How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore. - Brian Madden - BrianMadden.com
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How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.

Written on Jul 16 2009 27,432 views, 29 comments


by Brian Madden

I’m going to come right out and say it: I am not impressed with VMware’s desktop products, and I have no idea how they expect to compete against Citrix and Microsoft. Furthermore, I think VMware is damaging the industry by implying that just because they’re the experts at “server virtualization,” they’ll also be good at “desktop virtualization.”

There. I said it.

A lot has been written about how “server virtualization” is different than “desktop virtualization.” I’ve jokingly said that the WORST part of desktop virtualization is the fact that it has the word “virtualization” in the name. This means that any yahoo who’s an expert in server virtualization automatically thinks he or she knows desktop virtualization. And you know what happens when server virtualization people try to do desktop virtualization? You get VMware View (and a bunch of people who can’t stop talking about how good their hypervisor is and who think that roaming profiles equal user personalization and who think application delivery means copying EXE files from NFS shares).

VMware is full of a bunch of crazy-smart people who created the x86 server virtualization industry. For that they should be (and have been) praised. But once these folks met Wall Street and started looking for ways to grow their business, they thought, “Hey, virtualizing our servers went so well, let’s do that for everything!” So now we have VMware View which is only actually used by people who (a) got it free, (b) think VMware sh*ts gold and didn’t even try anything else, (c) were dumb enough to let their server virtualization vendor dictate their desktop strategy, or (d) are currently “in pilot.”

VMware is not a desktop company. They tout that “user data disk” crap when they talk about personalization, and their current customers (the server people) are impressed. (And they should be, because they’re server people. The last time they even thought about user profiles was for their NT 4 Workstation exam back in ‘97.)  But desktop people just want to say, “Oh honey, look how cute it is that you’re trying to tell us about user personalization! Tell ya what... Why don’t you use a user data disk for a week and just see how well that works out!”

So if VMware is a server company pretending to know about desktops, how is it that they’re convincing anyone to buy View. (Notwithstanding the four reasons above. Maybe I should rephrase it as “How is VMware trying to convince people to buy View?”

Their quick answer is inevitably about View being based on the best platform: ESX / vSphere. (Well, actually, View 3 doesn’t work with vSphere yet.) But there are a few problems with this in the desktop space:

  • Even if ESX / vSphere is technically better, it’s not better enough to warrant someone using View.
  • Citrix XenDesktop, Quest vWorkspace, Ericom, Symantec Endpoint Virtualization... all of these let you choose your hypervisor. So if you want to use ESX, great! But you don’t have to.
  • The hypervisor doesn’t matter too much in the whole desktop virtualization stack. It’s like it’s a lower layer that’s completely unrelated to the actual desktop delivery.

I feel like the whole, “we have a better hypervisor” was a good selling point a few years ago. But now with the full XenServer being free and with Hyper-V being free, I don’t feel like a desktop virtualization decision is going to be made purely based on hypervisor. Because again, if you really want to use ESX, you can, even with these other solutions. (And if you’re thinking, “Hey! You can’t just ‘not consider’ the hypervisor since that’s integral to VMware,” then that means you’re making desktop delivery decisions based on the hypervisor, which is wrong wrong wrong! The hypervisor is a completely separate layer in the stack, and the decision of which one to use should not be made in a vacuum.)

I also feel like VMware View is just flat out not a great product. If you don’t consider the hypervisor, what exactly is View? It’s printing technology they licensed from ThinPrint. It’s some protocol enhancements they licensed from Wyse. It’s a few setup scripts that configure your user data drives. It’s a connection broker that they bought, threw away, and completely rewrote in a panic. It’s an app virtualization engine with no ability to target and deploy the apps. Oh, and it’s VDI-only, i.e. no Terminal Server and no physical local desktops. (Sure, the View connection broker will allow users to connect to Terminal Servers, but this capability is like a “second class” citizen. Terminal Server connections through View do NOT get the ThinPrint technology, they do NOT get the Wyse protocol enhancements, and they do NOT get application publishing.)

