All VDI is local

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.

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.

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All politics is local in a democracy. Start looking for larger VDI implementations in less democratic environments and you will succeed.


Oooh I love the analogy!! But isn't consumerization & #fuit like the IT version of the Arab Spring? The days of IT's authoritarian rule are over, centrally-planned VDI or not!


Good one to discuss over a beer I guess, But yes, the approach towards IT is part of a bigger picture :-)


But a company is not normally not a democracy, but this is what consumerization & fuit is doing to the company (The user wants rights) - like in the middel east were Facebook etc. has made it possible for the people to demand a democracy. :-)


To add another angle to the analogy: the Arab spring is not delivering to its promise today. The results are not very promising on the short term. Will consumerization & #fuit enter the same "storming" phase?


They may demand democracy, but they end up with Radical Islam. I wonder what that translates to in IT


I don't know about Arab Spring. I don't think it's end-users consciously revolting against IT, I mean sure there are a few vocal advocates of consumerization, but most people are just trying to do their job.

VDI desktops are not a big change from the locked down physical desktops IT forcefeeds its users on the reg. What I see is users doing what they need to do to remain productive, hence the definition of Consumerization of IT = "users outmaneuvering IT in order to remain productive". It's not a conscious thing of us vs. them, it's just there's this tool out there that I need in order to get my job done. Maybe it's on my phone, maybe it's on my tablet, maybe it's on my personal laptop - so be it. It's not cause I'm revolting, I'm just doing what I need to do.

IT can try to stop me by "blocking Siri" or something stupid like that. But I'll just circumvent policy in favor of productivity. It's not a protest, it's just the way things are. IT are the ones trying to revolt against it by "reining in the users", the end-users are just doing what feels natural. End-users are the water, IT is the rock. It's easier to go around the rock than knock it over.. Eventually the rock smooths over or gets washed out of the way.


Show me a company with an IT department that claims it is not internally politicized and any VDI project will reveal to them just how politicized their IT environment really is. And this is exactly why VDI projects stall and delay more than any other kind of IT projects. VDI cannot succeed unless the politics of IT are completely understood before VDI is designed and implemented, or the existing politics are willing to change to the VDI design and implementation.


Without central governance where there is a good understanding by representation at the top you end up with disasters like at RBS. See following link

Not all IT is trying to reign in users. Many are trying to do their job which is protect the enterprise which end users are also responsible for.

Most IT organizations I know have buried the CIO under the CFO and the results are as expected. Cost cutting, lack of innovation, low motivation, attracting cheap labor and therefore ltd solutions that enable the business.

It's hard to be a CIO if your CEO does not think you are not strategic enough to have a seat at the table. When CEOs decide to embrace technology to enable real needs and make users also responsible we'll head towards a more sensible balance that irresponsible consumerization and legacy brain dead IT.