My 2016 wishes and predictions. What about you?

Happy new year! Last week I wrote my 2015 wrap-up (in a word: "meh"), and this week I'm going follow up with my wishes and predictions for 2016.

Happy new year! Last week I wrote my 2015 wrap-up (in a word: “meh”), and this week I’m going follow up with my wishes and predictions for 2016.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the state of the desktop virtualization industry. I like that we can do persistent and non-persistent disk images. I like that VDI is pretty cost-competitive with traditional desktops. I like that we can put GPUs in servers and virtualize pretty much any app. I like that Citrix has competition and is refocusing on their core. So in general I’d say things are in pretty good shape and there’s nothing major I’m looking for in 2016.

There are a bunch of little things, though.

1. Microsoft needs to fix Windows client OS licensing for SPLA and public cloud

Actually, scratch that. The major thing I’m hoping for is related to Microsoft. I’m hoping that 2016 is finally the year they “fix” Windows client OS licensing.

I first wrote about this four years ago when I quit the Microsoft MVP program in protest. And frankly things haven’t really changed. Sure, we got little things, like per-user VDA, but amazingly you still can’t rent a Windows client OS license from a service provider (via Microsoft’s SPLA program) like you can Windows Server, Exchange, SQL, or many other Microsoft products. And perhaps even crazier, you’re not even allowed to run Windows desktops in public clouds even if you use your own licenses! Yeah, it is actually breaking the rules if you rent a VM on Azure or AWS and then use your own Windows 10 license for it.

So hopefully (maybe?) those will be solved this year? (I don’t really have any reason to expect that they will, I’m just putting that out there as something I’m wishing for.)

2. App refactoring / app transformation

In terms of actual new technologies and products, the thing I’m most excited about is app refactoring (or app transformation—I forget which term is more prevalent). This is where you take a running Windows app and sort of “draw” a new UI for it that is easy to use from a phone or tablet.

This solves the problem of making traditional windows desktop applications actually usable from a mobile device. (Sure, Citrix or VMware can deliver the desktop app to the phone, but who wants to click or pan-and-zoom through a desktop UI from a mobile device?) So the idea with app transformation is that you take the existing Windows desktop app and “draw” or “layout” a small screen version of it, literally linking UI elements from the real app to your little mockup, and then users click on the app icon on their phone or tablet and the real Windows desktop app is launched in a VDI instance or RDSH session back in a datacenter, but the UI that’s remoted to the user is the new one you built for the mobile use case.

I really like the idea of taking these big beastly desktop apps and breaking them up into lots of little task-specific apps that have just the bits of information users need from their handheld devices to get their specific tasks done.

App refactoring has all the traditional benefits of VDI and RDSH (access apps form any client OS, from anywhere, quick and simple to deploy, etc.) while solving the mobile use challenge.

We first starting hearing about app refactoring in 2015, and there are several small-ish vendors taking it on. (StarMobile, Reddo, Capriza PowWow…) I hope that we see Citrix and VMware buy some of them this year and start to bring app transformation into the mainstream.

And that’s it?

Interestingly I think that’s all I really want for 2016? I hope that Citrix can recover from their disastrous second half of 2015 as I really like competition and choice and I don’t want to see VMware run away from them. Though I also believe that VMware is in a great position and we will continue to see VMware gain and Citrix lose marketshare in the overall VDI/RDSH space.

So what else? What would you like to see in 2016? Any predictions, or just flat out wishes?

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@Brian Your new years resolution should be to stop following @AppDetective. It is probably just a vendor/CTP hater who’s baby I called ugly, which is ok until the d-bag pretends to be me and take credit and fool the community. So F him, not one smart thing will ever come out of that account, block him, complain to twitter whatever. I am off Twitter and my real account @appdetective (lowercase) was suspended, I’ve been way too busy to care with real work. So F twitter for free speech, the only place the true @appdetective (lowercase) account will speak until announced otherwise is on

Hopefully I’ll have more time to comment this year.

AppFactoring- Meh for sometime. I looked into this in real life a few months back and I could not find a single developer who cared.  The developers want to write modern not Windows apps, and if they are doing anything new with Windows it’s more likely to be on UWA style apps. So based on my discussions I think this is at best a niche use case and a feature of something Citrix or VMware do. I don’t see how partners can make a lot of money out of this either due to the niche nature.

• In 2016, what I see is a more HCI, since most people have no idea how to do infrastructure. I like what Nutanix etc. are doing.

• Security spend across the board. I’ve been spending time working on these projects and end point security I think will get more attention in 2016. You see vendors like AppSense trying to sell themselves as security vendors these days also, but there are so many players now, which means people are spending money in many different way. I think data security is where it’s at, as that’s what enterprises care about the most. So here I do see more use of Citrix sharefile like services and other security products that secure data at the gateway or on the endpoint. Nasent, but I think this is far more interesting than AppFactoring and likely to get investment from enterprises.

