What if non-persistent desktops aren’t the answer?

An couple interesting ideas were floated at BriForum 2011 in Chicago that I wanted to pass along…and I might not have them exactly as they were stated, but this is how they gelled in my mind.

  • For Desktop VIrtualization use a hosted shared desktop (XenApp or RDS) for non-persistent users and a hosted virtual desktop (HVD) for persistent users.
  • Use a dedicated hosted virtual desktop (HVD) or P2V existing images/desktops to dedicated virtual images and use traditional desktop management tools to manage them.

The more I have sat and thought about these two ideas the more I think this might be a better method than trying to get clients to move to non-persistent hosted virtual desktops.  While non-persistent virtual desktop pools promise a dynamically assembled desktop environment on a daily basis with lower on-going management costs they are complicated by applications, application virtualization, profile management, personalization, etc that has to be done prior to delivering the solution to end users.

There was another session, I can’t remember whose it was, that had a list of benefits of Desktop Virtualization, some of which I think we might be ignoring and when looked at more closely might help make an arguement for why we should just virtualize our existing physical desktop image and deliver dedicated virtual desktops.

  • faster provisioning
  • reduce costs to manage apps
  • stretch lifecycle
  • shorten downtime
  • support work from home
  • hardware agnostic
  • rapid on-boarding M&A
  • support OS migrations
  • allow users to repair themselves
  • manage disconnected endpoints
  • effectively manage branch infrastructure
  • rapid desktop dr
  • support hot desking

Items above in bold are benefits of Desktop Virtualization that I believe you still have if you virtualize your existing images for physical desktops which for some might be enough reason to move forward.  As the technology in the application and profile virtualization space matures integrate those technologies and products into your environment and gold images that are deployed to new or existing users as part of an onboarding process or OS upgrade.  Layering products and technologies are still very immature, not to mention very few even exist..give it some time and the problems of Application Virtualization might take care of themselves.  See previous post on this https://danbrinkmann.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/application-virtualization-ill-pass/

Most already know that a dedicated virtual desktop isn’t going to be less expensive than the physical desktop users have today and if we’re not building a dynamic image on user logon then the on-going management costs aren’t going to be considerably different than they are today.  To be completely honest I don’t know many companies that are using HVD that bought only on the savings of ongoing desktop management, it is usually the above highlighted items that are the bigger plus for companies doing HVD, so maybe another vote for dedicated hosted virtual desktop pools.

Change is difficult for organizations, maybe this non-persistent desktop idea for everyone is just too much change too quickly.

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