I'm stuck in O'Hare airport because my flights been delayed for 3 hours so I figured I'd throw a post out on what I thought of BriForum. This was my first BriForum, but I've been a fan of Brian's for years. I've been to tons of other vendor sponsored conferences and BriForum is truly unique in comparison. Most (all really) vendor conferences are filled with marketing and sales fluff...this was the first thing I noticed about BriForum - it is NOT. When they say it's an independant conference it really is an independant conference. The other thing that struck me as different were the attendees. I didn't bump into any CIO, or CTO's (not to say there weren't any there, I just didn't talk to any) Who I did bump into we're extremely intelligent and bright admins, engineers and architects who are all in the same boat travelling down this same river of fury that is SBC.
To say VDI/DDI was a big topic at BriForum would be an understatment. Everyone is talking about it, everyone has something to say about it...no one is really doing it. Before I get hate mail saying "I've been doing VDI since I went to BriForum 3 years ago....blah blah blah" No one said they had replaced all their desktops in their company with VDI. Some have replaced Citrix with TS and Provision (Ron's "Doing it without Citrix" session on this was excellent) Someone at the forum said "VDI is a lot of smoke with no fire" - I couldn't agree more.
From a technology point of view - I really liked what I saw from Provision and I LOVED what I saw from Ardence. My hangup with VDI has always been - If I'm already managing 2600 desktops, I don't want to manage 2600 individual virtual XP desktops. I think if there can be some sorta combination of Ardence...streaming OS's to VM's with a layer of the Provision desktop broker (SSL access/Power Management of virtual machines) VDI can make a big splash...at least in my organization.
One thing I found interesting was when people talked about the costs of VDI vs. TS. VDI is more expensive the terminal services....but is it really??? Everyone seemed to discuss the costs of moving users from TS to VDI...sure that's more expensive. But what about moving users from physical PC's scattered across and organization compared to a centralized datacenter? I used the term "PC Iceberg Effect" (I didn't make it up, I stole it from Lenovo) At the tip of the iceberg afloat on top of the ocean is the cost of a PC but below the surface is the gigantic, titanic sinking portion of ongoing maintainence and support. I'm essentially in the manufacturing industry and the turn-around on PC hardware out in dirty, awful plant environments is tremendous. We replace fans and hard disks on a daily basis....but, were talking about plant worker who aren't paid to work on a PC, they paid to manufacture product. These are task based users - Office suite, mainly just Outlook, Internet Explorer and IM. In this scenerio, terminal servers fits the bill perfectly. Now enter the shift supervisor...he needs a little more, maybe CAD ablity, ERP system, etc. TS would still work here, but he/she wants more....VDI now looks like a viable solution. VDI could also work for people in the admin buildings of these plants - HR Staff, Payroll, etc. Finally you have more of the executive branch of these sites like plant managers etc...they need notebooks...let them have a notebook - but maybe we stream apps to them???
My point is when you look at VDI, you need to look at it from a tiered approach...something Citrix mentioned at last years iForum and I agree. The hybrid platfrom of TS - Simple and Fast, VDI - Personal, and Physical - Power and mobile users, in my opinion if the best forumula for success....again, this is all my opinion, for my environment.
The other aspect of VDI that NO ONE touched on is DR. I'm a NetApp/VMWare guy. I've done some really neat things at remote sites by implementing ESX on a small NetApp filer and virtualizing servers, consolidating file servers to NAS and using snapshots and replication to HQ. I can pretty much bring up any virutal enviroment at a remote site in my HQ site in less the 15 minutes. Doesn't matter if it's 1 VM and a NAS share, or the entire site....15 minutes...give or take a few minutes on how early or late in the day it is :-) Most people seem to forget about workstations in their DR plans...again, enter VDI...if I have my VDI in the same environment, I can do the same thing to a DR site.
I'm doing a small proof of concept with Ardence in the next few weeks for 10 clients...planning to do streaming OS, redirected profiles to NAS, PNA and when I decide on a broker I"ll let you know....if anyone is interested I'll post my finding.
In conclusion...BriForum was awesome and I'm already looking forward to attending next year!!! Mr. Madden - Excellent job, keep up the great work and can you let me know where you got that awesome suit for the Geek Out game show?
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