Announcing the second edition of The VDI Delusion: "The New VDI Reality"

Big news from BriForum 2013 London, which kicks off today! It's been a little over a year since Gabe, Jack, and I published the first edition of our book, The VDI Delusion.

Big news from BriForum 2013 London, which kicks off today! It’s been a little over a year since Gabe, Jack, and I published the first edition of our book, The VDI Delusion. While we're incredibly proud of that book, in hindsight we're not sure if we picked the best title. Calling it The VDI Delusion scared many people away as they thought it was a book about VDI haters and that we were anti-VDI. (And with a title like that, who could blame them?)

Of course VDI had been talked up by so many people over the years as being the “ultimate” corporate solution or the “future of the desktop,” so we felt that we had to have a strong title that would put VDI in its place, and The VDI Delusion certainly achieved that goal.

But if you read the whole book, you’d see that we only spent a small portion of it talking about the “delusion” part of VDI with the majority exploring how plan, design, and be successful with VDI. (In fact we could have just as easily called the book, How to Plan, Design, and Be Successful with VDI, and it would have been accurate. We’d probably have sold a few more copies too!)

So today we're announcing the publication of our second, gentler-titled, edition of last years’ VDI Delusion. There are two main changes we made.

First is the simple stuff. We’ve gone through the entire book and updated and refreshed it for 2013. We’ve added, changed, and deleted company and product names as our industry has evolved. We’ve made sure that everything we wrote aligns with our current “world view” of VDI.

The second change is more substantial. Since the first edition of this book was published last year, there have been two major technological innovations that have changed the game for a lot of VDI deployments.

The first is around storage. We always argued that VDI had to be about persistent “1-to-1” disk images, but doing so with traditional server storage was prohibitively expensive. This is why most VDI deployments have focused on non-persistent “shared” images, and why VDI adoption remained marginal. But now there are several vendors offering block-level, single-instance primary storage which means you can build a VDI environment for hundreds of users where each user has his or her completely unique disk image—all for a price that just last year could only buy a shared image system!

The second major breakthrough of the past year has been in the area of graphics performance, specifically the fact that multiple vendors now have plug-in cards for your remote VDI servers that can offload the processing, encoding, and compression of the remote protocol display streams. Adding one of these cards to a server means that you can dedicate all that processing power to the graphics experience without negatively affecting the user experience by taxing the existing CPUs.

These improvements in storage and graphics capabilities mean that VDI is now applicable in far more situations than it was before. This sentiment is corroborated by the number of large (more than 10,000 seat) deployments we’ve seen kick off over the past year.

To that end, we’ve substantially ripped apart and re-written the parts of The VDI Delusion that cover storage and the user experience around graphics performance. We’ve also expanded on our cost model conversation, added more content around networking and bandwidth requirements, and updated our future chapter to include the latest trends in web apps like Office 365. Taken together, we’ve decided to retitle the book, The New VDI Reality.

To get this book, we've also partnered with two sponsors: Atlantis Computing and Devon IT. Similar to the deals we did with Quest Software and Stoneware for the first book, they're sponsoring a free download of the PDF or Kindle edition. (If you're attending BriForum 2013 Chicago, they'll be passing out paperback versions there.) As in the past, neither Atlantis nor Devon IT wrote the book or influenced the content, rather it's our book with an extra chapter written at the end by them. So instead of paying $9.99 on Amazon for it, you can get it for free by logging into the linked page with your TechTarget account information. Enjoy!

The New VDI Reality ebook cover  300 dpi

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That's nice and all... in a blah, blah, blah, text, text, text kind of way... and yeah, I got my free copy... thank you very much... but the real question here... is when are you guys going to do another hands on GEEK WEEK (or whatever it was called) where you install 5 different products in 5 days and put them through their paces?  Huh?!?

I've basically engineered my own, low performing / low budget VDI setup using a single VM host, KVM virtual machines, and disk files as images... using the SPICE protocol... to access Linux desktop machines.  Yeah, I know.  I'm a freak.


Oh.. so you have a cool environment all set up and ready to go? Justin our video guy would probably like Montana? He's trying to visit all the National Parks in the US.. don't know if he's been up that way yet. :)

Seriously the Geek Week (yeah that's the right name) was awesome, but expensive. We got it sponsored last time. So as soon as another vendor wants to step up, we're ready. Maybe we can pass a hat for bitcoins from the OSS community?

For others who don't know what Geek Week is, check out But yeah, I'd love to do that again.


