Redefining virtualisation

It's time to call time on the term VDI. VDI is dead. Long live desktop virtualisation

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Redefining virtualisation Qadir: The time has come for CIOs and other staff to change the way they refer to virtualisation technologies.
By  Norman Qadir Published  August 15, 2010

The acronym VDI has long been the flagship term for a whole host of virtualisation technologies, but as Norman Qadir, the regional manager responsible for Citrix’s virtualisation portfolio argues, the time has come for it to make way for a broader, more inclusive term that reflects the growing place the technology has within the modern enterprise environment.

The IT industry often falls foul of semantics (a product of sharp marketing), an affinity for acronyms and the myriad of taxonomies used by industry commentators.

In an industry that so tightly embraces the concept of first-mover advantage, the first coined acronym often sticks way beyond its original meaning until the market wises up and moves to a broader term. It is this point of semantic revolution that the term virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has reached, now that both the technology and the market has outgrown its narrow confines. Replacing VDI is the far wider spread of technologies represented by the umbrella term, desktop virtualisation.

Desktop virtualisation is broader than VDI, or its synonym, hosted virtual desktop, because it does not limit where the virtualisation is executed. As the words ‘infrastructure’ and ‘hosted’ suggest, the datacentre is an integral part to the solution and therefore it is restricted to connected desktops only; typically a fixed machine for task orientated employees.

While this singular offering is appropriate for many users – perhaps even entire departments – it is of no use across an entire organisation. Furthermore, its inflexibility makes it wholly inappropriate for those organisations with a large number of mobile employees.

VDI alone is like relying on just the woodwind section to perform on behalf of the whole orchestra. Desktop virtualisation, conversely, brings strings, brass and percussion together to enable an organisation to support all its workers through a virtualised desktop approach; one that significantly reduces the time and cost associated with managing a large estate of end-user devices. It encompasses traditional VDI, plus application virtualisation, hosted blade PCs, local streamed desktops, delivery to any device inside, or outside, the corporate firewall and PC hypervisors.

It is PC hypervisors that are driving the term desktop virtualisation as, for the first time, a secure virtual desktop can be delivered on previously unmanageable PCs, such as laptops or notebooks; even those owned outright by contractors, partners or even the firm’s own full-time employees.

VDI will be replaced by desktop virtualisation because of VDI’s restriction to task oriented job roles, and the additional cost of data centre infrastructure it requires. As a part solution, it still has an important role to play, but the flexibility of desktop virtualisation makes this approach a more cost-effective option and one that stretches across the entire firm, regardless of the location of its staff.

Furthermore, desktop virtualisation supports the trend of consumerisation. It allows employees to use their corporate PC for work and home – like they do a company car. In doing so, it can provide a safe and effective corporate computing environment, online and offline, at the same time as securely delivering an unfettered machine that can take advantage of social media. Remote working teams, contractors and freelancers can be quickly and easily supported with specific corporate working environments regardless of who actually owns and manages the individual PCs. In an ever more mobile world, it even enables an organisation to provide a safe and managed way to deliver company data to an individual’s consumer mobile device, such as an Apple iPhone, without the worry.

VDI won’t die – far from it – as it is an important part of the overall desktop virtualisation approach, but the terminology is already dated and will soon disappear. VDI is dead, long live desktop virtualisation.

2610 days ago
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nice post

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