I’ve written in the past that part of what’s holding back VDI today is that today’s VDI is just SBC to single-user VMs instead of multiuser Terminal Servers. So in today’s world, VDI’s use case is not too much more broad than Terminal Services. However, there are four technical capabilities that I feel will be ready for prime time in June 2010, and once these are here, VDI (or the “New Desktop”) will really be able to take off.
I think it’s safe to add another “requirement” for the New Desktop taking off, namely, Windows 7.
Windows 7 is the next version of Microsoft’s Windows platform (for both the client and server). It’s in beta now, and expected to be released in late 2009. (The server version of Windows 7 will be branded as Windows Server 2008 R2.)
By all accounts, Windows 7 will be huge. A lot of people are calling it “Vista done right.” (I personally have replaced all my instances of Windows XP with Windows 7 beta, including my everyday desktop PC. And I can tell you—it’s fast. Not as fast as XP, but much faster than Vista, and much more modern.)
What does this have to do with VDI and the New Desktop?
For VDI to evolve out of the SBC niche and into the mainstream desktop area (the entire “New Desktop,” with VDI and streaming and offline and user control and everything), companies are going to have to go through a massive rearchitecture of their desktop environment.
Even if a customer can use today’s “New Desktop”-type products, the vast majority of people are still using Windows XP. And customers really don’t want to go through all the headaches of a major desktop change and yet still end up on Windows XP.
The same can be said about Windows 7. For years, CIOs have been talking about skipping Vista while also saying, “When we go to Windows 7, we’re going to do it in a different way. Gone are the days when we just buy pallet after pallet of new desktops, image them, and let them loose.”
So Windows 7 will be a big part of the “New Desktop,” but not entirely because Windows 7 has any special feature or function that everyone needs, but simply because it’s a decent product and the timing is right.
Considering the timing of everything, look at the scenario building to support June 2010 being the time when the New Desktop can finally be a reality. (I’m not suggesting that everyone will run out and deploy that month. But I think that by then, it will be a real option.)
In June 2010:
- Those four or five VDI technical capabilities will be ready
- There’s a good chance the macro-economic environment will be better
- Windows 7 will be out
- Windows XP will be very, very old, putting pressure on people to move