Actually, speaking of application publishing, what is VMware’s answer to integrating seamless server-based computing apps into their environments? Surely they don’t think every app can run locally within each VM, do they? What environment in the world do you know that doesn’t have some single app publishing from Terminal Server? Extending that out to the virtual desktop, Citrix XenDesktop lets you deliver single apps to those desktops with XenApp for free. If you buy Quest vWorkspace or Ericom you can mix-and-match single remote apps and virtual desktops. Heck, in a few months you’ll even be able to buy the $53 per device premium VDI bundle from Microsoft to do this plus a lot more stuff that View can’t do. (Not to mention most of these other products have in-box solutions for secure remote access, monitoring, remote support, WAN acceleration, etc.)

When VMware first got serious about the desktop, I was excited. But now it’s been almost a year. Where is their client hypervisor? (They don’t even have a demo yet?!?) Where is the software version of the Teradici PC-over-IP remote display protocol? Why haven’t they done anything to integrate ThinApp after more than 18 months?) They talked a great talk, but now they’re getting walked all over by everyone else.

I want to be clear that I’m approaching this purely from a technical product capability standpoint. Please, readers, tell me about a feature that View has that’s better than the competition. Show me a customer and give me a reason as to why someone (anyone!) would choose VMware View as their VDI solution. And I don’t want this to be because it was free or they already loved VMware. I want to hear about a customer who evaluated VMware View among other products and then selected View. I want to know the technical features or reasons View was chosen. (And just to repeat, don’t tell me it’s because ESX is the best hypervisor. I don’t care about the hypervisor in this case. I want to know about View.)

 
 




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Comments

Ewen Bruce wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Thu, Jul 16 2009 5:06 AM Link To This Comment

I see the stress of organizing Briforum is getting to you already; that’s quite a rant (although there’s a great deal to agree with in there). Interesting to see how things have moved along (or indeed, not moved along as expected) in the last few months since this http://tinyurl.com/6jnnc8.  I love your comment about server virtualization people thinking desktop virtualization is just more of the same; you’re right, we do need a new name for it – time for a Briforum naming competition? VMWare do seem to have run into a brick wall with View and ThinApp lately; probably because all their resources have been directed elsewhere. ThinApp in particular is at risk of disappearing without trace unless it acquires some management and audit capabilities – right now, almost everyone else is leaving it behind; being clientless just isn’t that much of  a great selling point as we originally though it might be.

Who is using View? I have to say I’ve yet to come across anyone that’s using it on a large scale (or, to be honest, a small scale) in a production environment. I think the fundamental problem is that VMWare’s design approach is working backwards from the hypervisor, rather than forwards, from the user experience. That’s why there is no robust way of integrating other service provisioning models such as terminal services. That’s why there are still huge gaps in the management of user personalities and the delivery of applications. VMware has some of the ‘bits’ of a desktop virtualization solution, but there’ still a long way to go before they have a fully integrated suite of products – I’m not even sure they have a roadmap that will take them there (if they do, they’re keeping it very quiet)

Kata Tank wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Thu, Jul 16 2009 5:36 AM Link To This Comment

This is rude but I fully agree with your point of view...

On another hand, I do not see 'at all' large deploiement from other VDI vendors... They are all "pilot" or just licenses order (with no full deploiement)...

I remember having seen Gartner analysis stating that, at may 09, the WW number of VDI seats were about 600 000... not a large number, hu ?

Andy Wood wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Thu, Jul 16 2009 7:01 AM Link To This Comment

Kata - I was at Citrix iforum in Edinburgh where they did talk about fairly sizeable Xendesktop implementations.. but then again all those companies who would be best suited to have a sizeable VDI deployment more than likely already had an offering based around Metaframe/XenApp - so why move?

appdetective wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Thu, Jul 16 2009 8:49 AM Link To This Comment

Brian you must have been out dirnking with Chetan from Atlantis computing again, kidding :-)

Seriously, you hit many key points that I'll add a little to.

1) Server guys don't get VDI it's true! Also managing VDI infrastructure is a different ball game to Server stuff. I have more Desktop virtualization production than server. Those server guys are lab or tactical prod deployments. Question, for folks who actually have VDI in prod, do you have more Desktop virtual machines or Server?