Just finished reading the "New VDI Reality" and find some of it is not what I have experienced in the real world... not what I have experienced doing desktop virtualisation projects for a long time..... (Just use the right tools that are now available and you don't need to have 1:1 persistent desktops...)

Lets keep this brief....

Goals for desktop Migration/Upgrade Projects in the context of moving from Windows XP to Windows 7.

This is my core list of required outcomes, goes against your mantra of "every user having a 1:1 persistent desktop"

in respect to assisting organisations to "reigh in" the sprawl of user installed applications. Are they required by the business? just because you want to "Tweet" at work is it a requirement then for IT to support "Tweetdeck".

From a business perspective, (not a tech geek view) not managing and maintaining a standard se of applications that are required by the business have cost and management implications. Be good to see your view on how you see the management of the "tail that wags the dog" application sprawl is addressed.

Application Rationalisation and Consolidation (Personally use systrack (& VMP). Basically install agents on physical desktops capture data, rationalise down the applications. Current customer went from 1000 apps to 100 apps. (lost of different versions of same application deployed.) management chopped some of the "User installed applications" like Tweetdeck, random image viewers, every version of a browser know to main etc etc.

Then run systrack VMP (I don't work for Lakeside software, could be liquidware labs stratosphere, dell have tools as well)

Gives me a very detailed desktop virtualisation plan. IOPS (yes boot, logon and steady state) so no vendor supplied 10IOPS run state rubbish here....

Has a tool for doing Image planning, looks at app virtualisation, categorises apps into base image, user installed based on number of users (licencing etc).

So this plays nicely into persistent and non persistent desktop requirements.

I see a mix of persistent and non persistent. Based on user type, usually non persistent pool is the majority of users based on using the above tools, (base image some apps, plus virtualised apps 50%) Then a smaller number who are deemed power users need to have persistent desktops to support user installed applications etc.

The BIG SUCCESS for this model is "APPLICATION RATIONLISATION" not desktop lockdown etc.  

Control the application sprawl, don't proliferate the number of applications to be managed by allowing users to install what they want? I don't know any businesses that provide a corporate desktop that is a free for all.

Also incorporate Changebase or APP-DNA for app remediation, compatibility and direct virtualisation of apps.

Anyway the other two points from a desktop strategy /migration perspective that I apply are

Review and update GPO and other desktop lockdown strategies that have been in place in the legacy desktop environment. Less is better in a VDI Win7 deployment. Probably an opposite to what I see in most XP deployments. IT have tried to lock the whole environment down to deal with the likes of "Chrome" appearing in the environment etc etc.

This ties in nicely with the last core required outcome User state virtualisation, my favourite is Appsense.

EM rocks, Standard GUI driven management, app personalisation and use Application manager. Trusted ownership is an easy way to reduce GPO based lockdown and management believe me.

Anyway in summary from my experience using the approach I have outlined and starting from a strategic approach to desktop virtualisation (define use cases, ROI) etc the tool sets are there to have a successful VDI deployment.

For example..

I am doing a 500 desktop deployment currently and have 400 seats on a VDI platform with a mix of 300 non persistent and 100 persistent. FACT...the other 100 are made up of Development machines, programmers and the like. But the majority are knowledge based workers with a fairly defined set of applications ( used the tools available)

rationalised and did some consulting to deliver an outcome.

Every customer is different but I believe the toolsets are available now to determine the viability of VDI deployment.


Just wanted to quote this out of the VDI Reality Book and then comment on it.....

Section "Using VDI for personal (1-to-1) disk images"

If this is you, then you want persistent VDI (or personal VDI

or 1-to-1 VDI)—basically VDI where each virtual desktop has its own completely separate disk image. Users can do whatever they want. They can be admins and they can install whatever they want.

"Remember that naysayers will maintain this 1-to-1 VDI is

impossible to manage, but we argue that if you can manage all your desktops today, you can do the same thing once they’re moved into the datacenter to become VDI"

I really think this statement doesn't make any sense.....

From my original comments what company wants to proliferate a sprawl of applications in there environment as part of a desktop Migration Project?

Most commercial customers want to "Reigh in" the unmanaged application sprawl they currently have, not transpose it to a 1:1 VDI desktop model and make everyone an administrator...come on.

It would be good to get some real life examples from you to support the 1:1 VDI desktop model mantra you have.

Where are these organisations who "want to" support an unmanaged application environment.

I believe I'm helping organisations by rationalising the applications they deploy so that they can be supported and Managed by IT when someone calls the helpdesk.