Attention Vendors: If your products only work with virtual desktops in 2012, good luck with that!

One of my biggest themes of 2012 is going to be that desktop virtualization is more about "desktops" and less about "virtualization." Those who are (or who are to be) successful with desktop virtualization will be those who are successful with Windows desktops in general.

One of my biggest themes of 2012 is going to be that desktop virtualization is more about "desktops" and less about "virtualization." Those who are (or who are to be) successful with desktop virtualization will be those who are successful with Windows desktops in general. If you get your "desktop" house in order, the "virtualization" part will be easy. (See related: Desktop virtualization is not a "free pass" for lack of desktop management)

The more I think about this, the more I realize that this also applies to vendors in addition to end user customers. There are some vendors with products that apply to Windows in general. Those vendors will do well regardless of the uptake of the virtual desktop flavor of Windows versus traditional desktops. On the other end of the spectrum, vendors whose products focus exclusively on virtual desktops have tied their success to the success of desktop virtualization in general. And for vendors like that, I'll bet right now they're crossing their fingers praying that 2012 will finally be the year of desktop virtualization.

So my message to the vendors is this: if your product only focuses on virtual desktops, keep two things in mind:

(1) For 2012, my desktop virtualization message is basically "Forget desktop virtualization, just focus on desktops. Once you figure out to build, manage, and secure a Windows desktop, then the actual delivery (be it physical, virtual, streamed, etc.) is the easy part."

(2) If your product only works with virtual desktops, then be aware that you're really limiting the big end of your sales funnel here. (I mean your fat end is desktop virtualization's small end.) And if you figure that there are something like 500-750 million corporate desktop users in the world, but I'm going to guess we're somewhere in the 2-3% range for use of full time desktop virtualization. So we're talking roughly 10-20 million users for the beginning of your funnel. Does that work for you?

Of course if your product only works with virtual desktops, maybe you can modify it (or your messaging) to go after the general Windows desktop crowd too? Companies like AppSense, RES Software, and Scense have done a good job of this, as have Microsoft with App-V and VMware with ThinApp.

And if you want to continue to focus only on virtual desktops, that's fine too. But just make sure that you tune your sales expectations to the realistic size of the market.


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Great points, Brian.  And no matter how the desktop gets delivered, what users really want is responsive desktop support, snappy application and desktop peformance and no downtime.

User's don't typically care that much how the desktop is delivered, so long as they can access it where and when they need to, it works as expected and whenever they need something, they get it taken care of in a timely manner.


What's confusing many is that too many people are incorrectly pitching desktop transformation as a one way journey from physical to virtual desktops only.

How is the average desktop admin thinking about transformation? I bet they are just under paid, status quo rug sweeper types who really have no incentive to think differently.

It's about getting to a better managed (lower cost than unmanaged) state so you can effectively adopt various client architectures as things evolve for your business. I.E transforming to more of an IT as a service type organization. This is a mostly a dead end conversation with the average desktop admin because they just have no incentive, and will just focus on tools to do a traditional desktop task easier and that's a different route to market altogether. Case and point, most just give admin rights to their users and let users self manage..... Security etc is not their problem or they just have zero power to do anything about it and business leaders just don't care or don't get it. VDI/desktop virtualization would mean moving to a better managed state, and they just are not getting there anytime soon and therefore will stay as status quo and create the new Windows XP, Windows 7 badly managed....

The transformation conversation is a higher level dialogue with people who can create incentives and get the need to increase options for the organization across their entire client architecture estate.


It has nothing to do with product messaging, its boils down to #1 does it work for required needs #2 what’s the cost?  Products may use terms like “transformation” but that is pure and simple to describe the journey from Physical to Virtual. In reality check  the product to make sure it is completely agnostic and quite happily works in both parallels. Make sure there is not priority vendor lock-in. There are some products mentioned in this thread which completely lock you into that vendor with no way out.  So I think if we are talking about the flexibility to traverse from physical to virtual and back again then surely you need a solution that allows you the flexibility to step out of product use without having to redesign your whole strategy again. Food for thought!!!!


Good point Brian and something that becomes more and more apparent each 'VDI' project we do.

A desktop 'virtualisation' project is just about identifying use cases and choosing the best mechanism for them. (virtual or not). Physical desktops is always a use case in any of the VDI projects Ive done.

I used to call it VDI, now I'm more comfortable calling it desktop virtualisation but actually maybe we should simply call  it a desktop refresh. If we happen to have virtual, streamed, physical, shared (TS), or cloud desktops in the mix then so what. It's simply refreshing your customers desktop strategy using whatever methods are most's not really about virtual vs. physical


It is also about marketing and positioning - for those of us who sell virtualized desktops :)


Rickey el-qasem when you actually technically understand what you are talking about and have a response feel free to engage in intelligent debate beyond the shite that Liquid-Scare-Labs marketing spews out.