2) Many uninformed customers plus idiot decision makers. VMWare did a good job selling enterprise agreements and leverage those to get into Desktop. Customers know no better, especially decision makers and buy all the hype of View, hence so many extended pilots. I agree show me successful implementation at scale not pilots and license count. This should be ratio that is tracked by analysts to understand the truth behind the BS numbers.

3) Problem with Citrix however is that the Channel is a bunch of morons. Under qualified most of the time, don't know how to sell and motivated by selling consulting services due to crappy implementations by them in the first place. Citrix will struggle to win mind share unless they change their Sales model. F the Channel, and deal more directly, they already are with many customers, or make the Channel smarter, smaller and more strategic. That's my theory anyway, would love to hear what you think. Granted there are some great Channel guys, I'm talking broadly.

3)  That said, I like the fact that ThinApp although not a good implementation enables agentless application distribution. Like Xenocode (very cool) and InstallFree they open up many new possiblities that App-V will not becaue they want your to marry Systems Center. We should have flexilibity in how to deploy applications. And if copying exe's down from a file share, without an agent that fails and takes out other apps is ok, then enable me. Don't marry me to one way of doing things. The App-V way is like saying ESX is the only way!!!

4) I 100% agree with multi Hypervisor support. To Brian's point, you wouldn't let HP or Dell etc dictate how you implement your Desktop layer. VMWare should wake up here or exit this business. Just like HP/Dell are hardware, so is the hypervisor with the added complexity and cost of management that nobody has figured out yet at scale.........and to repeat Desktop mgmt is not Server mgmt, different animal with some overlap.

5) Therefore i think Quest is next best positioned to be a player in this market after Citrix. However these are all MS plays, which is a problem since MS will dicate stupid license terms, ugghhhhh.

appdetective wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Thu, Jul 16 2009 8:53 AM Link To This Comment

I forgot to add

6) Citrix with XA and Quest with TS add a lot of value to VDI for lower cost deliver on local storage!

7) Protocol. ICA/HDX is still best in class, using >1 protocol adds to cost and complexitiy. MS should license HDX from Citrix and stop screwing with the market. HDX will always be better cross platform another reason Citrix are strong and MS will not matter with RDP as per the Hyper of Calista etc. Am I missing something here?

Matt Lesak wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Thu, Jul 16 2009 10:32 AM Link To This Comment

Do you feel better now that you have that off your chest?

Baxter Conley wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Thu, Jul 16 2009 1:31 PM Link To This Comment

Dood, that was awesome.

Tony wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Thu, Jul 16 2009 7:03 PM Link To This Comment

@Baxter Conley - Agreed...

Scott Gorcester wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Thu, Jul 16 2009 10:18 PM Link To This Comment

Brian, Great Rant dude!  

AppDetective, its interesting that you make a derogatory statement about the Citrix Channel like you know it to be fact.  I would challenge this by how many end users have the expertise to properly implement a Citrix solution without a qualified consultant, be that an independant or a channel partner?  

Shawn Bass wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Fri, Jul 17 2009 1:07 AM Link To This Comment

First off, awesome rant and I couldn't agree more with everything said.

@Scott - I'll step in here and defend AppDetective.  Despite myself being part of the Citrix channel I can attest that there are a lot of boobs out there in the Citrix channel.  Does that mean all of them are?  God I hope not, otherwise I'm a boob ;)  But they do have their share of people that just don't get it and yet they try to sell you the entire Citrix stack not having any real idea what the true benefits are.

However, this "challenged" channel isn't unique to Citrix either.  Just the other day I got a phone call from someone asking me what they could do to improve the performance of their Outlook clients because ever since they migrated their local Exchange server to the cloud, they email on Citrix runs like dog.  I said, "Correct you are!  That's because there's no offline cache for Outlook in TS, it's disabled in the product by design"  You're options are:  1) Deal with it.  2) Use the richer than ever before OWA 2007.  3) See if your "cloud" provider would be willing to put in a physical or virtual appliance for WAN acceleration.  My chief complaint in all of this is that no one selling this stuff ever pays attention to what it will mean to the customer.  They get tunnel vision.  True of any vendor channel really.