• EMM will die even more. I’ve said for a long time EMM meh most people only use it for basic MDM. MobileIron/Good are small/dead. Citrix have little to show in EMM. Microsoft will eat VMware’s lunch by screwing people by leveraging Office 365 as the way to force people to use InTune. Problem is InTune sucks really badly, and I think a closed Office 365 is even worse than their client OS abortion. It’s the monopoly way and therefore InTune will beat AirWatch and I don’t see how VMware stays ahead in EMM a slowing and commoditizing market. Really a secure email client is their answer to replace the turd they had before…

• Oh- to add to the EMM section, lets not forget the other monopoly play, Active Directory. Microsoft will also use that to make sure you use InTune. Ugh, that sucks too, and hopefully we’ll see more traction from the likes of Ping and Okta. VMware will suck in this space and only make marketing noise vs. real capability. Citrix will suck Microsoft D and stay with Azure AD etc.

• Citrix CWS and VMware Enzo will promise the world, be too expensive and suck to use in 2016 and nobody will make money. It’s a year of marketing and hype, DaaS will still be limited and still suck. I think these products are more likely to gain steam in 2018. Until then, on to making money with XenApp, which is getting better.

• Window 10 will start to get architectural spend as enterprises start their designs to ready for early adopters in 2017 with mass adoption in 2018 and finishing up by 2020. Forget the Microsoft 200M Windows 10 devices bravado, it’s all consumer. I think as part of this the various layers and Windows management vendors that Gabe has talked about will mature and offer more interesting enterprise capabilities. I can certainly see Citrix making a move to buy Unidesk to compete with VMware Appvolumes. I ‘ve been hinting that for a long time. I usually find that vendors come out with hype early, these products take several years to mature (recall Atlantis computing early days hype) and then you can start to make money. I think these tools are getting to a point where more people can start to look at them.

• I don’t think may enterprises will move to EMM style Windows 10 management in 2016. It’s just too new for people to be confortable and trust EMM vendors to know anything about Windows management. I do however like the concept of light weight management for Windows 10 devices as laptops are a pig to manage and everybody hates type 2 hypervisors unless you have a real need like developers.

• Workspace aggregation, I hope we see more awareness of this. Citrix Receiver, VMware Workspace, WorkSpot, what happened to Centrix? I think the notion of aggregating all services in a consistent way across device types, the WorkSpace as most call it is a worthy goal that needs more discussion. What else is possible beyond just a portal.

• Oh Citrix you really need to get a CEO with a vision not some corporate robot that is Elliot’s  b i t c h. Else just sell.


AppDetective sorry to hear that about your Twitter account. Can you start a new one? I miss your banter.


@appdetective I second Gunnar's request.

Three of the things you discussed - Hyper-convergence (HCI), Cloud, and Workspaces - are all linked.

First, HCI is the best way to deliver VDI.

Second, why should IT manage brokers, portals, load balancers, windows servers, databases, monitoring tools, then figure out how to create high-availability, and then site fail-over? If properly designed, a cloud-native control plane can take the management bits of VDI and move them to the cloud. I say properly designed because the desktops need to run on HCI in whichever data center IT wants. And of course, no data should have to flow through the cloud. So keep the data where IT can see it, but move the management bits to the cloud.

Finally, that's all great for IT. But we need to simplify everything for end users with a workspace. A workspace is much much more than a portal. Here's how we define a workspace:

(1) Delivers any app or virtual desktop to any device, without needing to manage the device

(2) Consistent access from any device. The user should be able to access any app/desktop with the same consistent steps whether they choose to use a phone, or a tablet, or a PC, or a Mac.

(3) Consistent access from anywhere: Whether the user is in the office, or on the road, they should be able to get to their apps in exactly the same way. What we hear from folks all the time is that today with existing technologies the end user behavior is different when they are in the office vs. on the road (they have to fire up a vPN, login to the VPN, etc.). And it's different on different devices. So you do it one way for a phone, another way for a PC. And a third way for a Mac. Too much end user complexity.

(4) Best user experience for each class of app: Not every app should be remoted. Video and audio should never be remoted. Why should we remote web apps and lose all the responsiveness of the app?

(5) Security, security, security.



1. No more VPNs!

2. Universal, secure and trusted identity management for all the Cloud-based services I use

@Brian, Microsoft won't fix Windows client OS licensing until it's too late, and nobody cares. Not even you.

@appdetective, no developer would touch app refactoring with a ten foot pole. That's kind of the whole point. I've seen app refactoring totally fail for legacy systems over ten years ago. Will be interesting to see if it fares more successfully this time around.


"Consistent access from any device. The user should be able to access any app/desktop with the same consistent steps whether they choose to use a phone, or a tablet, or a PC, or a Mac."

I could not disagree more. Users don't want to access the same app/desktop from any device. They want to be able to access the same info from any device, using the UX most appropriate for the device they're currently using.