VMware Exec: "VDI beats terminal server hands down"

At VMworld last week, VMware's senior product manager of Enterprise Desktop Solutions talked about the company's new connection broker called Virtual Desktop Manager (VDM). He said VDM can be used to create a VDI environment that "beats virtual environments based on a Windows terminal server hands down."

At VMworld last week, VMware's senior product manager of Enterprise Desktop Solutions talked about the company's new connection broker called Virtual Desktop Manager (VDM). He said VDM can be used to create a VDI environment that "beats virtual environments based on a Windows terminal server hands down."

He continued with "virtual desktop infrastructures built around VDM successfully deal with common issues with Windows terminal server virtualized environments, such as problems with load balance and challenges to resource control."

I think it's time to pull out my favorite response to this, which is "When all you make is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

In all seriousness, I'm curious about what people think about this? VDI and terminal server are very similar technologies--both different forms of server-based computing. They each have certain advantages (Windows XP and isolation for VDI, more sessions on a given piece of hardware for terminal server). However, I was not aware of the [real or perceived] problem with "load balance" and "challenges to resource control" of terminal server environments that Garthsagen claimed about terminal server environments. Can anyone explain what this means?

I am a fan of VDI, and I'm a fan of terminal server. I think each has its own use cases, and the ultimate solution would marry both technologies together into a single platform. (Provision Networks' Virtual Access Suite anyone?) So whenever someone says that one technology beats another without citing a specific use case, that seems dogmatic to me.

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I think those blanket statements are nothing more than a marketing tag line to catch our attention. VDI has a high hill to climb as far as gaining market share. I suspect he was comparing it to plain old Terminal Services, rather than the Presentation Server features. That seems like trout fishing in a shallow creek with a rifle. I also wonder what resource problems VDI carries over. Surely they haven't totally done away with printer mapping issues, have they?  ;-> 

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What about Citrix Desktop Server which can already deliver a TS shared desktop, Virtual Desktop running on a hypervisor or a Physical desktop(ie. blade pc).  This is an all in one solution that combines the benefits of both worlds.  In addition, when you combine Citrix Desktop Server with Citrix Presentation Server, you can deliver applications to the hosted desktops on Desktop Server via Presentation Server either virtually or streamed!  (instead of installing and maintaining all applications on all of the hosted desktop images.....management headache)

Hands down, the combined Citrix approach will meet more project goals and business objectives than a hosted desktop solution by itself. 

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I personally love SBC.. and maybe we should actually change that to ServerroomBasedComputing :) I love the ideas of centralizing, managing and as a natural extension, the virtualizing of the infrastructure.

I think we are all here to deliver the screwdrivers to the electricians of our businesses and the <insert whatever a something else needs>. It doesnt matter if its called VDM, or Desktop Server, its a matter of finding the right solution and some while back a guy stood on stage making the analogy to the present that we are just getting more tools for our toolbox to solve the issues of our customers or companies, THAT made alot of sense to me. Maybe we are no longer the cure for any disease in the world maybe you need a Virtualization Doctor for the Hypervisor, a Desktop management Doctor for the VDI platform, a Terminal Service doctor for the terminal services. What i want to say is that the tools are emerging to make us able to deliver the right solutions that will solve almost any headache.

What do I think is necessary for VDI to kick in? I think we need a few of the larger vendors to lead the way. I know Provision Networks have a great product today, but new customers looking into VDI has to choose from 20+ products. And on top of that the rumors of 'In next version Citrix is gonna ... " and "In the next version the balance of features in going to shift to VMware..". I think VDI will lift off soon, and i hope a few larger vendors is gonna supply a product that customers can easily take into their infrastructure.

My personal oppinion, VMware had been better off selling their product as a feature they deliver for any customer who wants to go in to VDI and wants a good broker. It would have slipped in like Streaming Server and edgesight is slowly slipping into Citrix Customers and noone would have to discuss which product to pick :-)

Might have rambled a bit, hope you guys can make out the meaning ;)

 /LamerSmurf

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The problem with Citrix is I can't more individual server sessions on the fly. Since VDI ties one user to a desktop OS, I then can move that "session" (a VM) on the fly, memory state and all. Wether that be for maintenance or for resource contention. If a Citrix server gets busy becuase a few users are kicking off resource intensive processes, you can't move them to other servers that have free resources. With VDI, you can.

Citrix and VDI are simply application delivery mechanisms. Each as a set of advantages and disadvantages. In the end, it will come down to what features you value and how cost effective each solution will be. With Citrix raising licensing costs, VDI has a chance.