Response to Harry. Clearly you don't know me and I touched a nerve. "technically" I've been doing this for a long time and hey I even used to be an instructor in the Appsense product line and have some notable notches on my belt. It’s obvious from the response here and in your link that you are seriously worried about some healthy competition. I won’t stoop to your level and make this a personal attack at you Harry but what I will do is remind partners of your loyalty... I know you better than you think.


Couldn’t agree more with this post, Brian. Progress can only be made if we’re taking into account all forms of end-user devices. Vendors should provide management for physical, virtual and mobile if they are to bring any simplicity into a complex process. We do this at Matrix42. If you’re interested, I wrote a blog post not too long ago that addresses this topic:

Gil Cattelain



@Ricky Of course you'll avoid answering the technical questions or even the 101 marketing errors pointed out..... It's nothing to do with competition, that is welcomed.  It's about spreading out right lies that are designed for the purposes of FUD. If you want to have a technical debate answer the questions raised, if you want to continue to relish in BS then stop crying about being called out for it.


I am sure that you and I could debate our respective technologies all day Harry but I will let the market decide.  At the end of the day, we believe that we offer a great option for our customers and partners seeking a leading migration and user virtualization solution….and that belief is validated every day!. Seeing that it is nearly mid-night I'll take the high-road and say good-night.


Great points as always Brian, and it seems to me that the name for where we are on Gartner's hype curve is in between the Peak of Inflated Expectations and the Trough of Disillusionment (See which means whether you are talking about the entire picture or just filling a niche for now which might turn into a very big niche as we reach the enlightenment phase where market maturity presents itself, 2012 should be at least about managing expectations starting with what current desktop virtualization technologies do and what they do not which is replace physical desktops.


@Rickey, when you don't even have the backbone to own up or correct fundamental inaccuracies that have been pointed out. Yet, continue to misrepresent core facts, then it's a lot more than a debate on respective technologies that have you have little to compare with. Your customers, channel partners, SIs and the market are fundamentally being duped and I'm not sure that is the most sustainable way forward except for a few short term greedy execs who are looking to make a quick buck by fooling people who don't understand what's going on.

Others compete, they market, they even poke and rib. That's all fine. There is plenty of opportunity. However competition that is designed to grossly misrepresent does not help customers and hurts our industry.

Liquidware Labs continuing and willful neglect to fix misrepresentations is shameful.You can't claim taking any high road with something so fundamental by brushing it off with a canned marketing statement.

Hopefully the new year will bring some positive resolutions to Liquidware Labs, like basic truth.....


I meant to say all physical desktops as primary desktops... Yet. They do offer new types of SLAs over.the old physical model, but require more maturity of tools and it organizations as you seem to propose.


Couldn't agree more with title statement...

The problem is that many people confuse  

desktop virtualization with VDI.

VDI is about managing virtual desktops.

Desktop virtualization is about managing (virtual or physical) desktops through image virtualization.    

And just as app-virt applies for physical and virtual machines, desktop virtualization should apply to both virtual and physical machines, except the virtualized entity is not a single app but rather the full desktop images.  

Specifically, once virtualized, images can be centralized and bring many manageability benefits including single image management, DR  of the entire image, hardware migration & refresh, in-place OS migration, centralized repair and troubleshooting, and more.  

Combined with a proper delivery infrastructure,  desktop image virtualization is a powerful method for physical and virtual, central and distributed endpoints.

Desktop virtualization done right, for physical (and virtual)  desktops !


@Issy, building and trusting a entirely different storage architecture to solve part of the desktop problem with Wanavo is a big pill to swallow. I'd also suspect you go up against every established systems management vendor out there including MS. MS is simply not doing anything in the layers space to make the OS support it so apps can be supported and run this way. You have the same problem as Unidesk, but you do focus on Physical. However in the layers space, I doubt anybody is going to bother with a massive change on especially with the status quo out there. However, I hope to see you get more traction, you just need to get a CMO that isn't such a D... You also completely discount of hosted desktop in the data center, and hence pose risk to a customer because you're no better than the VDI vendors a one trick pony.

@Brian, the idea of consistent management makes a lot of sense. An area that hurts Citrix who are rip and replace only minded.

@Harry, I hate the word desktop transformation and the hype surrounding it. Mostly BS set of tools to do a migration. It's all about better mgmt, agree there.

@Rickey q-qasem I think you're being asked a fair set of technical questions after coming on this technical blog and making marketing statements. Really a Sysvol exe is what you do and that means messing with peoples AD infrastructure. You'll get push back on that right away at many places. Why not just answer the questions, unless you really are BS'ing the world which would not be first time a vendor has done that....

@Rick Braddy. Agree, are you the former Citrix CTO dude?


Hi @appdetective we don't mess with the AD infrastructure at all. Sysvol replicated file is a share that you could use or you could use any windows share if you like with Profile Unity. Using Sysvol as a replicated file share has its advantages but it’s up to you if you use it or not.  Jason Mattox, our CTO, would be happy to  talk about this over the phone or email and then once you’ve had a conversation, we can post our thoughts about using a replicated file share.  Jason can be reached directly at or call at 1-678-397-0450, ext 101.  He would be happy to answer any and  all questions you may have.