Bottom line:  Another satisfied cloud customer ;)

Shawn

Kata Tank wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Fri, Jul 17 2009 2:36 AM Link To This Comment

this is why you choose a product, you deal with a company but you trust only people...

rahvintzu wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Fri, Jul 17 2009 5:18 AM Link To This Comment

Frigin awesome rant :-)

charlieb wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Fri, Jul 17 2009 7:44 AM Link To This Comment

Brian,

100% correct I am in full agreement; even when VMware were just starting to discuss View I was not convinced.

In the VDI space I am constantly asked who will win through, the answer is and always has been in our opinion XenDesktop.  Even if the protocol stayed still (excluding HDX), ICA has been developed from grass routes up from 14.4Kbps modems and has only got better.

From an install viewpoint and administration stance VMware View is simpler, but am led to believe that Citrix will have a single console shortly.  Simple is not always good, end user perception and performance wins through every time.

Great article, and about time someone who the industry listens to stood up and said it.  

As a consultancy who delivers independent ICT solutions both VMware and Citrix are 2 of our partners so we have no axe to grind with either, but believe that the best tool for the job should be deployed.

Good work on this one, and hopefully the people at VMware will be reading this and taking it on board.

Roland van der Kruk wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Fri, Jul 17 2009 11:16 AM Link To This Comment

Brian,

perhaps we'll talk about this next week. Of course you have a point and I agree for most part, however I want to point out two things:

1. Citrix Xenapp is not by default included if you buy XenDesktop, you will have to buy XenDesktop Enterprise to connect to XenApp published resources from XenDesktop virtual machines

2. There still is a good thing about VMware View that I cannot emphasize enough; their updating technology is REALLY simple. Compared to eg. updating VHD for Provisioning server, which itself is a separate product with its' own complex setup, it is a HUGE difference. Citrix should think about making that a -2 click to prepare modifications/3 click to finalize them- procedure. With VMware this is simply a boot of the image, mofify, shutdown and take a snapshot.

I checked the install of the View agent on terminal server and indeed only secure authentication was installed. bummer. Things like managing client drive mappings with an administrative template for AD on the client device ,which could be located within an entirely different company/AD, is really dumb.

Overall however I would say that VMware View is a solution that works, and that is simple to use. And that is a big advantage to customers. The fact that it is lacking all kinds of stuff is true, but also when I have users from India test it with 200 Ms latency and they are satisfied, what's the big deal there...

Integrating View with ESX is really the only thing VMware could have done to make it as simple as it is in View 3.x, and yes they do have a lot to learn about what central management is, particularly with user settings and security management. Workarounds for those settings should be measured against a dead simple setup and configuration that can be done in hours with 2 executables instead of days with quite a lot more.

Brian McGee wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Fri, Jul 17 2009 8:44 PM Link To This Comment

Great article!

I have not tested View yet, but was just about to stand it up in order to compare it with the XenDesktop (running on ESX) at my customer’s request.  The strategy of a user disk seems fundamentally flawed.  Why would I want to tie all users to specific VMs (even if it worked well)?  

Assume for a minute that I have 5000 desktops

•Every single one is critical to someone

•If I have an issue with an ESX host, VC, Datastore, whatever, access to every VM affected must be restored

•Even with vMotion, what would it be like to move 60-100 VMs at the same time?

•In order to DR the environment, 5000 VMs the associated VC and databases must be backed up and restored.

It is well documented that VDI is expensive (especially up front).  The only way it makes sense to me is if you save money in management (use pooled desktops for the bulk of the users).

•As long as there are enough VMs available, several components can fail or be taken offline with no service outage.

•If a user has an issue with an image, it will often be fixed by log out and back in.

•DR can be a completely separate warm/hot environment where I only he user personalization needs to be replicated.

This means that some profile management tool is required so what is the point of the user disk?

Thanks

Aaron Fox wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Fri, Jul 17 2009 10:13 PM Link To This Comment

It's nice to hear a voice crying out in the wilderness from time to time.

Thank you

DrHill wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Sat, Jul 18 2009 11:14 AM Link To This Comment

Hello all,

I must say this has been one of the most interesting articles that I’ve read in a long time.  I was actually sent this article by our local citrix guy so I must say thank you – Drew.

There are many  valid points here about several topics.  

