There's a popular saying in US politics that "all politics is local." According to the Wikipedia article on that phrase, it "encapsulates the principle that a politician's success is directly tied to his ability to understand and influence the issues of his constituents. Politicians must appeal to the simple, mundane and everyday concerns of those who elect them into office. Those personal issues, rather than big and intangible ideas, are often what voters care most about, according to this principle."
Replace "politician" with "IT director," and "voter" with "user," and you've got VDI!
We all talk about how we want to make enterprise strategies for desktop virtualization, and we give vendors a hard time because we want to know how many deployments they have greater than 10,000 seats. But that's not why we choose a vendor for VDI. Much like we want to know the Volvo will last 300,000 miles, we buy the Honda because it has more cup holders.
An alternate title to this article could have been, "Never underestimate the power of a department head with a credit card." Kevin Goodman talked about that at BriForum in the UK city that begins with the letter "L" this year (we're not allowed to call it BriForum London 2012) when he spoke about his years in the trenches deploying VDI while working at VMware. He said one of the biggest challenges to enterprise VDI deployments occurred when they would roll out the shared VDI desktop with ThinApp'ed applications, and some department head would walk in on Monday and say, "Where's application X?" The VDI team would look at their paperwork and say something like, "According to our records there is no application X in use here." And just like that, the project was over for that department while they continued to use their old solution.
In reality, there's no such thing as an "enterprise VDI deployment for 10,000 users." What you really have is a collection of hundreds of smaller VDI projects that happen to be running on the same back end infrastructure. And in order to get it right, you have to meet the needs of every user in every department. This is why many VDI projects are stuck in the pilot phase. Now imagine what happens when that solution is rolled out to the greater user base—just when you thought you "knew VDI" you'll find a whole new set of challenges to make the next department happy.
Ironically the opposite scenario is true too. We're starting to see companies begin VDI evaluations only to stumble upon entire departments using things like OnLive Desktop or some other cloud-based VDI provider. That's exactly how Citrix got into companies with MetaFrame fifteen years ago, and it's still true with today's VDI providers.
VDI is very personal to users. 10,000-seat VDI deployments are designed with logic, but individual users vote with their feelings.