@ricky el-qasem I have no need to talk to your CTO, I've looked at your product in the past and it doesn't solve for my use enterprise use case. If your CTO has time to speak to me, then I think he's better off actually addressing the questions raised in the blog post. I'd certainly be interested to hear your response to being called out for essentially being called liars.... That's quite a charge so saying nothing just confirms it....


Saying nothing does not confirm Simon Townsend’s allegations against Liquidware Labs.  We chose to take the high road and let customer's decide. It would have been fruitless for us to refute his allegations on our competition’s own blog which has deleted comments for the subject and no longer allows for comment on the particular subject. Our competitive matrix is based on hard facts about product differences that matter to customers.  If you would like to see our response to Mr. Townsend’s allegations you can view them here:

Jason E. Smith

Liquidware Labs

Director, User Virtualization Solutions Worldwide


@LWL.. it's the Christmas Holidays guys? WTF! I am sick of the BS and frustrated that 2 days before Xmas I am having to reply to posts that try to name and shame blog post was in direct response to your marketing attack on AppSense technology (which was BS)  and highlights the TRUTH...we are missing the point of the post..."Focus on the desktop; regardless of how its delivered and make sure your solution delivers functionality regardless of how that desktop is delivered" the case of AppSense, we do that..Managing the user regardless of how the desktop is delivered (virtual, TS or VDI)....and allow the user to roam....PS "managing the user is not just about Personalising the environment - Apps, Rights, Permissions, Configuration and context are also important!

@Ricky and @Jason - your claims and your links are still in correct!!!!!!! if only you would download our software ( and read the documentation; or perhaps speak to my enterprise accounts (I would happily take you into); and realise that WE DO NOT NEED A IIS/SQL Infrastructure to provide our customers with a PROFILE MANAGEMENT solution that is equal (if not not more granular (process start based) to your Profile Unity solution...There is NO LOCK IN, no extra complexity - Flex, AppSense and RES have been doing this for years - and now LWL does - welcome to the party LWL? .@Ricky  - Disappointed dude - you were a good AppSense "techie" back in the day? We shared some OK times? Dont let a salary blind your technical judgement! YOU being an AppSense trainer at a Disti in the UK many years ago, you would know these statements about "lockin" are used to train people how to perform registry hiving using our EM Policy product - have you forgotten? Its still there for those that want to use it...however... On the note of our personalisation server solution, (which does use IIS and SQL), the reason why we ARE chosen, and why many (but NOT ALL) of our customers choose the IIS/SQL personalisation solution over the file based profile management solution - simplicity, cross platform, cross app delivery, profile analysis, rollback, OS migration, load balancing, replication, DR, and scalability....Happy Xmas to all....the new desktop  does need to take the USER more seriously, and managing the user regardless of how the desktop is delivered is important....I look forward to 2012 and the exciting opportunities Windows 7 and the managed USER experience brings us....Simon


>  And if you figure that there are something like 500-750 million corporate desktop users in the world, but I'm going to guess we're somewhere in the 2-3% range for use of full time desktop virtualization.

I'd like to know where that 2-3% figure comes from, because it looks like it is considering just a small part of the  broad spectrum of technologies that comprise desktop virtualization. Desktop virtualization is at its heart a management paradigm, Issy along with every other vendor I have talked to understands this.  The sales funnel they are looking at is the one with 500 million desktops not the 10 million desktops that you are looking at.



Simon, thanks for getting this thread back on topic.  In respect to this thread I have continued my off topic reply over on where anyone can also post.


Gosh, so much anger on the site.  I have to say, personally, that to be honest it starts with the business strategy as to what they want to offer in terms of application delivery, then decide the environments, security needs, requirement to be tethered etc and the finally the delivery mechanism. Nothing new here though.

One of the risks of VDI (and DV to an extent) vendors trying to move to all desktops is that Microsoft (who I work for) and other companies already have some excellent tools for managing the infrastructure and delivering the right application through the right environment.  

More than simply positioning marketing to address all desktops, work out where the products fits for all delivery types and aim for major impact there.  DV is not right for all users and scenarios and understanding where it would be a hit and clearly articulating this helps a lot. Nothing worse than watching a good product trying to be all things to all people when better products exist when taking into account all desktops rather than just virtual.

Then there are the tools and software, such as AppSense that can truly be applied to all environments, more than some other vendors can simply do.  If your product is a DV product, trying to sell it as something else will just cause you and the customer pain, where as understanding where it is the KO product means much greater success and happy customers.

Just my own very personal opinion, but I work in this space.


This thread does a great job of reminding me why the IT industry has way too many ego's!!!


Looking forward to Citrix Synergy / Briforum and create (+ moderate) a nice paneldiscussion... #UEM Smackdown