I work at the fifth largest university in the US as a Microsoft Systems Architect where I oversee .NET developers, System Administrators and the Enterprise Desktop team.   If you have not worked in Education before, let me say this – if it works here… it can work everywhere.  

Quick background –

Servers

We run Vmware Esx on 80% + of our core windows server infrastructure and have moved this direction over the past 4 years.  We are certainly not new to virtualizing servers and have for these past few years leding the way for others.  

Applications

2 ½ years ago we began deploying virtual applications to 7000 students in our labs.  By far this was a new adventure and solved dozens of challenges.  Today, we stand at nearly 200 virtual applications using Microsoft’s App-V product.

Desktops

1 ½ ago we were deploying out virtual desktops with nothing but RDP access.  This was an easy answer to address giving out test workstations without the need to buy hardware.  Since then we have been doing POCs… which is why I’m responding.

My input

By far, application virtualization and integration is toughest challenges I have faced in years and desktop virtualization… well its still evolving.

For just over twelve months now we have as indicated above been doing POCs with vendors.  We’ve spent a great deal of time just looking at thin clients.  Granted they keep changing every 3 months… but oh well.  We’ve decided at this time to work with Wyse as our primary thin client but we will continue to keep on eye on both ChipPC (soon to be married to vmware) and Dell (our primary vendor).  Since that is not the focus of this topic, I’ll just cut to the chase and talk about VDI.

Today, we are running Vmware View as our primary method to deploy out virtual desktops.  We have a very small deployment of only 100 (I think) which some are used as primary desktops, testing, OS testing: Windows XP, Vista and 7.  View was very simple to deploy from an infrastructure side of things and we were able to quickly pickup on everything in a day.  No surprises to the product.  We also are trying out linked clone but its too early to tell how that is going to work.  I’m also not particularly trilled with the way the deployed this user disk as mentioned before but we are still working on redirecting most of our user personalization settings so this could be something we won’t worry about.

As for the management of VMs, View can or rather should extent its ability to manage virtual machines further than what it does today.

As for cost comparison, View is far cheaper than Citrix… and View meets our needs today so why would I pay extra for Citrix?  I don’t need more YET…

Where are we today?

Funny enough, next week we have Microsoft onsite to show us TS with Windows 7.  From what I’ve heard, its very impressive so I’m excited to see it.

In August, we will have Citrix engineer onsite to setup three different deployment methods.  I’m also excited about this as well and hope to learn more about there product.

Quest … well I’m just not going to look at them for the time being.

We are not committed to any one single solution: vmware, Microsoft, nor Citrix.

Simply put, not a single vendor can provide us with everything we need: performance, video still seem to be the most challenging parts for all three vendors.  While Citrix still leads in this way in video, Vmware and Microsoft will have their solutions before the end of the year.  

In my opinion, Citrix is going to be in trouble soon.  They have had ICA protocol for so long and there has not been a drive by others to develop solutions to meet the RDP needs out there.  That time has come where all vendors are developing protocols now….  Ctirix will need to shave something outstanding and reduce their costs

Vmware actually did show off the PC-over ip video solution to us last week and it was very impressive!

Microsoft is suppose to have something very close if not at the same level as well.

I’ll just state that while we run View for Dekstops today, we also provide TS for some of our common server management tools.  Citrix may very well be the next tool we add to our stack.

My primary concern with all of these new products is the management overhead we are taking on with the same levels of staff.  While desktop management is reducing with these solutions, we spend that “spare” time trying to solve other problems that the V world presents.  We have spent a considerable amount of time configuring new OUs and groups in AD to adjust to using virtual machines.

As for thinapp itself, looks cool and I’ll remain silent on that technology since we are not pursing it at this time nor do we have plans to in the future.

I’ll also add in my two cents about pro’s and con’s while I’m here too.