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I am an enthusiastic implementor of SBC and Vmware based solutions, and whilst I can happily argue the benefits of VDI for users with specific needs, eg the offshore developer who needs to install apps etc into his own desktop, my overwhelming opinion is that the ultimate end user experience of a virtual desktop is poor in comparison with a desktop presented by Presentation Server.  Both in terms of support of peripherals, and of screen performance.

There is also the specification of Host hardware required to run 10 Windows XP VDI's, which could support @ 50 concurrent Citrix users. 5 times more servers to run VDI than a PS solution? 

To get a comparable level of peripheral support into a VDI, you could end up with a "Frankenstein's Monster" of a solution using different products.

Is there a niche space for VDI? - You bet..... Is it going to be right for 5,000 users spread out over a WAN infrastructure - I doubt it this is what Citrix does.

/discuss :*)

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VMware execs went after Microsoft saying that with hypervisor technology it could mean the end of the operating system. And this recent comment above isn't the first time VMware execs have gone after Citrix saying VDI is better than terminal services. Is it any wonder why Microsoft and Citrix are positioning themselves to partner together to go after VMware with 2nd generation hypervisors?

It'll be interesting to see what happens in this space, but honestly VMware execs need to grow up, or they're going to continue to be their own worst enemy. They could possibly let a better product meet it's doom by promising more than they can deliver, which just opens the door for competition even wider. As companies realize VMware's claims are just hype they'll look at Xen and Viridian as alternative solutions to VMware just to spite VMware for making such claims. The cold fact is there is not one VDI deployment that is as large as any of Citrix's 1000 largest deployments, so why even come out at this point and even claim to be "better"?

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You mention Garthsagen.  Was it Richard Garthsagen?  The same Richard Garthsagen that used to work at Citrix as an SE in EMEA?  The one who liked to collect Lego's?
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Better be prepared as Virtuozzo (and other OS virtualization products) are MUCH better suited for VDI than the bloat a hypervisor creates.
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Vista needs 1-2 Gb of RAM per machine and 1gig of CPU

We often run 7-100 users on a dual CPU 4GB TS/CTX server.....HMMMMMMMM, do I want to allocate 4GB or 70GB to those users, let me think. Oh, and the SAN requirements!!!! :)

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Why don't we see a wide adoption of VDI yet?  I think the bigest problem is the ROI.  Add hypervisor license cost, with hardware cost, with storage cost, with OS cost (remember the new MS model) and you have a significant $$ outlay without much business gain over SBC.  Then add in the need for tools like Provision on top of VMWare and you don't make VDI a good business decision.

The advantage that Citrix will provide in the future of this space is a one vendor solution for hypervisor (Xen), disk managment (Ardence), desktop delivery (Desktop Server), and Application Managment/Delivery (Presentation Server).  The ability to provde this as a bundeled solution should reduce the cost and improve the ROI of VDI (or DDI). 

The VMWare execs realize this and are shaking in their boots.  Why else did they send that e-mail to their channel after the Xen acqusition?

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Great comments guys, and I admire your passion about the subject. I think that perhaps due to the wording there may be some confusion. He says "VDM can be used to create a VDI environment that "beats virtual environments based on a Windows terminal server hands down." I would think he maybe meant to say "beats VDI environments based on a Windows terminal server hands down". Because VDI is still pretty new, most implementations are a bit cobbled together with a mix of Vmware backend infrastructure and bespoke ICA/TS/RDP brokers. What Vmware are now saying they can offer, is a more complete package for VDI without the problems that occur with some bespoke implemenations using (ICA with VDI drops connectons, doesn't support dual screens for VDI...).

This is what you get when you let sales people talk to technical people, we all know how hard it is to get someone who can do both well.

I wouldn't worry too much about VDI Vs Citrix, they both have their place.

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honestly... I have tried to contact vmware for months now and their sales reps do not return phone calls or when i do manage to get one on the phone (never ever my 'regional rep' so they cant actually sell my anything) they have no clue was to what vdi is or what prices are on their damn connection broker...

 

so while their websites are impressive and they keep blowing smoke... lets see them actually give the product to an customer ._. untell then its vapour ware regardless of how much smoke they blow 

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Big limitation with VMWare solution is it's lack of a protocol. Sure RDP, but that pails against ICA for many complex use cases. So what is their strategy here? I think VMWare has to play ball with Citrix for now, until they have far more market and mind share. Niche soution still with lot's of hype after an IPO. The value still has to be prooved in the Enterprise, and that's where Citrix has a huge lead and much more experience although granted not a perfect solution. I also wonder about motivation, since VMWare has grown up in the datacenter. Do they really get Desktops and how to really manage them as a VDI solution. Ton of management features missing from VMWare, again a space Citrix is ahead on. Oh very immature comments from the VMWare team.

