How to fail at VDI

I’m so tired of wasting time with people that say they want to do Desktop Virtualization, have no business problem they’re trying to solve, want to do it for free, and think they have the skills to do their own pilot/implementation. Here’s some tips for those of you out there who fall into this category to speed up your failures and some laughs for the rest of us.

If you want your Desktop Virtualization project to fail please follow these steps.

  • Start desktop virtualization not knowing the business problem you’re solving
  • Assume you’re going to save capital by rolling out desktop virtualization
  • Believe what your hardware vendor is telling you about cpu overcommit
  • Use the same images for physical desktops for virtual desktops
  • Ignore anti-virus
  • Start a pilot with no success criteria
  • Try to virtualize the entire user environment
  • Rush to rollout the solution
  • Have no way of measuring or defining the end user experience in your environment
  • Do user acceptance testing with 5 IT users
  • Have your success criteria be whether you can access a Windows “desktop” remotely
  • Don’t evaluate Hosted Shared Virtual Desktops (RDS,XenApp,vWorkspace)
  • Ignore the user profile/personalization
  • Put the project in the hands of your VMware vSphere administrator
  • Ignore the impact to storage, network, datacenter resources
  • Use vendor estimates for IOPs
  • Assume you know what your users want

17 thoughts on “How to fail at VDI

  1. Is VDI now entering the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hype_cycle) … sure, we all realised Citrix was over hyped and it reached it’s technology equilibrium within IT environments. Then VDI came along, we were all a little cautious but thought, heck maybe this time it might just fly. However, everyone still has their relatively cheap laptops, iPads etc and just can’t be bothered using a centrally hosted desktop. Sure, we’ll login once in a while when on the road or for those bunch of developers out of India…. but really, VDI won’t get much more critical mass than Citrix XenApp did…

    1. And how over-hyped is IAAS? 🙂 …and those expectations are even higher than VDI.

      Nobody that has a legitimate Desktop Virtualization practice believes that all desktops will be hosted centrally, that’s hardly the point of the technology, but that definitely doesn’t mean it’s a failure either. This is the whole purpose behind my post..what is the business problem we are solving?

      Seems that everyone today is measuring success by 100% penetration…because that’s what server virtualization has nearly or will nearly accomplish. Is Apple a failure because they only have a small percentage of the desktop market? Hardly. Find a 5,000 user company and I’ll guarantee they have some challenges which can be solved using some set of Desktop Virtualization. It augments, not replaces.

      We’ll be having the same conversation in 3-5 years on IAAS.

  2. Dan, you hit most of the “LowLights”. Since I have been involved [off-and-on] in Citrix, Thin Clients, and virtualization for the past 12+ years, I have always believed that the technology would come into it’s own once there were proper expectations.

    The IT community and the vendors themselves have done a mediocre job of explaining what VDI can do (and is good at) and what it is not suitable for. Good list.

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