Pro’s

• View – easy to deploy

• View – cheaper than other solutions

• View – hardware independent on the client

• View – isolated vm to each person

• TS – great for centralizing common applications

• TS – more bang for your buck on client ration than view

• TS – minimum storage requirements

• Citrix – leader in video performance

• Citrix – very good management product campared to the others

• Citrix – hypervisor does not matter

• Citrix – uses minimum storage

Con’s

• View – not much in the way of management tools

• View – massive hog on storage compared to the others

• View – video challenges

• TS – mostly just now way to mange it as well as the others

• TS – Shared environment

• TS – Not really isolated per say

• TS – Video challenges

• Citrix – streaming os is a major load on the network or can be

• Citrix – streaming os is dependent on client hardware

• Citrix – more expensive the all the others

• Citrix – video leader (but not for long)

Marek wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Sat, Jul 18 2009 1:31 PM Link To This Comment

You made some interesting comments Dr Hill and I agree with some of your arguements, however at the same time you have also re-enforced Brian's point about VMWARE View's lack of large implementations. At 100 VDI users, this, in my opinion is not compelling enough to back the technology on a large scale.

I also question "Citrix is more expensive". I work for a large govt agency and we conducted a very detailed analysis on cost and I can assure you that Citrix isnt. What makes VDI expensive for a lot of customers is the fact that in some cases when somebody purchases XenDesktop they also go out and license ESX for the back end, which in my opinion is mindless and simply doubles up on licensing costs. Not that the Hyperviser matters but Xen should be more then capable now

You also have to make sure you are comparing apples to apples when looking at the various editions of VDI. For example VMWARE have 2 editions of View from memory where Citrix has around 4 editions of XenDesktop. At the high end is XenDesktop Platinum which comes with WAN Acceleration, SSL VPN connection licenses, Web Based remote assistance and so on. VMWARE do not offer comparable technology here and on the flip side as a customer you might not even need it. So choose the edition that fits your budget or requirements best.  

You can make VDI licensing as cheap or as expensive as you like, depending on the functionality or features you might need. Also spend some time with your storage vendors to understand their view on managing storage in the context of VDI. Although they cannot help cut down the number of desktop images they can significantly reduce the image footprint through deduplication etc which should give you some addtional wins regardless of whether you choose View or XenDesktop.

We also had a similar demo from VMWARE on a supposed PcOIP software installation. At that stage it was in Alpha so I cannot comment on the accuracy of what we were actually seeing!

My only comment here is that it takes a lot longer then 1,2,3 or even 4 years to get a remoting protocol right! regardless of the money you throw at the problem. As an ICA user for more then 10 years now there are many intracacies involved in this protocol that many people probably overlook. And lets not forget voice...video is one thing but delivering VOIP softphones in a VDI session is difficult.

Aaron Fox wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Sat, Jul 18 2009 2:01 PM Link To This Comment

@DrHill

"Quest … well I’m just not going to look at them for the time being."

If you are looking at MS RD and TS product offerings then I strongly suggest that you

compaire them to the feature sets and requirements in vWorkspace. I think you will find it

very interesting as you delve into MS RD.

rahvintzu wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Sat, Jul 18 2009 8:50 PM Link To This Comment

Hi, Dr Hill.

I second Aaron in that you should at least look into Quest.

As im working in the sector im interested in why you are looking so heavily into hosted VDI, what are the use cases?

At my org we would only think about using hosted VDI to solve very specific  problems, as it costs more than traditional, and money is always very tight in education.

Paul Helter wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Sun, Jul 19 2009 3:29 AM Link To This Comment

@Marek

Regarding your 'only comment'

"... it takes a lot longer then 1,2,3 or even 4 years to get a remoting protocol right! regardless of the money you throw at the problem. As an ICA user for more then 10 years now there are many intracacies involved in this protocol that many people probably overlook."

I believe you are correct with that staement.  PCoIP has been in development for over 4 years, and has been used for over 2 years.  10 years ago when ICA was developed there was no Flash, no main-stream media, and the business applications and platforms were easier to remote (Terminal Services).  ICA today has had several incremental changes to it, but it is still (like RDP) a protocol for terminal service.

PCoIP has been implemented from a network and video performance perspective from the start with Flash, main-stream media and Desktop users in mind.  If the goal of VDI is to replace the Desktop, then which remoting protocol would you choose?  One with roots in Desktop replacement or one with roots in Terminal Services?

Marek wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Sun, Jul 19 2009 8:18 AM Link To This Comment

@ Paul Helter

To answer your question "which one would I use"?

Its simple. I would use the one that is available TODAY which addresses my needs i.e. ICA. There is little value in talking about the "next version" because EVERY vendor has a "next version" which promises the holy grail.