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You mean Richard Garsthagen. He's Technical Marketing Manager EMEA for VMware and living in the Netherlands. I'm wondering if it's the guy that did the presentation Brian is talking about. The name looks the same, but his job does not. Not that it really matters for the discussion anyway..
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I call bravo sierra on the senior product manager  Under most circumstances the overhead and cost associated with VM’s/VDI with shared storage out weighs the few short comings of SBC…  

I do think soon (2years) the lines will be so blurred that bits and pieces of both worlds will be used with such ease that the discussion will be obsolete... So I guess he will have his day in short time? bah

 

 

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And for the record: he lives in the UK already for a couple of years now...and that also doesn't matter...
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They didnt want my VDI session talking about scalability, use cases and when to use TS or VDI and best bet to run them side by side....

Course all of us have been talking about it for 2 years now... they are trying to grab market share.

Oglesby

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And he does like to collect Lego's.  Not that it really matters for the discussion.

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Citrix seems to be so far ahead of the game that Terminal Services is the only VDI can compete against...

Meanwhile, all I hear from analysts, and all I see out there are a lot of 20-200 user VDI pilots.  Nobody appears to be deploying at scale - probably because they can't get the darn thing to work in pilot.

VDI does make sense when you have either a Citrix or TS low usage case where there are application compatibility issues.  Other than that, there are more cost-effective solutions for mainstream and higher performance users and VDI cant' compete on a cost-per-user basis for low-end users where the applications work in Citrix or TS.

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in very large organizations. While having the privilege of working for a reseller and without naming names, some very large F-100 & F-500 firms are deploying thin-clients connecting to VM's - 10,000 + seats in some deployments. Historically, this forum has catered to the SBC community but VDI is taking hold in a very large way. In either case, it's an interesting landscape....
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There is one large deployment.  Collier County.  There aren't really any others in production. 

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Hype, hype, hype. Until names and examples can be enumerated, saying that "VDI is taking hold in a very large way" is nothing more than hype.

There are some circumstances where VDI is a better way to deliver a desktop than Terminal Services, and nearly every F-500 firm would likely have those niche of end users. But the only f-500 firm that would seriously use VDI throughout their enterprise for every desktop they deliver is one where they grow money on trees and own a forest of money growing trees. In order to keep costs down in delivering desktops, you MUST use Terminal Servers for the low end, task based users. It's just too expensive to give every user who needs a delivered desktop a VDI desktop.

In the end what companies need is a broker for both their VDI desktop environment and their Terminal Server desktop environment so that the backend infrastructure is seamless to the user when they need to get a delivered desktop. All users use the same broker, but get the type of desktop you want them to get.

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And that one isn't going very well...
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Yes I agree!!!  I've been trying to stress this before.  There is no real significant cost analysis on VDI vs SBC vs standard desktop computing.  VDI is nice don't get me wrong, but it's a little expensive in comparison to SBC OR standard desktop computing
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At least it is in any large branch environments where the enterprise isn't throwing tons of money at the bandwidth.  Why did so many people get on the SBC and virtualization bandwagon?  Probably because most of us felt at an instinctual level that it was the right thing for business.  Made sense monitarily and technically.  I for one do not get the same thing from VDI. 
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The funny thing is I know of other schools using VDI (800+ seats) and they love it! They got educational pricing on ESX and thin-clients so they opted for this option. You could be right about VDI not being cheap since many of the largest VDI (not mentioned in slick white papers posted online like Collier) deployments I know about take place in large insurance & financial firms all with wads of cash!

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Ron, can you talk a bit more about what you mean by scalability?  I understand VDI to be highly scalable (by nature of desktops being virtualized they become significantly easier to manage and therefore scale, not to mention much quicker to deploy).  Are you speaking about scalability relative to TS?  That would make perfect sense to me.

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My organization ic currently toying with VDI. The first thing we noticed was cost. To build the infrastructure to provide VDI to 2700 out of 5000 users. We have millions to spend. The cost to infrastructure, administration and support would be astronomical. ASTRONOMICAL. That is the kindest word I can I use. Utilizing Citrix, VMWare ESX servers and Altiris, has proven to be a fraction of the cost. We won't even need to hit the first $1 million dollars.
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