Consume
    3.) LaptopDesktop – Create

    Martin

  • Thank you for the bigger comment box ! πŸ™‚

    What was not mentioned here is the “end” user here.
    With all do respect to them (without them i would not have a business), i do not think that they have changed much.

    They just want to consume and produce data and do not really care about the way they do that. They only see the easyness of an ipad that starts an app and they reach their data.

    Ok so this is good ? Well i guess yes, until someone else grabs his ipad and gets all of his data, because it is totally unprotected. BYO is really nice as it can be used to work on a day basis.

    BUT (there is always a but)
    My concern really is security here. If i was a manager i would be very concerned about this. Call me old-fashion but i want to have control over how my users work, and keep all sensitive data together.

    Some nice programs are already launched for that, but it is not enough yet.

    Like i said the end user does not change, but the way he reaches his data does. We only need to adapt.

    Regards,

    Arjan

  • @Martin: I know the drill but I’m saying it should be possible to deliver this based on the context, like RES Software, AppSense and VUEM do. Based on rules, if the access device is a tablet then we should deliver an app that is optimized for these access devices.

    @Arjan: That is old fashion and probably still valid for 90% of the user population, thing is that this is changing and we’re here to facilitate the whole user population and not just that 90% of which we could facilitate for years but also that 10% ‘digital natives’ that won’t take no for an answer.

    Users are changing and so should we, IT should come done from their thrown and listen to their users instead of dictating them.

  • So basically i do not care how it gets called. RDS / VDI / Remote Apps / Whatever, the enduser want an easy and good way to work.

    On the other hand we (it people) are concerned about security / backup stuff

    Looks like we need to come up with new ways to make it “best of both worlds”

    Arjan

  • Hi Martin,

    The way I read Citrix’s point of view :

    1.) Smartphone – Alert me
    2.) Tablet – Consume
    3.) LaptopDesktop – Create

    is that even if I can access my datas how I access them do also matter which involves access layer & apps.

    Regards,

  • Pierre,

    Regarding Citrix point of view on the :
    1.) Smartphone – Alert me
    2.) Tablet – Consume
    3.) LaptopDesktop – Create
    I didn’t saw that one in Synergy Barcelona, neither at San Francisco, you know why ? Because the game have change, now you can create content with iPad and share it so easily… I was so sure iPad will remain a “consume” device, but last week again I saw “one user” creating so much data with his iPad he told me, ” I don’t need my laptop any more ! ”
    and I see that more often every day/week/month.

    Stephane

  • Stephane,

    It was in Martin’s Comment πŸ™‚

    You even said in a previous comment it depends on the task / device so, accessing data is not the only point.

    So If that’s like this (and that’s what You said) it also depends of the access layer including the applications.

    That’s my vision even if I respect yours πŸ™‚

    We’ll agree that we disagree πŸ™‚

  • Ok that was Martin comment, but my answer remain the same πŸ™‚

    Again we agree to disagree ? Come on Pierre, French gangsta powa mafia need to show unity !

    Take care and I hope to see you soon

    Stephane

  • Jani Anttila

    I needed to jump in because we had a long brainstorming over this with my colleague last weekend. We were trying to find out the real reasons why we need the VDI desktops, we did not find any because you can publish pretty much all that user needs.

    Yes, there is the different scenarios for consuming data and creating data. This pdf example stopped me to thinking my own behavior. When i consume, i need the explorer for double clicking files to open them. Explorer can be published, but it still is a desktop feature. For creating the files i always need to start from inside the application.

    The reason why we access files by double clicking, is only because it is much simpler, faster and easier than opening the application first.

    But you know, applications can change also. Viewing photos is a good example. With Mac, you actually open the iPhoto rather than click in explorer like with the competitive “user experience provider”. Why would you need the desktop if you could comfortably do everything by accessing the applications only?

    User interface will bring the user experience. Webinterface (or dummy devices with receiver) could easily be thought of as a desktop replacement but applications need to go thru the change first.

  • Nice post, topic keeps coming up and I like the inclusion of apps and data; made me think more about the impact of apps / micro apps and how that is changing behaviour / habit. I put a few braindumps here http://myvirtualfunction.net/archives/345

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