PCoIP is a hardware based solution and yes a "supposed" software solution is coming but it is still vapourware as far as I am concerned.  

At this stage I have to trust what I know, what is available "today", what works "today" and what is proven "today"...which is ICA

Clayton Price wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Sun, Jul 19 2009 11:47 PM Link To This Comment

Brian,

I guess people don't necessarily need to agree or disagree with you but a strong statement backed up by testing and experience is the reason I regularly visit brianmadden.com

The fact that people are aligning with brands and constantly asking "who will win" to me means that the VDI "market" is still sorting it self out. Beware of jumping in, balls and all, too early !

Cheers.

Rick Morgan wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Thu, Jul 23 2009 10:57 AM Link To This Comment

There is one thing that seems to be missing from the arguments presented so far.  Bringing in a new vendor can be, to say the least, a pain (not to mention costly in terms of training).  Since we already have ESX expertise, we can make use of that experience.  

And even though "the hypervisor doesn't matter", we were told otherwise by Citrix sales people.  In fact, we were told that we'd see a roughly 15-30% drop in performance if we didn't use XenServer.  If anyone here has played with Xen on top of both hypervisors, I'd love to hear about the experience.

Also, one other slight rant against Citrix sales.  The consultants that presented to us had never used the product, never even installed it.  They were just going off what Citrix had sent them.  Their presentation is what killed any chance XenDesktop had in our environment.

wanderer wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Thu, Jul 23 2009 12:22 PM Link To This Comment

@Rick - to be fair I think you missed the point of the article Rick. Having ESX expertise doesn't necessarily mean that automatically gives you the expertise required to ensure a successful virtual desktop solution - completely different challenges that the likes of Citrix, Quest, Microsoft (albeit that you cold argue how successful these companies have been) have been addressing for years and years.

You can run ESX as the hypervisor for any of the other solutions (view will ONLY allow you to run ESX!!!) so your skills are not necessarily wasted!

Also re the drop off in performance - that normally refers to Xenapp on Xenserver - which was the case in our company - far better performance from XS but we use ESX elsewhere (although are considering replacing it wiht Xenserver as it does what we need it to do at far lesser cost!)

This isn't to say that you/your colleagues don't have the expertise but rather that the management of desktops and desktop images, centralising profiles and desktop configs is different to the challenges you face in managing a server - physical or virtual.

Also - if you're seriously considering desktop virtualisation just because you got a crappy presentation from one consultant/partner should that discount you evaluating properly all the available technologies so that you know yourselves what each vendor offers?

My 2 cents!

DrHill wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Thu, Jul 23 2009 8:02 PM Link To This Comment

Well the week is over and we had a very good time with Microsoft and Window 7/TS/Hyper-V.

Just to reiterate on a few points from above.  Our team, at the University, has not committed to any of the vendors as far as a solution goes for VDI.  We have been very active keeping up with all of the vendors and their solutions to understand what they are offering.  Like all of you, talk is cheap and seeing the products work and POC in place help us understand not only the product does but also what is actually fact vs fiction.

As for Vmware View – I’ll give them credit for having a solution that is simple.  Would it meet the needs of a large scale deployment?  Well that simply just depends on your infrastructure and how complicated the environment really is.  It is certainly not even close to what Citrix offers for a management tool and would be considered like 3% of what system center is able to offer.  If I also recall the two version of View are determining if you would like to have “linked clones” or not.

As for the pricing View vs Citrix – My last evaluation would put a single thin client at $30 (Vmware View) vs $90 (Citrix) for the comparable product.  Again, I’ll need to confirm my apples and oranges comparison again 

I’m glad to hear that Vmware has been working on POIP for a few years.  Hopefully it won’t be a flop when it is released.  I’d be scared if they had only been working on it for nine months and decided to release it.  It was very  good but I’d have to say – no comparison to what Windows 7 can do.

As for my comment about Quest- they are just so expensive on products… even in the education space but there is always hope we might look at them lol.

