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?