If you looking to save money on implementing VDI solutions… you may want to find a new career or begin developing your own VDI product.  The cost to move to VDI is really truly a wash all the way around no matter what product you choose.  You may very well save a lot of time in deploying and managing the products but I’ll tell you now – LICENSING LICENSING LICESING is going to be the death of VDI.  I’ll camp on to a throwdown to vendors who can tell you “You’ll save money”.. time/energy.. I agree but not on software, licensing and hardware.

This week we spend some time with Microsoft exploring Hyper-V, VMM, Windows 2008 R2, Windows 7, RDP 7 (more specifically) and TS remote app on R2.  We also tried out Dell FX160 for the first time, used a Wyse thin client, ended up writing a passthrough authentication application for SSO, figured out how to SSO from a domain machine all the way to a TS remote app and while we were board hacked a Windows PE to support RDP 7.

To summarize some of our results, I’ll just say that RDP 7 will drastically influence decisions for VDI and TS.  We setup Hyper-V and ran a Windows 7 VM, connected to the VM with a laptop running Windows 7 and were able to play flash (no issues), watched www.hulu.com videos and played a HD 720 windows media file.  Did I mention we were highly impressed with the changes made to RDP 7.  Later we even connected to a Windows 7 client running on a Vmware Hypervisor and found the performance just the same.  I can’t express how impressive this was to see after video being such a challenge for so long.

Most of the success in the implementation for Windows 7 was to have more local processing of the video on the end node.  Both our laptops and thin clients were able to process the video without any issues.

The same results can also be achieved using Terminal Services 2008 R2 with a Windows 7 client.  More specifically you just need RDP 7 to achieve this.  We found that just copying over the RDP exe and a few other files to a Window XP machine made the RDP 7 client work on it… video was again flawless.

I’m still trying to unload after a long week of doing the POC so I’m still gathering my thoughts but initially I believe if you plan to run TS and/or VDI that you most likely will need a Citrix or Quest tool in order to fully deploy enterprise wide.  Moreover, I’d promote using these tools as management tools only at this point in time.

In two more weeks we will have Citrix onsite deploying all of their possible options.  I’m sure by then I’ll freely speak my mind on them all.

I’m too tired to talk about the thin clients but I’m disappointed…. In general with their ability to keep up with VDI solutions in not satisfactory in my opinion.

mpryce wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Fri, Jul 24 2009 1:35 PM Link To This Comment

I was at teradici a couple weeks ago and met with their team of people to go over the future of the software version of their product.

What our vdi project team saw was the latest release and it was simply amazing!

I asked them if I could watch a 1080p quicktime video on the virtual desktop using the new version of view with teradici integrated. After a few minutes(and draging out a tech with admin credentials to install quick time)

We were watching a 1080p movie as if I had inserted a blueray dvd.

Me being a huge crtic of all the ways that vmware,MS and Citrix have done multimedia I was destined to find out what they were sneaking in to the equipment to make this happen- there was nothing that I could find.

I was monitering the resources of the virtual desktop and the cpu/network traffic was well within range.

For an enviroment such as ours where the hospitals are all within the lower mainland this solution would work just fine.

It will be interesting how it will perform over fiber dragged across 100miles.

If your in the lower mainland(vancouver BC) you should really contact them and check it out.

Gary Buselt wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Tue, Aug 25 2009 1:07 PM Link To This Comment

One area I didn't see any comment on were the findings of the different client protocols over wireless networks.

Does anyone have results to share in that regard?

Cheers!

Patrick Squires wrote re: How can VMware compete in the desktop space? “We have the best hypervisor” is not relevant anymore.
on Fri, Sep 4 2009 3:37 AM Link To This Comment

I could not agree more and VMWare is totaly relying on its huge succes in the datacenter to carry them through sales of virtual desktop tech.

As everything has swung to centralized computing it only goes to figure that "server people" will get the say based on how they see it - which is HW with OS in THEIR datacenter.  Since they NEVER get a support/rant call about desktops (yet) they will continue to see it that way until they do.

We see it as users/apps/personalization/experience/usability/deployment and "they" see it as HW with OS.

When the literaly experience the Rath of the user at their door they will open their eyes.  Most definitely when they baught into the thinned desktop/support staffing.

Thats just it right?  If its ONLY a VM of a Desktop with paltry management - its NOT better then a desktop.  This is something all of VMWARE's competitors have known for a very long time.

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